- Also known as
William Ockelford Oldman
primary name: Oldman, William Ockelford
- individual; dealer/auction house; British; Male
- Life dates
- 4 Aug 1879-30 Jun 1949
- 77 Brixton Hill, London SW
- Dealer and collector of ethnographic artefacts, born in Lincolnshire, already dealing and selling to the BM in 1904. Known for his Polynesian collection, which was sold en bloc to Wellington, New Zealand in his lifetime with its assocaited archive. The American and African parts of the collection were sold to the BM by his widow in 1949. The NACF paid for the finest 30 pieces of the over 1,000 items in the group (see Af1949,46.1 to 845; Am1949,22.1 to 239; and a few extra objects in groups in As1950, and in Oc1949 and 1950).
In 1950, his widow, Dorothy, sold the remainder of the collection at Sotheby's, 24 July 1950.
Oldman sold a collection of Pacific Islands artefacts, including some acquired by Charles Woodford, to Harry Beasley in 1915, numbered 972 to 982 in the Beasley catalogue; part of this are now in the BM.
His paper archive was acquired by the Getty Research Institute in California (c.2022). Bound photocopies of his chronological series of books of acquisition are in the BM. These run from 1894 to 1926, with the main period of activity being between 1902 and 1922. They suggest that Oldman did little after 1926, which therefore serves as a terminus ante quem for most of his acquisitions which were made on the London market.
- H.J.Braunholtz, BMQ XVI 1951/2, pp.54-55; W.B.Fagg, ibid, pp.106-10.
Hermione Waterhouse and J.C.H.King, 'Provenance, twelve collectors of ethnographic art in England 1760-1990' (Paris, 2006)
Gaye Sculthorpe, Maria Nugent & Haward Morphy, 'Ancestors, artefacts, empire: indigenous Australia in British and Irish museums', London (BMPress) 2021
A digitised copy of the Oldman Archive is available on the website of the Smithsonian Institution Online Virtual Archives (https://sova.si.edu/record/NMAI.RM.001).
See also W.O. Oldman, Illustrated Catalogue of Ethnographic Specimens, London 1976.