John Zephaniah Bell

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John Zephaniah Bell, self-portrait from the 1820s

John Zephaniah Bell (1794 – 1883) was a Scottish artist.


He was born in Dundee, where his father William Bell was a tanner, businessman and banker; James Stanislaus Bell was his brother. He studied at Edinburgh University, and then went to London, where he was a pupil of Martin Archer Shee.[1][2][3]

Bell studied under Antoine-Jean Gros in Paris, and was in Rome for over a year from 1825. He was portrait painter to Maria II of Portugal, and assistant to David Wilkie. He married Jane Graham Hay Campbell in 1831.[2][4]

Bell became head of the Manchester School of Design when it was set up in 1838.[2][5] He resigned in 1843 and was succeeded by George Wallis.[6]


In Paris, Bell met David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie, who became a patron and had him decorate Cortachy Castle.[2] He showed paintings at the Royal Academy and Royal Manchester Institution in the period 1824 to 1865.[7] Frescoes in the Muirhouse mansion in Edinburgh impressed Wilkie.[8] Bell won a prize in the Westminster Hall fresco competition of 1842.[2][5]

Bell was a Sandemanian and painted a portrait of Michael Faraday, of the same church.[9] The attribution to Bell of John Gubbins Newton and His Sister, Mary Newton has been withdrawn.[10]


  1. ^ James Elton Bell; Frances Jean Bell (31 January 2007). Sir Robert Bell and His Early Virginia Colony Descendants: A Compilation of 16th, 17th, and 18th Century English and Scottish Families With the Surname Bell, Beale, Le Bel, Et Al. Wheatmark, Inc. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-58736-747-2. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e National Gallery (Great Britain), Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of the Pictures. British schools (1896), p. 28,
  3. ^ Dmitry Fedosov; University of Aberdeen. Centre for Scottish Studies (1996). The Caledonian connection: Scotland-Russia ties : Middle Ages to early twentieth century : a concise biographical list. Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen. ISBN 978-0-906265-22-2. , page 11.
  4. ^ Stuart MacDonald (2004). History And Philosophy Of Art Education. James Clarke & Co. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7188-9153-4. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Martin Hewitt (25 January 2013). Victorian World. Routledge. p. 588. ISBN 978-0-415-49187-7. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Franz Bosbach; William Filmer-Sankey; Hermann Hiery (1 January 2000). Prinz Albert und die Entwicklung der Bildung in England und Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert / Prince Albert and the Development of Education in England and Germany in the 19th Century. Walter de Gruyter. p. 113. ISBN 978-3-11-095440-1. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Getty Research Library Catalog, Bell, John Zephaniah, 1794-1883.
  8. ^, John Zephaniah Bell.
  9. ^ Melville Y. Stewart (1 December 2009). Science and Religion in Dialogue, Two Volume Set. John Wiley & Sons. p. 347. ISBN 978-1-4443-1736-7. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  10. ^, Who was Robert Burnard?.

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