Hunt for Sheffield paintings by local artist as city museum prepares new exhibition

Sheffield Museums is asking for the public’s help to tell the story of the remarkable local artist, Kenneth Steel as part of a new exhibition at Weston Park Museum this winter.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 1:53 pm

The new exhibition, co-curated with Kenneth Steel expert and historian, Edward Yardley is set to shine a light on the Sheffield-born artist’s life and work and aims to bring together the most comprehensive collection of Steel’s art ever to go on display.

The team at the museums are asking the public with help in tracking down a few outstanding examples of Steel’s work with the aim of including it in the forthcoming displays.

Kenneth Steel was born in Sheffield and studied at the Sheffield College of Art. He became a consummate printmaker, fine artist and later a commercial artist, designing many railway posters in the 1950s through to the early 1960s.

Kenneth Steel, An Industrial Plant,1965, watercolour on paper.

Steel also painted works for the Davy Ashmore Group and Davy-United in Sheffield in the late 1950s and 1960s. It is believed he painted a scene for Davy-United, now in the possession of his nephew, which probably dates to the mid 1960s. Exactly what industrial plant it depicts and the location is proving to be a mystery – can you help?

Edward and the team working on the exhibition are also trying to track down Steel’s original paintings for Davy-United or the Davy-Ashmore group in Sheffield. Some of these “missing works” are displayed on the artist’s website, including a painting of the Davy workshop and also the Blooming & Slabbing Mill. The museums team are particularly interested in tracking down these or any other Kenneth Steel images of Sheffield.

Edward Yardley said: “It seems clear the oil paintings of the Davy-Ashmore works will probably have been distributed to employees following the closure of the Sheffield works.

“They are probably in private residences in Sheffield or beyond.

"Some years ago, a Davy-United oil painting was sold by the Sheffield art gallery, the Basement Gallery [now closed] and is today untraced. These superb oil paintings of the Darnall plant are out there somewhere, and we’d love to see them!”

Can you help the search for these Kenneth Steel original paintings? If you worked for Davy’s, or any of its associates and can remember seeing any paintings by Kenneth Steel, Sheffield Museums would love to hear from you.

In particular, if you have any of the originals – maybe from when they removed from a boardroom or perhaps given as a leaving gift – or any reproductions such as calendars, or even just images, of Kenneth Steel’s paintings they would also appreciate you getting in touch as soon as possible.

If you have any information you think might be helpful, please visit www.kennethsteel.co.uk or email [email protected]