This study from nature of a Flood on the River Llugwy and another smaller identical scene, with minor detail changes which Leader dated 1877, were probably the initial ideas for one of Leader's proposed exhibits at the 1877 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Titled An Autumn Flood on a Welsh River, it was not exhibited and today resides in a private collection outside the United Kingdom.
Leader visited north Wales almost annually, either during the summer or Autumn, from the late 1850s until he moved from his birth county of Worcestershire to Surrey in 1889. Scenes along the banks of the rivers Conway, Llugwy and Lledr in the environs of Betws-y-coed and Capel Curig were constant sources of inspiration throughout the artist's long career.
Leader had the ability to capture on canvas nature in all her moods, which made him one of the most acclaimed Victorian landscape painters. His Welsh rivers were not only depicted flowing gently through deep pools or tumbling over rocks along narrow valleys overlooked by the mountain ranges of Snowdonia, but also in their more violent moods as realised in this landscape of the river Llugwy in spate under a stormy sky. 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.