Leonard Appelbee

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Leonard Appelbee
Born (1914-11-13)13 November 1914
Fulham, London
Died 12 June 2000(2000-06-12) (aged 85)
Nationality British
Known for Painting, printmaking

Leonard Appelbee, (13 November 1914—12 June 2000), was an English painter and printmaker.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Appelbee was born in Fulham, the son of a coppersmith. He attended Goldsmiths College of Art from 1931 to 1934, before studying at the Royal College of Art until 1938.[2] Whilst at the RCA, Appelbee met his future wife, the artist Frances Macdonald. Appelbee served in the Army throughout World War II. Early in the war he was in charge of a mobile anti-aircraft battery before taking part in classified operations for the Special Operations Executive.[3] At the end of the war Appelbee completed two short commissions for the War Artists' Advisory Committee, one on returning former prisoners of war and the other of a scientist.[4]

After the war, Appelbee had works exhibited at the Royal Academy initially in 1947 and then on a regular basis thereafter. His first solo show was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1948. In 1951, the Arts Council commissioned large paintings from both Appelbee and Macdonald for the exhibition 60 Paintings for '51, which was part of the Festival of Britain celebrations in London. Macdonald contributed a painting of Penrhyn Quarry, entitled The Welsh Singer, whilst Appelbee produced the painting One-man Band.[5] Appelbee taught at the Bournemouth College of Art but lost his job after the College implemented the recommendations of the Coldstream Report on the future teaching of art.[3] He continued to paint and exhibit. He produced a number of fine portraits, notably for both Eton College and Corpus Christi, Cambridge,[1] but was also well known for his still-life paintings of sea creatures.[6] In 1970, Appelbee won the Silver Medal at the Paris Salon and in 1977 he had a solo show at Plymouth. After 1977, a badly broken leg inhibited him from standing at an easel to paint and he turned to picture framing and then to writing verse. A volume of his poetry, That Voice was published by the Hillside Press in 1980. In 1989 Appelbee and Macdonald moved from the West Country to Kincardine-on-Forth and then to Aberdeen, to be near their only daughter.[3]

Works by Appelbee are held in the Imperial War Museum, the Tate and several regional museums in the United Kingdom.[7]


  1. ^ a b British Council. "Leonard Appelbee (1914-2000)". British Council. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Tate. "Artist biography Leonard Appelbee (1914-2000)". Tate. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c David Buckman (24 June 2000). "Leonard Appelbee". The Herald (Scotland). Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Imperial War Museum. "War artist archive - Leonard Appelbee". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Christopher Proudlove (2011). "Forgotten artist of true genius". WriteAntiques blog. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Tate. "Display caption The King Crab (1938)". Tate. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  7. ^ BBC/Public Catalogue Foundation. "Your Paintings Leonard Appelbee". BBC/Public Catalogue Foundation. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 

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