Sylvia Siddell

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Sylvia Siddell
Sylvia Siddell (cropped).jpg
Siddell in 2008
Born 1941
Auckland, New Zealand
Died 26 August 2011
Auckland, New Zealand
Education Avondale College, Auckland Post Primary Teacher's College, Auckland University, Auckland Society of Arts, Auckland Technical Institute
Known for painting, etching, screen printing, drawing
Notable work Fire and Water (2002), Out of the Frying Pan (2007), Sleep of Reason (1984), The Birds,the Bat and the Beast (2006), The Princess began to doubt the Veracity of the Lecherous Amphibian (2008)
Spouse(s) Peter Siddell
Awards Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)

Sylvia Grace Siddell, Lady Siddell ONZM (1941 – 26 August 2011) was a New Zealand painter, etcher, and screen-printer, based in Auckland.[1]


Siddell attended the Avondale College (Art teacher: R.N.Field), Auckland Post Primary Teacher's College (1964–65), Auckland University Summer School (1967, tutored by Colin McCahon), night classes at the Auckland Society of Arts (1970, tutored by Louise Henderson), and night classes at the Auckland Technical Institute (1975–76).[2]


Drawing on the tradition of the European vanitas, or allegorical still life, Siddell's work often depicts inanimate, familiar, and ordinary objects, giving them a sense of vibrancy and reflects on the joys, sorrows, struggles, and frustrations of daily existence.[3][4] Examples of this include her still life paintings, Fire and Water (2002) and Out of the Frying Pan (2007). Her exhibition Couches, at the Artis Gallery in 2005, is another example of how she instilled life and character into ordinary domestic objects, animating them with a sense of personality.[5]


From 1975 onward Siddell exhibited regularly throughout New Zealand and her work is held in private and public collections, both in New Zealand and internationally.[3] Notable exhibitions at the Artis Gallery include Fragments of Life (2000),[6] A Rich Life (1998),[7] and Couches (2005).[5]

In 1994 she took part in the exhibition Unruly Practices at Auckland Art Gallery. The project was a series of solo projects by feminist artists living in Auckland, including work by Carole Shepherd, Claudia Pond Eyley, Mary McIntyre, Christine Hellyar.[2]

Awards and appointments

In 1983 Siddell was award the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Grant to study printmaking and develop etching, lithography and hand painted screen printing techniques.[2]

In the 2002 Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours, Siddell was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of services to painting.[8]

Personal life

In 1960, she married fellow artist Peter Siddell, and had two daughters, Avril and Emily (also an artist).


  1. ^ "Sylvia Siddell". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Sylvia's C.V." Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The extraordinary ordinary: Sylvia Siddell 1941 – 2011". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Art New Zealand". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Fine arts: Sylvia Siddell takes her seat in history". The National Business Review. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ "FRAGMENTS OF A LIFE". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  7. ^ Siddell, Peter. "A RICH LIFE". Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  8. ^ "The Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours List 2002". The Queen's Birthday and Golden Jubilee Honours List 2002. Retrieved 12 September 2017.

Further reading

Artist files for Sylvia Grace Siddell are held at:

  • Angela Morton Collection, Takapuna Library
  • E. H. McCormick Research Library, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
  • Robert and Barbara Stewart Library and Archives, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
  • Fine Arts Library, University of Auckland
  • Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury

Also see:

  • Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Artists, McGahey, Kate (2000) Gilt Edge
  • Mundane and Marvellous,The Art of Sylvia Siddell (2004) Interactive Education
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