Oswald Birley

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley  (31 March 1880 – 6 May 1952)

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley
(31 March 1880 – 6 May 1952)

Style: Portraits

Background: Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley was born on 31 March 1880 in New Zealand. He was an English portrait painter in the early part of the 20th century.

Education: Upon returning to England, he was educated at Harrow School, London and Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Achievements: He served in France in World War I, first with the Royal Fusiliers, later transferring to the Intelligence Corps, obtaining the rank of Captain and being awarded the Military Cross in 1919. During World War II he served with the rank of Major in the Home Guard.

A favourite of the Royal Family, he was well known for his portraits of King George V, Queen Mary, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and the present monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

He painted several highly regarded portraits of his friend Sir Winston Churchill (to whom he also gave lessons).

Other subjects were many war-time leaders such as Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery, as well as Admiral Mountbatten and Air Marshal Trenchard. He also painted the wealthy American financiers Andrew Mellon and J.P.Morgan, the psychiatrist Sir James Crichton-Browne and Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

He was knighted in 1949.

Famous Works: 

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley - Sir Gerald Kelly

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley – Sir Gerald Kelly

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley - Henry Macbeth Raeburn

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley – Henry Macbeth Raeburn

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley - John Reith

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley – John Reith

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley - King George V

Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley – King George V

 

Sir Oswald Birley- Portrait of Clara Fargo

Sir Oswald Birley- Portrait of Clara Fargo