William Robinson Leigh

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The Roping, 1914 oil on canvas, signed W. R. Leigh

William Robinson Leigh (September 23, 1866 – March 11, 1955) was an American artist who specialized in Western scenes.

He was born at Maidstone Manor Farm, Berkeley County, West Virginia. He entered the Maryland Institute at age 14, then attended the Royal Academy in Munich. He returned to the United States after twelve years abroad and worked painting cycloramas and as a magazine illustrator. He married twice, and fathered William Colston Leigh, Sr. (1901–1992).[1][2]

In 1906, Leigh traveled to the American West and maintained a studio in New York City. In 1926 he travelled to Africa at the invitation of Carl Akeley for the American Museum of Natural History, and from this experience wrote and illustrated Frontiers of Enchantment: An Artist's Adventures in Africa.[3] In 1933, he wrote and illustrated The Western Pony. His adventures were chronicled in a number of popular magazines including Life, the Saturday Evening Post, and Colliers.[1] He is known for painting the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park, but his primary interest were the Hopi and Navajo Indians. In 1953 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1955.

Leigh also made astrobiological art for the March 1908 issue of Cosmopolitan, with four full-page illustrations of an article written by H. G. Wells, "The Things that Live on Mars", which speculated about Martian life.[4][5] Science fiction writer Edmond Hamilton, born October 1904, described looking and re-looking at the issue as a defining experience in his life. "I wasn't yet able to read it, to read the article, but those pictures!"[6]

After his death, Leigh's New York studio was given to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Don C. Wood. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Maidstone Manor Farm" (PDF). State of West Virginia, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  2. ^ Descendants of Ferdinando Leigh, Dick Purser, undated
  3. ^ William R. Leigh (1938). Frontiers of Enchantment. Simon and Schuster. 
  4. ^ "Science Fiction Illustration: An Artist's View of Life on Mars". Illustration Art Solutions (illustration-art-solutions.com). Copyright 2010, 2014. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
      About Us: "Illustration Art Solutions is primarily an informational site relating to images from the Golden Age of Illustration."
  5. ^ "The Things That Live on Mars". By H. G. Wells. Illustrated by William R. Leigh. Cosmopolitan Magazine XLIV:4 (March 1908). Pages 334–42.
      Page 334, the first of Leigh's four full-page illustrations, is the frontispiece of the issue. Front cover evidently by another artist. Digital copy (from p. 334) at HathiTrust Digital Library (hdl.handle.net). Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  6. ^ Tangent Online Presents: An Interview with Leigh Brackett & Edmond Hamilton. Conducted by Dave Truesdale and Paul McGuire III. April 16–18, 1976. Tangent (tangentonline.com). Reprint from Tangent No. 5 (Summer 1976), probably with later thumbnail images. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  • Leigh, William Robinson, Autobiography, (MSS SC 171), L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

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