David Gourlay Steell (1819-1894)

Artist Name David Gourlay Steell (1819-1894)
Title Portrait of Tennis Dogs
Description This superb love match Victorian Scottish oil painting is by noted animal artist David Gourlay Steell. Painted in 1889,  the composition is two Terrier dogs in the foreground, sweetly snuggled up together under a bench with a tennis racket and discarded outer clothing on the bench.  To the left of them a lady and gentleman stand at the bottom of stone steps, watching a tennis match from the corner of the court, the players out of view. In Victorian days, tennis was an ideal way for the sexes to mix and court. This painting suggests courtship and romance with both the dogs and the couple watching. The casual lounging of the smaller dog on the larger one and the way they innocently gaze at the artist/viewer, as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths is just perfect. It is painted in a super palette of muted tones with lovely brushwork and detail. This is an excellent example of Steell's work and Scottish Victorian dog art. This beautiful painting would appeal to both tennis lovers and dog lovers alike. 

Signed David G Steell and dated 1889 lower right.
Provenance Hampshire estate. 
Medium Oil on Canvas
Size 22 x 18 inches
Frame Housed in a gilt frame with 23 carat gold leaf 29 inches by 25 inches and in good condition.
Condition Good condition.
Biography David Gourlay Steell RSA (1819–1894) was a 19th-century Scottish artist. Gourlay was born at 20 Calton Hill in Edinburgh on 22 March 1819 the son of John Steell, a wood-carver and Margaret Gourlay of Dundee. His elder brother John was a sculptor of national standing. He studied under William Allan and Robert Scott Lauder. Aged only 13 he had his first piece displayed at the Royal Scottish Academy, a model of a greyhound, and in 1835 he displayed a full-size sculpture of a bloodhound. From that year until death he exhibited almost continually. By the 1840s he had established himself and was living in a fine house at 33 East Claremont Street in Edinburgh's New Town. In 1872 he was appointed the official painter of animals to Queen Victoria, succeeding Sir Edwin Landseer. In 1882 he replaced Sir William Fettes Douglas as Curator of the National Gallery of Scotland. At this time he was living with his family at 4 Palmerston Place in Edinburgh's West End. In 1882 he succeeded William Fettes Douglas as Principal Curator of the National Gallery of Scotland, serving until death, and eventually after an inter-regnum being replaced by Robert Gibb. He died on 31 January 1894 at 23 Minto Street, Edinburgh and was buried in Morningside Cemetery, Edinburgh with his wife Jessie Anderson who had died in 1883. The exceptionally modest gravestone has fallen, and lies forlornly in the westmost section of the cemetery, adjacent to modern housing developments
Price £18000
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