“Monument to Sir Charles Oakeley, Baronet,” by Sir Francis Chantrey
Sir Chatles

Sir Charles Oakeley, Baronet (1751-1826), by Francis Chantrey. Profile in a medallion with a gilded rim, on a white marble monument. — not showy, apart from the gilding, but rather elegant. The monument is in the north transept of Lichfield Cathedral. Oakeley is praised in the long inscription for his "eminent services in India" over twenty-seven years, which eventually took him to a governorship: he was Governor of Madras from 1792-94 ("Colonial Administrators"). He is also applauded on the memorial for his "piety, meekness, simplicity, benevolence." His wife Helena, whom he married in Madras in 1777 and who died in 1839, is commemorated at the foot of the tablet.

They were an interesting couple. Oakeley's hobby was astronomy. He is still remembered in Madras (present-day Chennai) in connection with its astronomical observatory, established in 1792, which he started building on his own initiative (see Narayanan). As for his wife Helena, she had originally gone out to Madras with her aunt, the portrait painter Katherine Read (1723-1778), and was a talented artist herself.

Chantrey's name is inscribed on the lower right-hand side of the memorial.

Photographs, text, and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. The photographs are reproduced here” by kind permission of the Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral. Click on them for larger pictures.


"Colonial Administrators and Post-Independence Leaders in India (1616–2000)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Theme). Online ed. Web. 22 June 2013.

Narayanan, R. Lakshmi. "Of Astronomical Significance." The Hindu (online ed.). 31 May 2001. Web. 22 June 2013.

O'Donoghue, F. M. rev. Dorcas Taylor. "Read, Katherine (1723-1778)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 22 June 2013.

Last modified 22 June 2013