Steel – James Sydney Steel (1863-1932)

James Sydney Steel was a well connected painter of wildlife; James was born in Perth (30 June 1863) and died in Balquhidder (1932)

Things to know about James Sydney Steel

  • James was the son of John Steel and his wife Mary Prince
  • James was educated at Perth Academy and Madras College St Andrews
  • James’s father was friendly with Sir John Everett Millais who encouraged him to send James to study art at the Slade in London
  • James was friendly throughout his life with Millais’ eldest son John Guille Millais with whom he collaborated on a number of publications
  • James was also friendly with the bird and wildlife artists Archibald Thorburn, and Ernest Briggs
  • James and Ernest Briggs shared a studio in London for a time
  • James did not enjoy good health for much of his life and took trips to Africa to alleviate his condition
  • James painted on his travels to North Africa
  • James is best known for his etched, drawn and painted studies of deer
  • James enjoyed fishing and shooting trips and was extremely knowledgeable about natural history
  • James’s wife was a keen photographer
  • James was a committee member of the original Perthshire Art Association
  • James exhibited with the Perthshire Art Association and the Dundee Art Society as well as at most of the other major art exhibitions in the UK
  • James enjoyed a successful solo exhibition in London near the end of his life

Works by James Sydney Steel in Perth Museum and Art Gallery

(it is not possible to display all of the collection at any one time. To make an appointment to view any material not on show please contact the Art Section)

Paintings

  • Spoils From The Marshes (also known as Dead Game), oil on canvas, 1925
  • Wintery Weather, oil on canvas, about 1921
  • Mallards At Rest, oil on canvas, not dated
  • The Hunter’s Moon, oil on canvas, not dated
  • Shetland Mare And Foal, oil on board, about 1921
  • Disturbed, oil on board, not dated
  • Red Deer, oil on board, not dated
  • Carrion, oil on canvas, not dated (with J G Millais)
  • Tunisian Peasants And Their Mounts, oil on canvas, about 1920-25
  • Coming Down To Water, oil on canvas, about 1920-25
  • Sunset In The Woods (also known as A Christmas Eve), oil on panel, not dated
  • Hard Weather, oil on canvas, about 1910-11
  • Hunting The Irish Elk, oil on canvas, about 1890
  • Elk, oil on canvas, about 1883-1900
  • Deer Hunt, oil on canvas, about 1910
  • Deer Resting, oil on canvas, about 1910

Drawings

  • Dead Stag, chalks on paper, 1890
  • Studies Of A Stag’s Head, chalks on paper, about 1890-1894
  • Five Studies Of A Stag’s Head, chalks on paper, about 1890-94
  • Three Studies Of A Doe, chalks on paper, about 1890-94
  • Animal Studies, chalks on paper, about 1890-94
  • Preparatory Study For Elk, pencil on paper, about 1883-1900
  • Head Of A Dead Stag, chalk on paper, 1894

Sketchbook

Sketchbook of studies of deer seals and hunting scenes, chalk on paper, 1891

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