Benjamin William Leader
Evening on the Conway, North Wales, 1899
oil on canvas
30.7 x 46.1 cm
Permanent loan to the Winnipeg Art Gallery from the City of Winnipeg, A.A. Heaps Collection
When he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1857, Benjamin Leader Williams transposed his name to Benjamin Williams Leader so that he wouldn’t be confused with another family of painters with the surname Williams. Leader studied at the Royal Academy School in London and decided early on to focus on the landscape genre. His father was acquainted with John Constable, and the influence of the English master’s style—mainly his rich palette of browns and greens applied with aggressive brushstrokes—is clearly evident in Leader’s work. Leader was interested in capturing both the colour and atmosphere of his landscape subject, and he would document scenes at different times of the day and in various climactic conditions. In the WAG picture, the picturesque lake scene is shown at evening light; a man can be seen fishing on the far side of the lake, while two other figures sit on the bank behind him.