The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names




By Maureen Storey

 This article was originally published in the December 2010 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society


The Royal Academy of Arts was founded in 1768 by George III. The 34 founding members were a group of prominent artists and architects, including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir William Chambers, who wanted to achieve professional standing for British art and architecture. They also wanted to establish a school of art in order to pass on their artistic skills and knowledge and to provide a venue for exhibitions that would be open to the public. 

The first Royal Academy exhibition was held on 25 April 1769 and attracted 136 entries. Since then there has been an unbroken run of yearly exhibitions, now known as the Summer Exhibitions, which showcase work by both established and emerging artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film. Recent exhibitions have attracted more than 10,000 entries of which 1000 are chosen for display by The Summer Exhibition Selection and Hanging Committee. For a small fee, anyone can submit an entry. Almost all of the exhibited works are for sale, with the Royal Society taking 30% commission. In 2003 this commission, which goes towards the running costs of the Academy, amounted to about 2,000,000. The exhibition has proved to be a launch pad for numerous careers, including that of J M W Turner, who at the age of 15 became the Academy's youngest ever exhibitor. 

Over the years the ranks of exhibitors have included names of interest to the Sole Society. The Summer Exhibition lists give only the name of the artist, address, discipline, year and name of exhibit. For some of these artists identification has been relatively easy but for others I have currently drawn a blank if you can fill in some background for them, the relevant coordinator would be pleased to have the information.


B Sewell of Norwich, architect, architectural drawings, 1797, 1798, 1799.

Samuel Solly of 6 Savile Row, London, painter, landscapes,1870 (a sketch of The Old Man of Coniston), 1871 (water colour of The Frying Pan, Cadgwith).

Samuel Solly (1805-1871) was the son of Isaac Solly, a trader on the Baltic Exchange in London, and his wife Mary (nee Harrison). After serving an apprenticeship with Benjamin Travers, surgeon at St Thomas's Hospital London, Samuel was admitted as a member to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1828. During his career as a surgeon, he worked first in private practice and then at St Thomas's Hospital, where he also lectured on clinical surgery. He was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1843 and twice served as its vice-president. He and his wife Jane (nee Barrett) had seven sons and four daughters.

George H Saul of Florence, sculptor, sculptures, 1876, 1879 and 1887 (two works).

George lived in Florence with his wife Eleanor Adelaide and their three children. He trained under American sculptor Joel Turner Hart (18101877) and in addition to his entries in the Summer Exhibition he exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in London in 1880 and 1883. His other works include a monument to Mrs Townley in St Peter's Church, Burnley, and a bust of William Ewart Gladstone, which can still be found in Alliance House, 6 Bishop Street, Leicester, the former Leicester and County Liberal Club.

Saul and North of 1 Beaufort St, Chelsea, London, metalworkers, a silver gilt, enamelled, jewelled crozier, 1890.

George P D Saul of Selwood Place, South Kensington, London, metalworker, design for a silver gilt, enamelled altar cross, 1890.

Evelyn W Solly of Bushey, HRT, painter,  paintings, 1897 (two works), 1901 and 1903.

Evelyn Wayland Solly was born in 1865, and was the daughter of Edward Solly (1819-1886), chemist, agronomist and antiquary, and his wife Alice (nee Wayland). In 1900, she married fellow artist Alfred Usher Soord, with whom she had two children.

Henry A Saul of 10 Gray's Inn Square, architect, architectural drawings 1910, 1923.

Henry Albert Saul was born in Islington, MDX, in 1869 and was the son of David Saul and his wife Florence (nee Grossmith). He was articled to Herbert Searles-Wood from 1886 to 1889 and attended architectural classes at the Royal Academy Schools, the Architectural Association and the South Kensington Museum. He became ARIBA in 1892 and then set up an independent architect's practice. He served as Deputy Architect to the Ministry of Health during the First World War.

Margaret Sewell of Bushey Heath, HRT, painter, paintings, 1918 (two works).

Margaret was born in London in about 1876. She married fellow artist William Sewell (b about 1876, Darlington, DUR) in about 1910.

Isabel Saul of Bournemouth, painter and engraver, exhibited a total of 34 works in 22 exhibitions between 1936 and 1966. They included etchings, portraits, miniatures and paintings.

An etching by Isabel Saul

An etching by Isabel Saul

Isabel Florrie Saul was born in Southbourne, HAM, in 1895. She was the daughter of William Osborne Saul and his wife Jessie. Isabel studied art at Bournemouth Municipal School of Art. She sometimes worked with her sister Mary, a calligrapher.

John Sewell of  London, painter, paintings, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956 (three works).

Juliana M Saul of Leigh-on-Sea, ESS, painter, portraits, 1953, 1954, 1959.

Frances E Sewell of Epsom, SRY, engraver, colour lithograph, 1953.

Marcus Sewell of London, sculptor and painter, a walnut statuette group, 1958, and a cherry wood torso, 1959, cast plaster torso, 1979, pastel and charcoal drawing, 1983.

Barbara A Sewell of Lymington, HAM, painter, botanical paintings, 1967 (two works).

Sheila P Sewell of Orpington, KEN and Norwich, NFK, painter, exhibited a total of 36 works, mostly portraits, in 13 exhibitions between 1973 and 1986.

Philip Solly of Surbiton, SRY, engraver and painter, an etching and a painting, 1975.

Terence W Sole of Blackheath, London, painter, landscapes, 1977, 1978, 1982.

John Sewell of London, painter, painting, 1981. 


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