Herbert Colborne Oakley   (1869 - 1944)
Biography - Other Interests

"Amazingly he also produced stencilled linen wall hangings, bead curtains, tiles and bronzes ..."
From the curator of a museum in Britain, on reviewing Oakley's artistic legacy

HCO's Coat of Arms

A recurring comment made about the artist, in the letters written by Oakley's closest friends, relate to the energy he displayed, energy that was directed not only at the paintings he produced but at a wide range of artistic activities, including the items mentioned in the quote above.

Stencilled linen - Lanterns Stencilled linen - Fish

Aside from his art, he clearly enjoyed walking, which during his time at St. David's meant the scenic byways and footpaths around the city as well as it's truly wonderful coastline.  In his love of the countryside, he would not hesitate to "take up arms" (with pen rather than sword) to attack any violation of what he felt was God's intention for how the landscape should be treated.

Herbert C. Oakley was also a prolific letter writer, to friends, and in a more serious manner to editors of the local newspaper, championing any cause or issue he felt needed to be addressed.  Examples of these appear in the section entitled "Lectures and Letters".

It would appear that writing poetry also provided him considerable pleasure, given the vast amount he wrote.  Some are quite amusing;  most are quite revealing of his thoughts, beliefs and personality.

In The Light

Some are happy in the moonlight
Lovers in a leafy glade;
Others like a restful half-light
That is neither light nor shade.

Some will seek a blaze of sunlight
And in it blissful bask;
And some evade and shun-light
Stealthy in disguise of mask.

Some are not content with noon light
Moon-light, sun-light, lamp-light glow;
They court the fullest limelight
And for ever be on show!

Eton, September 4th, 1921
H. C. OAKLEY.    

Sea Dirge

Evening On The Pembrokeshire Coast

White horses! White horses! Winds their rough master
Riderless, riding in, faster and faster;
Threatening terribly, storm and disaster;
Mid fury and foam
Far from harbour and home
Weird vistas loom vaster and vaster.

White horses! White horses! Manes all a-flying,
Night's murky shadows fall, day is a-dying;
Mournful the scream of the sea-mew a-crying.
Above the hoarse roar
Shrieks the wind evermore;
A dirge of the deep, moan, and sighing.

White horses! White horses! Foaming and thunder,
Murmuring - meeting - dissolving asunder;
Spray scattered skyward, ground swell down under,
Where the loud waters leap,
Where deep calls to deep,
A lone star! Looking down on the wonder.

St. David's, October 1928

As his poetry so often reflected, he was a deeply religious man, and so it must have given him tremendous joy when he became the author of a featured hymn sung at St. David's Cathedral on Ascension Day in 1927.

Hymn View Large image

The words in the hymn clearly reflect the beliefs of this unique individual.

HCO late in life

Next: Portraits

"The H. C. Oakley Virtual Gallery" Copyright © 2005-2013 Andrew Gray