Stella Steyn

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Stella Steyn
Born 26 December 1907
Dublin, Ireland
Died 21 July 1987(1987-07-21) (aged 79)
Nationality Irish
Notable work Illustrations for James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

Stella Steyn (26 December 1907 – 21 July 1987) was an Irish artist. She was born in Dublin in 1907 to dentist William Steyn and Bertha Jaffe, who met and married in Limerick, having moved to Ireland from the town of Akmene on the borders of Latvia and Lithuania.

Early life and education

Born in 1907, Steyn was the great-aunt of political commentator Mark Steyn.[1] Stella studied at Alexandra College and in 1924 the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. In 1926, in the company of her mother and fellow artist Hilda Roberts, she went to Paris to study at the Académie Scandinave and at La Grande Chaumière. She enrolled at the Bauhaus in Germany in 1931.[2] While in Paris she met Samuel Beckett, as well as James Joyce, who later asked her to provide illustrations for Finnegans Wake.

In 1928 she was awarded the Tailteann Silver Medal at the Metropolitan in Dublin. She also competed in the art competitions at the 1928 Summer Olympics.[3]

Later career

In 1938 she married David Ross, a Professor of French at the University of London, whom she had met while in Germany in 1933. They lived in England, where Ross worked as an academic in a number of universities.[4]


Steyn was a prolific artist. One of her paintings, Still Life - Flowers, is displayed in the British Prime Minister's residence, chosen by his wife, Sarah Brown.[5] Her work can be seen at the Tatha Gallery in Fife, Scotland


  1. ^ Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on 27 August 2009
  2. ^ Stella Steyn, (1907-1987) Whytes Catalogue
  3. ^ Gjerde, Arild; Jeroen Heijmans; Bill Mallon; Hilary Evans (October 2017). "Stella Steyn Bio, Stats, and Results". Olympics. Sports Retrieved 2017-11-17. 
  4. ^ Stella Steyn Auction - Introduction
  5. ^ Chris Hastings (27 September 2008). "Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street art collection chosen by his wife". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
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