When the original painting on which this print is based, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1894 a reviewer for the ‘Morning Post’ commented:
‘‘A Wet Road-side’ is the title of another of Mr. Leader’s works, descriptive of what Mark Tapley used to call ‘a juicy day,’ in very late autumn or early winter. Ducks potter about amid the pools and puddles that reflect the cold blue sky, against which are relieved the bare branches of the trees and the thatched roofs of the cottages near the road. Over the distant uplands the low-lying clouds are fringed with the pale orange of the sunset.’
The painting is now in the collection of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
Benjamin Williams Leader was born in Worcester; the son of an amateur painter, ironmonger and engineer. He attended schools in Worcester, before beginning an apprenticeship in his father’s firm. He later studied at Worcester School of Design and exhibited landscapes at the Royal Academy from 1854. To avoid confusion with other artists named Williams, he used his father’s second name, Leader, from 1858. He travelled to Paris in 1865 and, from this time, adopted freer brush strokes and more dramatic lighting effects. Following his success at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris he was awarded the Légion d’honneur. In 1898 he became a full member of the Academy. He died at his home, Burrows Cross House, near Gomshall in Surrey, aged 92.
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