Joseph Syddall (1864–1942)
Joseph Syddall was born in Whittington, the son of a master carpenter and joiner. After attending the local village school, he went to work as a clerk in a Chesterfield solicitor’s office.
His artistic talent was recognised by Miss Mary Swanwick, who funded a place for him at art school. He trained at the Herkomer Institute at Bushey.
Sir Hubert von Herkomer praised Syddall for his excellent pencil drawings and proclaimed him to be ‘the best draughtsman in England’.
His pencil drawings earned him an election to be a member of the Royal Academy and he illustrated Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbevilles’ when it was published in the Graphic Magazine in 1891.
His pencil drawings earned him election as a member of the Royal Academy, a prestigious achievement.
Syddall designed the War Memorials in Whittington and Dronfield and one of his works is a pencil drawing of the Revolution House around 1900.
After his death, his collection was donated to the town of and subsequently to the Chesterfield Museum.
Although best known for his drawings, he also showed great skill working in oil.
You can view some of his wonderful oil paintings held in the Museum here