2016 128th Annual Exhibition Guest Sculptor



Sir John Steell

Professor John Wilson a.k.a. Christopher North (1785- 1854)*, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Sir John Steell RSA (1804-1891)

Sir John Steell's name may not be instantly recognised but he was the most eminent and respected Scottish sculptor of the Victorian generation and numbered many famous Victorian contemporaries as subjects, friends and patrons. Unusually for the period, as a Scottish sculptor, he maintained both an international and domestic career while still based in Edinburgh. Many of his, arguably, best known public monuments are in Edinburgh, predicating his success in the city although works were sent out throughout Britain, the British Empire and the United States.

In the creation of the Grove Foundry in Edinburgh, he introduced fine art bronze casting to Scotland in 1849. From here a National Monument to the Duke of Wellington was cast. The press of the day punned "The Iron Duke in Bronze by Steell" on its unveiling. He is credited with introducing large scale marble carving into Scotland.
He was designated Sculptor in Ordinary by Queen Victoria in 1838.

David Sutton PPAI

* Bronze maquette of this monument kindly loaned from the Paisley Museum collection for this exhibition