Rocky Landscape. Benjamin Williams Leader (1831-1923). 1875. Oil on canvas. H 119.4 x W 180.3 cm. Photo credit: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Museum no. 1003-1886, bequeathed by Joshua Dixon. Currently in storage. Image downloaded with permission. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Close-up of the righthand corner of the painting.

This is the same location as The Llugwy in Flood (1885), but from a slightly different standpoint. Note the greater clarity of detail in this earlier work, especially, as the title itself promises, in the rocks. The element of keen Pre-Raphaelite observation of nature is strong here.

The Victoria and Albert Museum note on this painting points out that it is "almost certainly identical" to the one exhibited at the Royal Academy that year (1875) under the title of Wild Water. The Art Journal reviewer of the exhibition said that the journal was perfectly "delighted" with it, describing it as showing "a hillstream in spate, ... dashing over a slight rocky fall with an impetuosity which the artist must have studied and seized on the spot." The reviewer added that "Mr Leader always had delicacy and refinement, what he lacked was breadth and strength; and now that he has both, let him go forward bravely, fearing nothing" (247-48). This was an endorsement and encouragement that would have gladdened any artist's heart. — Jacqueline Banerjee


Rocky Landscape. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Web. 9 September 2020.

"Royal Academy Exhibition." The Art Journal. Vol. 37 (1875): 247-52. Hathi Trust. Contributed by the University of California. Web. 9 September 2020.

Created 8 September 2020