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    Sale 1910

    Sporting And Wildlife Art Including The Collection Of Doug And Ellen Miller

    28 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 156

    William R. Leigh (American, 1866-1955)

    Carl Akeley; and William R. Leigh with a Hippopotamus

    Price Realised  


    William R. Leigh (American, 1866-1955)
    Carl Akeley; and William R. Leigh with a Hippopotamus
    signed 'W.R. LEIGH' (lower right and lower right)
    pen and black ink, highlighted with white on paper
    8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 cm.) and 14 x 10½ in. (35.6 x 26.7 cm.)
    two (2)

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    In Chapter I, Leigh describes his perceptions of Akeley when they first met, 'He impressed me at once as a man who had done a tremendous amount of labour, mental and physical. I judged him to be about sixty-five years old. He was neither tall nor short, slight nor heavy. He was stooped, graying, but had something dynamic and reassuring about him that made me like and trust him.' (W.R. Leigh, Frontiers of Enchantment, London, 1939, p. 16).

    Chapter XX is entitled Night with an African Shepherd and begins with Leigh's encounter with a hippopotamus, 'Just as I reached the water's edge a tremendous splashing startled me, and an immense Hippopotamus stood within thirty feet of me. He had been lying in the shallow water where a few cat-tails grew; I, with my attention fixed on the shoreline and hills, had not seen him; he, asleep, had not seen me until I got very close. I jerked my rifle into position, and there we stood, each staring at the other. The animal, after a hasty but careful survey of me, decided I was an unneighbourly interloper, and, with snorts of suspicion and disgust, moved out into deep water.' (op. cit., p. 219).


    with Fenn Galleries, Ltd., Santa Fe, from whom purchased.

    Pre-Lot Text

    William R. Leigh was known for his American Western genre scenes. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and studied art at the Maryland Institute before spending twelve years at the Royal Academy in Munich. Upon his return to New York in 1896, Leigh worked for several years as a commercial artist. In 1906, he began to make trips out west, and for the next fifty years devoted himself to depicting the Southwest. Focusing primarily on the native Americans, Leigh's paintings eventually earned wide critical acclaim.

    In 1926 Leigh was selected by Carl Akeley to accompany him to Africa for the Museum of Natural History of New York. He was selected as he had studied in Europe and because he had extensive experience painting the American West and knew rough camp life. In 1939, Leigh wrote and illustrated Frontiers of Enchantment An Artist's Adventures in Africa which detailed this adventure and the following five lots are illustrations for this publication.



    W.R. Leigh, Frontiers of Enchantment, London, 1939, illustrated p. 19 and 221.