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    Sale 7437

    Victorian and Traditonalist Pictures

    15 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 99

    Benjamin Williams Leader, R.A. (1831-1923)

    An Autumn Gleam

    Price Realised  


    Benjamin Williams Leader, R.A. (1831-1923)
    An Autumn Gleam
    signed and dated 'B.W.LEADER.1897.' (lower left) and further signed and inscribed 'No3, The Autumn Gleam B.W. Leader' (on the stretcher)
    oil on canvas
    38¼ x 60¼ in. (97.2 x 153 cm.)

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    An Autumn Gleam was No. 3 of four paintings that Leader, as an Associate Royal Academician, exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1897. After exhibiting at the Royal Academy for 43 years (from 1854), having been an A.R.A. since 1882, his Diary entry for 21 March voiced the frustration he felt. Leader wrote that he was '... out of heart at my treatment by the Academy having come up for election for R.A. time and time again and rejected each time but my works are more popular than ever with the public...'
    It is conceivable that it was because of this painting and the other exhibited, that the artist finally achieved his ambition the following year, in 1898. He was elected a full Royal Academician and continued to exhibit at the institution until his death in 1923.

    According to Henry Blackburn in his Royal Academy Notes of 1897, this landscape was of a 'tranquil Welsh stream'. Leader has painted his favourite time of the day; the amber luminosity of the late afternoon when the sun is beginning to slip below the horizon. Its last gleams of golden light still remain on the distant hills and on the top of the foliage on the riverbank; their reflections shimmer in the quiet waves of the water.

    We are grateful to Ruth Wood for her help in preparing this catalogue entry. Mrs Wood is working on a catalogue raisonné of the paintings of Benjamin Williams Leader.

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    Purchased from the artist by Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, March 1897 (£400).
    with Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.
    with Thomas McLean, London.


    The artist's diary, 21 March 1897.
    The artist's own sale records, 1897.
    Royal Academy Catalogue, 1897.
    Henry Blackburn, Royal Academy Notes, London, 1897, p. 18.
    F. Lewis, Benjamin Williams Leader R.A., Leigh-on-Sea, 1971, p. 46, no. 400.
    R. Wood, Benjamin Williams Leader R.A. 1831-1923: His Life and Paintings, Woodbridge, 1998, p. 130.


    London, Royal Academy, 1897, no. 554.