George Dunlop Leslie

G. D. Leslie stated that his aim in art 'has always been to paint pictures from the sunny side of English domestic life', and this seems a fair summary of his work. Typical are nice interiors with nice people, as in Les Femmes Savants (Victoria and Albert Museum), and single figures such as Tea (1894), showing a pretty serving maid. He was the son of the painter C. R. Leslie, and was born in London, studying in Bloomsbury at Cary's art school, then at the Royal Academy. He exhibited there in every year from 1859, becoming ARA in 1868 and RA in 1876. He was supported and helped by Edwin Landseer, and friends with the highly-regarded illustrator Frederick Walker, and with the bird-painter H. S. Marks. His views appear to have been somewhat conservative, as he was against such things as female students at the RA, and accused Lord Leighton (PRA) of diluting the British character of the Academy.

George Dunlop Leslie RA (London 2 July 1835 – 21 Feb. 1921); English genre painter, author and illustrator.

Leslie was born into an artistic family, his father was the notable genre painter Charles Robert Leslie RA, and his uncle Robert Leslie was a marine artist. He studied art first at Cary's Art Academy, then from 1854 at the Royal Academy. His first exhibition at the Academy was in 1859, and he showed his work every year thereafter. He became an Associate (ARA) in 1868 and a full Royal Academician (RA) in 1876.

...His early works, such as Matilda showed the strong influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, but he settled into a more academic, aesthetic, style of painting with the aim of showing "pictures from the sunny side of English domestic life.... One of his pictures, This is the Way we Wash our Clothes was used as a poster in an advertising campaign for soap. Despite its apparently trivial subject matter, however, Leslie's work was highly regarded by critics of the time.
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Suzan Hamer


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