Artists and Leigh
There are several artists who have come to Leigh and painted scenes – of the church and some of the buildings.
A R Quinton – Alfred Robert Quinton (1853-1934)
An English watercolour artist known for his paintings of British villages and landscapes, of which many were published as postcards which are popular with today’s collectors. His paintings have also been published in many calendars. Well over 2,000 of his paintings were published between 1904 and the time of his death. (Source: Wikipedia).
The Society has several of his postcards.
Charles Stephen Meacham (1860-1940)
Born 1860 Lichfield and died at Godstone in 1940 – the Society has a painting of Leigh Church by C S Meacham. There is a separate article about him on the website and several of his paintings are listed on various art-related websites. Charles Stephen Meacham spent almost 20 years in South Africa, where he inaugurated the, South African Society of Artists, hence the many paintings of South Africa, as well as of Scottish and English scenes of villages and countryside. When returning to the United Kingdom in 1927, he listed he proposed residence as Hildenborough, Kent. This gives a link to Leigh and the painting we have by him of Leigh Church.
Edith Hine (nee Heath) (1863-1960)
Edith Louisa Minnnie Heath, who lived at the Woods in Leigh, married the artist, William Egerton Hine, in October 1887. He was the son of Henry George Hine, also an artist and illustrator. Edith did a pastel painting of Forge Row, Leigh (late 1887/1888). As she signs the painting Edith Hine, it enables us to date the pulling down of these cottages and their replacement by Forge Square and South View, as taking place after October 1887, rather than earlier as has been previously intimated (1885 in Lawrence Biddle’s Leigh in Kent 1550-1900). This makes sense as we know that South View was not built until 1890. The view painted towards the church is probably from near the vicarage and shows the vestry cottages, the three individual buildings which made up Forge Row, and at the very end of the picture, quite indistinct, the Forge.
Edith Hine is described as an artist and sculptress in the censuses. There is a separate article about the Heath/Hine families on this website. The village was given the painting and it can now be seen in the Genner Room.
Lawrence Duncan (1836-1913)
Lawrence Duncan was the son of Edward Duncan, a landscape and marine painter. In the 1861 census, when living with his parents at St Pancras, Lawrence is descirbed as an artist and figure painter. His connection to Leigh was because he was the brother of Berthia Duncan, who in 1862 had married Charles Foster Gregory Junior, the son of Leigh’s first doctor, Charles Foster Gregory and his wife Martha of The Limes (Chilling House). Charles Junior also trained as a doctor and worked at Leigh for a while. Lawrence Duncan came to live at Upper Park Cottage (Park House) between 1864 and 1871. He did a picture of Leigh Church ca 1868 which was engraved by W Thomas, a copy of this engraving is held by the Society and is on the website. The Sales Particulars of Hall Place lists ‘Park House’ which was rented by Lawrence Duncan Esq on a lease for 21 years from 29 September 1864. He married Blanche Ellen Jane Porter and the couple lived in Leigh and their two children, Claud and Leslie Gordon Duncan were born and baptized in Leigh. In the 1867 Post Office Directory, Lawrence Duncan is listed as at Upper Park Cottage and described as an Artist. From 1871, it appears that he is no longer at Leigh and by 1881 the family is at living in Surrey.
Joyce Field (April 2020)