Benjamin Williams Leader was born in the West Midlands of England in 1831. As a young man he attended the Royal Grammar School and studied at the Worcester School of Design in the evenings. In his free time, Leader painted en plein air. In 1854, after working several years for his father, Leader decided to enroll and the Royal Academy Schools. In his first year of enrollment he had a painting displayed in the Summer Exhibition and was able to sell it. That sale marked the beginning of his lucrative artistic career. Landscape paintings comprise the bulk of Leader’s work. Early in his career, Leader incorporated bright colors and detailed brushwork into his paintings but as he aged he developed a looser, less detailed style, utilizing a darker palette. His later, more impressionistic paintings ultimately proved to be more popular. Leader split his time between his home in Worcestershire and North Wales for a good portion of his career. The countryside in North Wales is mountainous with plentiful rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. Inspired by the natural landscape, Leader created many paintings of Wales. The scene depicted here is of Capel, Curig, a small village in North Wales, in the midst of a stormy day.
-Haley Booth, Class of 2016