Graham Oakley archive to sell for charity

An archive of original watercolour drawings by the late much-loved illustrator and writer Graham Oakley, who died aged 93 in December last year, will be sold at a Dorset auction house in September to raise money for charity.

Watercolour illustration by Graham Oakley

Graham Oakley’s work was largely known due to his series of ‘Church Mice’ illustrated picture books.

Over 750  lots of original artwork will be sold without reserve by Charterhouse Auctioneers on September 27 in Sherborne.

The lots include hundreds of drawings from the hugely successful Church Mice books he wrote and illustrated from 1970 to 2000 and feature book cover illustrations along with other books he produced such as the Foxbury Force.

Illustration of mice and a cat by the artist Graham Oakley

The auction house is also offering a lot of his personal paint box, brushes and other artist supplies. Overall, the collection is estimated towards £100,000.

Born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1929, Oakley decided as a teenager that he wanted to pursue an artistic career. He attended Warringon Art School in 1946, but his education was interrupted by his two-year period of National Service with the British Army of the Rhine in Germany.

After completing his training as a commercial artist he spent time working in London before undertaking a stage design course at the Bradford Civic Theatre School. He went on to work as scenery artist in the opera and theatre before periods working in advertising, scenery designing for the BBC and on freelance assignments before finding success with his books.

Artist Graham Oakley's art supplies