including UK postage

Brothers of Steell

ISBN 978-0-9926624-5-5

Published by Braykc Publishing

©Charles Kinder Bradbury and
Henry Steuart Fothringham, 2023

244 Pages


Sir John Steell, sculptor, and his artist brother Gourlay, in 19th-century Edinburgh, are the subjects of this beautifully illustrated publication.

Anyone interested in art and its history, especially if connected with Edinburgh, is sure to enjoy this book. Visitors to Scotland's Capital City will find it difficult to avoid encountering many examples of Sir John Steell's sculptural works, along and near Princes Street. The sheer number of sculptural commissions which John Steell received from people in all walks of life is astonishing. This publication describes dozens of portraits as well as short biographies of notables, including Scottish judges, scientists, members of the armed forces, ladies and royal figures, many of whom became good friends of the sculptor, who carved their likenesses with such skill.

Lovers of animals, particularly those of the canine, bovine and equine worlds will probably have come across paintings by the 'Scottish Landseer', Gourlay Steell. This talented painter became a very influential figure, as Curator of the Scottish National Gallery. He was also appointed official painter at the Highland and Agricultural Society and most of his paintings on permanent exhibition at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, are here replicated.

During the 19th century, these two brothers were celebrated for their contributions to Scottish art and even received recognition from Queen Victoria as Her Majesty's Sculptor and Painter of Animals in Scotland. However, in the present day, the Steell brothers are largely unknown to the general public. This book aims to help correct the situation and it is hoped that its pages will entertain as well as educate.


It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with my friends Charles Bradbury and Henry Fothringham in this book about the Steell brothers. For a long time I have held the belief that little recognition has been afforded to these two men, who played such a vital role in the artistic development of their home City of Edinburgh in the 19th Century.

Few people in present times have heard of the great sculptor, Sir John Steell, Queen Victoria's sculptor in Scotland. However, his statues, such as the Scott Memorial, the Wellington Monument, and the Prince Consort Memorial are admired by residents of Edinburgh and visitors alike. Similarly, his brother, Gourlay Steell, is relatively unknown, yet he became Queen Victoria's Animal Painter for Scotland. Their father, John Steell Senior, is even less recognised, although his legacies of architectural carvings and the skills he passed on to his two sons are remarkable.

My own interest in the subject, especially having lived in my birthplace, Edinburgh, for 50 years, I owe to my late father, Ian Smith, BL. He was a solicitor who had a firm in Rutland Square and represented a Steell descendant. Through this connection I was introduced to the works of Sir John Steell across the City. For me, the discovery of the works of the carver John Steell Senior was an unexpected surprise, particularly given my association, as past Deacon of the Hammermen, with the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh.

This beautifully illustrated book puts right this injustice to the memory of the Steell family and its wonderful works of art.

Congratulations to the Authors!

by Andrew Ian Smith, CStJ