E Steele, Water Colour And Gouache Painting. Is this Painting authentic or a copy?

Question

Steele, Edwin, born 1803 – died 1871 (painter (artist)

There is another Edwin Steele, but this one was the son of this painter. Edwin J. Steele who was born in 1861 in Stoke on Trent. He died in Birmingham in 1933.

Edwin Steele was a painter at this Rockingham china and porcelain patter book, and his father, Thomas Steele was a painter at the same factory before his son. 

E Steele is known as a painter of fruit and flowers, although there are some landscapes listed. He was quite a prolific painter, although he did not appear to exhibit, as there are no biographical details listed in our reference books, which are drawn from exhibition records.

I reckon this painting is authentic because there isn’t any indication telling me otherwise. I have acquired many prints and one learns to distinguish between a copy and an authentic painting.

In England and France, when it is a copy, most paintings have a copyright stamp of the company where the copy was reproduced. Also the colour of the painting is too good for being a copy. In this watercolour and gouache painting, there is nothing telling me the same is a reproduction.

In some parts of the painting I can feel the brush strokes, when I pass over it with my fingers. In particular over the waves beside the boats.

An Art house with whom I entered in contact with, told me that the painting should be from Elvic Steele and not Edwin Steele, as according to this person the painting is modern.  The same person also claimed never to have seen a marine painting by E Steele.

However, these boats seen on the painting, were used in Brighton in 1824.

So the painting is not modern at all, but very old. It is ca 200 years old. I found these boats in a Constable book, written by Michael Rosenthal. Besides, Elvic Steele’s signature, is a completely different one.

I have bought this painting in “heart foundation” store in Islington, London.

Can you please help me to ascertain if the painting is authentic or a copy?

I am including herewith the Painter’s Signature. 

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks beforehand.

 

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, mariacoutinho38@yahoo.co.uk 6 months 11 Answers 389 views Starting Member 0

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Answers ( 11 )

  1. Welcome to the forum!

    It is nice to see that you have done some research on your own.

    I have some comments to your text: Reproduction is a more accurate term than “a copy”. A lithographic reproduction can have colours just as fresh as a watercolour. In a lithograph the colours are also applied one at a time, and sometimes on top of each other, so you might also feel differences in the surface of a lithograph. A copyright stamp is mostly used with large, commercial editions.

    “Authentic” is a term you would mostly use in connection with an artist name (an authentic Picasso versus a copy after Picasso, or a forgery). When separating a watercolour from a reproduction, “original” is a better term.

    That being said, your painting seems to be a watercolour, because it has some paint smudge at the upper right edge; that would have been cut off in a reproduction.

    Concerning the boats, I see only one ship having a mast with three sails, and I can’t see if it has two masts, as in your picture from 1824. But that this type of ship was in use in 1824 doesn’t mean that it could not be in use a hundred years later. Furthermore, along this ship there are two boats (probably tugboats) with funnels, seemingly emitting black diesel smoke, so that would place it after 1912.
    https://shipinsight.com/articles/ships-diesel-engines-a-brief-history

    The colours and technique looks 20th century to me, but, like you, I don’t think Elvic Steele is a good candidate to the authorship. He had a very different style and subjects!

    My conclusions is that it is an unknown artist signing E. Steele.

    Regards,
    Vietato

  2. Sorry Vietato, I don’t agree with you.

    Why would anybody in the XX century, be preoccupied in  a Marine painting, and use the signature of E Steele? When an Art House told me there isn’t  any painting by this Artist on that subject. If you show me exactly the same painting by E Steele, but in better condition, I can believe you. Otherwise, I still feel it belongs to E Steeele and it is 200 years old.

    Besides, the painting is too good, for a true painter not to use his own name, but that of another painter. Why wouldn’t he use his own name? Like Gustave Klimt or Picasso.

    For instance I have a fantastic reproduction made in Paris by a painter name Vong of a Cezanne painting, on the back of the painting is written too how many he has reproduced.

    Nevertheless, the colour has almost faded, and it is difficult to ascertain the name of the person who reproduced it and how many he did. And it was Sothebys who told me it is a reproduction. I could believe it is not original, because I saw exactly the same painting in a Museum in Russia.

    Yes, the boats could be used 100 years later after his death, but it is not a plausible answer.

    Furthermore, paintings by E Steele worth very little, for someone to be interested in reproducing them.

  3. I haven’t tried to find signatures by Edwin Steele, but this is not a very significant signature.

    Steele is not an uncommon name, so this is most likely the true name of the artist. He is not stealing the name of a 19th century painter who painted quite different subjects. And I believe it is a watercolour, an original work, as I wrote.

    Regards,
    Vietato

  4. Viteato, I saw an extremely close signature of the painting I have in the “findartinfo.co.uk website, where I paid for obtaining it. It was there I found out, that the painting couldn’t be from Elvic Steele, but it belonged to E Steele. I paid $4.49 for a day use of the site.

    SIGNATURES

    Viteato, the first signature is very close to mine. There is even the point at the end. Of course the S is a little bit different. But the rest of the word is exactly the same. However there is a reason for that. Who know if it was his first painting, and the material he had didn’t allow him to do the S as in another painting. I don’t always write the letters the same way, it depends the pen I am writing with.

  5. On FindArtInfo there are no data on this E. Steele, so they don’t know who he is.
    Didn’t you look at the signatures for Edwin Steele, who you presume has painted the watercolour?

  6. Here you have the Signature I am talking about. I mean the top one. There is also the point at the end. If you see what I mean.

  7. Viteato, they have to know, because the picture I am sending you here, was taken there. I have more pictures of E Steele paintings, taken from there. So you are not completely aware of what findartinfo.com have of every single painter. I looked for him under the letter “S”. If you go there, you will see that Elvic’s Steele signature is a completely different one. No shadow of a doubt this painting doesn’t belong to her. She wouldn’t ever sign a painting with the name of her probably ancestor. I am sure she was sure her Paintings were good enough and she didn’t need to copy anyone else.

  8. What I meant was that the painter E. Steele for which you have two signatures is not identified. The E. stands for something.
    There is no birth or death date, nor is there a place of birth.
    http://www.findartinfo.com/english/list-prices-by-artist/125425/e-steele.html

    The signatures are from two of these sales, and the auction houses have sold the paintings as by E. Steele, when they might have been in doubt if it was one of the Edwin Steeles or yet another person.

    Anyway, the subject matter and medium of your artwork does not comply with neither this E. Steele nor Edwin Steele. And then there are the tug boats.

    Experts in auction houses like Bonham’s or Christie’s can tell you by looking at the paper if the watercolour is 19th or 20th century.

    I rest my case.
    Vietato

  9. Viteato, I have also taken from the find Art Information the signature of Elvic Steele. You can see here that her signature is a completely different one, than the one of E Steele.

  10. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O8090/rhinoceros-vase-vase-and-cover-steele-edwin/

    Viteato at this address you have exactly the date E Steele was born and when he died. His father worked in the same place as E Steele, and his name was Thomas Steele.

    I would like to add that Edwin J. Steele who was born in 1861 in Stoke on Trent and who died in 1933 in Birmingham was his son. His signature is a completely different one from E Steele. I also saw his signature in the Find Art Information website.

    Image result for When were Tug boats invented?
    The first tugboat actually built was the Charlotte Dundas, powered by a Watt engine and paddle wheel and used on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland. Screw propulsion for tugboats was introduced in the United States about 1850, the diesel engine about 50 years later.

    E Steele died in 1870. Tug boats had been invented 20 years before.

    http://www.tynetugs.co.uk/Engineers.html

  11. Viteato, a friend of mine who lives in another country and who is a painter,  she is going to investigate if the painting could have been painted in the middle of the XIX. In her country there are many artists. So it will be easy to assess it.

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