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Colonel Oliver Ormerod Walker

Sir Hubert von Herkomer

The Walkers were an important Bury family. The sitter was the Mayor of Bury in 1897 when Thomas Wrigley’s children offered their father’s art collection to the town with the condition that a suitable gallery be built to house it. 

In this lively portrait with its animated brushwork, Colonel Walker is shown seated in a cane armchair against a plain, shadowy background. He is smartly dressed for the occasion and we, in looking at the picture, seem to have interrupted the flow of his thoughts as he turns to look back at us.

Walker had shown great interest in the erection of the Art Gallery and Public Library building, which eventually opened in 1901. When the Art Gallery and Library Committee was formed in 1897, he acted as its Chairman until his retirement from the Council.

This painting demonstrates the gratitude of the people of Bury for his efforts in carrying the project through. It was purchased in 1907 from the then celebrated portrait painter, Sir Hubert Von Herkomer, and the £400 needed to pay for it, a very large sum of money at the time, was raised by public subscription.