William Leighton Leitch

Scottish landscape painter and drawing master (1804 - 1883) specialising in continental subjects

Leitch was the son of military person Richard Leitch (dates unrecorded) and Elisabeth Hardie (dates unrecorded). He studied painting with portrait artist Daniel Macnee (1806 - 1882). He went on to work at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow between 1824 and 1829 painting scenery. He later moved to Ayrshire to paint snuff-box lids.

Leitch moved to London in around 1831 and began to work as a scene painter. He exhibited at the Society of British Artists for the first time in 1832. A stockbroker, Mr Anderden (dates unrecorded) , suggested he take drawing lessons from the artist Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (1787 - 1855) and financed a four year trip for Leitch to Europe. It was here that he found his inspiration. He travelled and sketched extensively during his time abroad as well as giving lessons to English families and aristocratic patrons to help fund his travels. These aristocratic connections ultimately led to Leitch giving drawing lessons to the Royal family, including Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901). A large number of his watercolours and drawings still remain in the Royal Collection.

Leitch exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London between 1841 and 1861.After this he worked primarily in watercolour and exhibited mostly at the British Institution, the Society of British Artists, and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour. He was vice-president of the latter for 20 years. Work by Leitch found in his studio after his death was sold at Christie's in March and April 1884.

Leitch's style is often considered to be similar to the work of artist Clarkson Stanfield (1793 - 1867), who produced continental landscapes and architectural studies. Leitch's eldest son, Richard Principal Leitch (about 1827–1882), was also a landscape painter and he worked in a similar style to his father.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
    Previous owner
  • Nationality
    British: Scottish
  • Born
    1804-11-02
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: Lanarkshire: Glasgow
  • Died
    1883-04-25
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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