Sir Oswald Walters Brierly (1817-1894), English marine painter, who came of an old Cheshire family, was born at Chester. He entered Sass's art-school in London, and after studying naval architecture at Plymouth he exhibited some drawings of ships at the Royal Academy in 1839. He had a passion for the sea, and in 1841 started round the world with Benjamin Boyd (1796-1851), afterwards well known as a great Australian squatter, in the latter's ship "Wanderer," and having got to New South Wales, made his home at Auckland for ten years. Brierly Point is called after him. He added to his sea experiences by voyages on H.M.S. "Rattlesnake" in 1848, and with Sir Henry Keppel on the "Meander" in 1850; he returned to England in 1851 on this ship, and illustrated Keppel's book about his cruise (1853). He was again with Keppel during the Crimean War, and published in 1855 a series of lithographs illustrating "The English and French fleets in the Baltic." He was now taken up by Queen Victoria and other members of the royal family, and was attached to the suites of the duke of Edinburgh and the prince of Wales on their tours by sea, the results being seen in further marine pictures by him; and in 1874 he was made marine-painter to the queen.
He exhibited at the Academy, but more largely at the Royal Water-colour Society, his more important works including the historical pictures, "The Retreat of the Spanish Armada" (1871) and "The Loss of the Revenge" (1877). In 1885 he was knighted, and he died on the 14th of December 1894. He was twice married and had an active and prosperous life, but was no great artist; his best pictures are at Melbourne and Sydney.