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"Incredible" Ouless additions to Jersey collection after largest ever purchase

Wednesday 31 January 2024

"Incredible" Ouless additions to Jersey collection after largest ever purchase

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Jersey Heritage has bought a £70,000 collection by one of the Island's best-known painters in the charity’s largest ever art purchase.

More than 70 pieces by Philip John Ouless and members his family has been acquired directly from the artist's descendants who had held the works since his death in 1885.

Senior registrar Helena Kergozou said Jersey Heritage was extremely grateful for having been given first option to buy the collection which cost just over £70,000.

“This is a very exciting moment for Jersey Heritage, particularly for the collections team. It is our biggest art purchase to date, and this large collection of Ouless artworks represents an incredible addition to our art collection which helps us to tell the stories of Jersey’s most important artists,” she said.


Pictured: Senior registrar Helena Kergozou with some of the collection.

While the public collection managed by Jersey Heritage already contains works by Ouless, many relate to the artist’s commercial work as a marine portraitist. However, the new acquisitions offer an insight into Ouless’ private life, with portraits of his wife and children and paintings from his travels around Europe, as well as a number of landscapes of Jersey never previously seen publicly.

A highlight is an oil on canvas self-portrait, created in the artist's later life, a counterpoint to another self-portrait in the existing collection dating from 1840 when the artist was just 23.

The additions also include photographs taken by Philip’s son, Clarence Ouless; two oil paintings by another of his sons, Walter William Ouless who went on to exhibit at the Royal Academy; and a painting by Catherine Ouless, Philip’s granddaughter.

In a statement, the Ouless family said: “[We are] delighted that this important collection has returned to the Island and been placed in the expert care of Jersey Heritage for the people of Jersey. Among the many views of the Island and the places to which he travelled are our family portraits, including a self-portrait of Philip Ouless and of his wife and children.

"While the portraits have great personal significance and have been in our family for over 150 years, we recognise their historical importance and how much they contribute towards an understanding of the artist as a person.”

Jersey Heritage’s collections team will spend time over the coming months cataloguing and digitising each item, making these works available for research purposes and to view online. Conservation work will also be undertaken.


Although there are currently no plans to have the artworks on long-term public display, the new collection will be on display at Jersey Heritage’s first Meet the Collections event of the year which takes place on Saturday, 9 March at the Sir Francis Cook Gallery.

More details can be found on Jersey Heritage’s website.

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