Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Steele, Christopher

STEELE, CHRISTOPHER (fl. 1756), portrait-painter, was born at Egremont, Cumberland, about 1730. He resided for a year in Paris, where he was instructed by ‘Carle’ Vanloo, and on his return practised portrait-painting in the north of England with some success. By his foreign manners and expensive tastes he acquired the title of ‘Count’ Steele. In 1755, while residing at Kendal, he received George Romney [q. v.] as a pupil, and shortly afterwards, with Romney's assistance, he eloped with and married a young lady of some fortune. He then removed to York, where he had Laurence Sterne among his sitters. In 1757 Steele went to Ireland, where he is supposed to have died.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Hayley's Life of Romney, 1809; J. Romney's Memoirs of G. Romney, 1820.]

F. M. O'D.