Oram, William (DNB00)

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ORAM, WILLIAM (d. 1777), painter and architect, was educated as an architect, and, through the patronage of Sir Edward Walpole, obtained the position of master-carpenter to the board of works. He designed a triumphal arch for the coronation of George III, of which an engraving was published. Oram also devoted much time to landscape-painting in the style of Gaspar Poussin. His works were often applied to decorative purposes and inserted over doors and mantelpieces. He designed and painted the staircase at Buckingham House, and was employed to repair the paintings on the staircase at Hampton Court. He published an etching of Datchet bridge in 1745. In 1766 he exhibited three landscapes at the Society of Artists' exhibition. Oram, who was generally known as ‘Old Oram,’ to distinguish him from his son, died on 17 March 1777, leaving a widow and a son, Edward Oram (noticed below). In his will, dated 4 Jan. 1776, and proved 17 March 1777 (P. C. C. 124, Collier), Oram describes himself as of St. John's, Hampstead, and leaves everything to his wife Elizabeth. His widow gave Oram's manuscripts to his near relative, Charles Clarke, F.S.A., who in 1810 published from them ‘Precepts and Observations on the Art of Colouring in Landscape-Painting, by the late William Oram, esq., of his Majesty's Board of Works.’

Edward Oram (fl. 1770–1800), son of the above, also practised as a landscape-painter. He exhibited landscapes at the Royal Academy from 1775 to 1790, and again in 1798 and 1799. He was also engaged in scene-painting as assistant to Philip James de Loutherbourgh [q. v.], and painted scenery for the Royalty theatre in Wellclose Square [see Palmer, John, 1742?–1798]. He was one of the artists patronised, like John Flaxman [q. v.] and William Blake [q. v.], by the Rev. Henry and Mrs. Mathew, and he assisted Flaxman in decorating their house in Rathbone Place. In 1799 Oram was resid- ing in Gresse Street, Rathbone Place. All later trace of him is lost.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; preface to Oram's Precepts and Observations; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, ed. Wornum; Smith's Book for a Rainy Day.]

L. C.