ROBERT SIVELL, RSA (1888-1958)


Signed Oil on panel

46 by 39 cm., 18 by 15 in. (frame size 58.5 by 50.5 cm., 23 by 20 in.)

Provenance; The collection of Sir John Ritchie Richmond of Blanefield, Kirkoswald, Ayrshire.

Exhibited: Edinburgh, Arts Council for Scotland, Robert Sivell Memorial Exhibition, 1960, no.30 (as Head of a Woman).

Sivell was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire. He studied at Glasgow School of Art whilst also working full-time as an apprentice engineer. In 1912 he travelled to Canada, Paris and Florence, returning to Scotland in 1914. During the World War I he worked fitting out trawlers and drifters for mine sweeping, on the Boom Defence of Cromarty and by joining the Merchant Navy in 1916. At the end of the war he left the Navy and moved to Glasgow where he continued his painting at evenings and weekends. Together with James Cowie and Archibald McGlashan he was a founding member of the Glasgow Society of Artists and Sculptors in 1919. In the 1930s he moved to Aberdeen to teach at Grays School of Art, serving as Head of Drawing and Painting from1942 to 1954. In 1936 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and in 1943 he became a full member. While at Gray’s, he undertook a large scale painting project consisting of larger that life size murals in a lecture and exhibition hall within the Aberdeen University Union on Gallowgate. This project involved three of his pupils, Alberto Morrocco, Taylor Bremner and James Hillocks. The work started in 1938 and continued until his retirement in 1953. It was interrupted by World War II when he completed a number of short-term commissions for the War Artists Advisory Committee. Throughout his teaching career Sivell continued to paint both commissioned portraits and subject of his own choosing. A large number of his works are in the collection of Aberdeen Art Gallery. The present work is a portrait study for the artist’s 1937 painting Senorita, exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, 1938, no.85, now in the collection of Perth Art Gallery. The sitter is Nancy Hunter.


Height 46 cm / 18 14"
Width 39 cm / 15 12"
Framed height 58.5 cm / 23 "
Framed width 50.5 cm / 20"