23 November 2004
Benjamin Williams Leader, R.A. (1831-1923)
A Worcestershire Farm
signed and dated 'B.W.LEADER. 1884.' (lower left) and further signed and indistinctly inscribed 'The Outskirts of a farm, Evening, Worcestershire B.W. Leader.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
29¼ x 51 in. (74.3 x 129.5 cm.)
Possibly purchased from the artist by Siddons, May 1884, as 'Evening River Scene, Worcestershire' (£250).
Possibly Anonymous sale [Siddons]; Christie's, London, 13 March 1886, lot 242, as 'Evening, Worcestershire' (unsold).
Possibly Anonymous sale [Siddons]; Christie's, London, 7 May 1887, lot 136, as 'Evening, Worcestershire' (unsold).
Possibly Anonymous sale [Siddons (+)]; Christie's, London, 1 July 1889, lot 38, as 'The Outskirts of a Farm, Worcestershire, Evening' (52 gns to Mitchell).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 29 May 1964, lot 158, as 'Worcestershire Farm at Sunset' (unsold).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 29 July 1965, lot 188, as 'Worcestershire Farm at Sunset' (480 gns to Leger).
with Leger Galleries, London, by February 1966.
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The artist's own sale records, 1884.
Connoisseur, September 1949.
F. Lewis, Benjamin Williams Leader, R.A., Leigh-on-Sea, 1971, p. 40, fig. 44.
Leader painted scenes of his birth county, Worcestershire, throughout his long career; even returning to them after he had taken up residence at Burrow's Cross in Surrey in 1889, where he remained until his death in 1923.
This work is most probably a composite landscape, inspired by the many scenes Leader painted of the river Severn below Worcester at Kempsey. The familiar village and church have been replaced by farm outbuildings in the present view.
It is not unusual to find unidentified landscapes in Leader's oeuvre. To pinpoint the exact location of a Leader scene is of secondary importance to understanding his primary concern, which was to express the changes wrought by alternation of weather and season.
We are grateful to Ruth Wood for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.
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