ELECTED IN 1888
Originally from Stalybridge in Greater Manchester Ousley spent his final years in Conwy. He died on February 4, 1889, aged just 37.
In 1907, Samuel Hill wrote in Bygone Stalybridge: “Buckley Ousey was born in Castle Street, Stalybridge,
in the year 1851, his father, who died a few weeks before our subject came into the world, being a clerk at Castle Street Mills. Whilst the future artist was a child, his mother also passed away, and the lad was from that time resident with his aunt, Mrs. Whitehead, in King Street.
He commenced work early at the mills of Albert Hall, Esq., and remained there up to their closing, when he found employment at the North End Mills, using his spare time in sketching, drawing, and painting. His artistic career was a continued struggle against adverse circumstances, until within a short period of his death.
On one occasion a number of local gentlemen sent him to North Wales to paint, and later still a Bolton admirer
undertook to assist him, sending him to Antwerp, where he pursued a course of study. Then it was that success
at last appeared certain, and his work began to find ready purchasers; commissions poured in, but another
fact asserted itself, for it became apparent that a fatal disease existed in his frame.”.
The North Wales Weekly News remembered Buckley, who left a wife and six children, in its first ever obituary: “Mr
Ousey’s case is a peculiarly pathetic one. He was left an orphan at the
age of two years and his life has been a constant struggle, but he had a
large and kind heart, his spirit never failed, he always had a cheerful
word or a merry joke for everyone with whom he came into contact and
regardless of his own requirements was ready to give a helping hand when
“His enthusiasm for his art urged him onward and
just as he set his foot upon the ladder of fame, death came gliding by
and stayed his hand forever.
the hour of death approached, how earnestly he begged for only two more
years will never be erased from the memory of those who were with him
during the closing hours of his life.
“Mr Ousey had over £1,000
worth of commissions in hand which he could have completed in 12 months
had the hand of death been stayed.”
After his burial at Conwy cemetery, members of the Royal Cambrian Academy met at Plas Mawr to discuss a lasting memorial. They wrote to the mayor of Stalybridge to set up an art union, with artists from the Vale of Conwy submitting pictures. Also during the meeting, Mr Claxton of Llandudno offered to hold a “monster concert” in aid of the fund. The proceeds went to Ousley's widow and children (the eldest being 13).