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Benjamin Williams Leader
Born as Benjamin Williams, the artist added the surname Leader (his Father’s middle name) to distinguish himself from the Williams family of painters of which he was not a member.
Upon abandoning a profession in engineering for art, he became a pupil at the Royal Academy in 1853. The following year he showed his first picture there and continued to exhibit prolifically up until 1923.
Leader achieved notable success with his painting “February Fill Dyke”, exhibited in 1881. It remains one of the most famous Victorian paintings and is a tribute to Leader’s artistic talents. The Royal Academy elected him an Associate in 1883, and an Academician in 1898. He also exhibited abroad winning the gold medal and the Legion of Honour in Paris in 1889.
Examples of Leader’s work can be seen in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Sheffield Art Galleries, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Gallery
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