Benjamin Williams Leader: Worcester Cathedral, 1894
Benjamin Williams Leader (1831-1923)
Leader was born in Worcester as Benjamin Leader Williams. His father was a keen amateur artist - a friend of John Constable - and Benjamin would often accompany him on sketching trips along the banks of the River Severn. His brother, also Edward Leader Williams, later became a notable civil engineer who was knighted for his work, and is now mainly remembered for designing Manchester Ship Canal - which was to become the theme of Leader's largest painting.
Leader was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Worcester, and initially worked at his father's office as a draughtsman while studying art in the evenings at the Worcester School of Design. In his free time he also did a lot of "open air" landscape painting. The inspiration for these early works was the countryside around Worcester itself, the picturesque and beautiful cottages, farmhouses, lanes, hedgerows and churches.
Later in life he changed his name to Benjamin Williams Leader to distinguish himself from the many other painters with the surname Williams. In 1854, at the age of 23, he was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy Schools in London, and, unusually, in his first year, had a picture accepted for exhibition there. Subsequently, his work appeared in every summer exhibition at the academy until 1922, when Leader was 91 years old.
In 1914 he was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Worcester in recognition of his services as a director of Royal Worcester Porcerlain and a native of the city. Apart from his native Worcestershire and Wales, Leader also painted in other parts of Britain including Devon and Surrey and on the continent in Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium. He died in Surrey in 1923.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1195: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)