William John LEECH ✿

William John Leech (1881-1968) was an Irish Impressionist painter, born in Dublin. He went to school at St Columba's College, Dublin in Rathfarnham, later studying at the Metropolitan School. He later transferred to the Royal Hibernian Academy and studied under Walter Osborne. In 1903, Leech left Dublin for Paris, where he would fall in love with the French landscape.

After he returned to Dublin from Brittany in 1906 he was soon embraced into the artistic circle of George Russell (A.E.), Constance Gore-Booth and her husband Casimir Dunin Markievicz. He exhibited nearly seventy paintings with them in a group exhibition at the Leinster Lecture Hall in August 1907.

Leech would travel throughout Europe and eventually settled in England in 1919, with frequent visits to the South of France, to Marseilles, Grasse and Cagnes-sur-Mer. William also painted in 1920 “Portrait of Suzanne Botterell”, Percy and May's daughter. William and May maintained a friendship and, after the deaths of Saurin Elizabeth and Percy, they married in 1953. In the last years of their lives they lived in Candy Cottage, West Clandon, Surrey. Leech was well known for his illustrations of Concarneau harbour. The works of Leech feature coastal and harbour scenes, landscapes, interiors, still life and portraits.

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