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William Leighton Leitch
(1804-1883)

The Bass Rock

William Leighton Leitch was born in Glasgow. He was a painter of landscapes and figurative subjects, most usually in watercolour, his early love of art was fostered by meetings with Sir Daniel MacNee and Horatio McCulloch and he soon abandoned the career in law planned for him by his manufacturer father. After employment at 19 as a scene painter at the Theatre Royal, he quickly moved to Cummnock where alongside MacNee, McCulloch and John Anderson he decorated snuffboxes for a living.

Armed with a letter of introduction from David Roberts, he moved to London and was again employed as a scene painter, first at the Queen’s Theatre and then at the Pavilion where he met Clarkson Stanfield and attracted the patronage of a wealthy stockbroker, Mr Anderson. He began exhibiting at the RA 1841. A trip to Italy in 1854 on health grounds let indirectly to his becoming drawing instructor to Queen Victoria and members of her household, lessons that continued for almost 20 years, receiving a Royal annuity in 1864. He died in London.

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