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Interesting Facts About Artist Clare Leighton

Interesting Facts About Artist Clare Leighton

Interesting Facts About The American Artist Clare Leighton

Here at Arnett Vintage Co we come across some really exciting pieces of artwork, and this week a beautiful hand signed woodcut print by Clare Leighton has just come into stock. The limited edition print is titled ‘WESSEX‘, showing a small hamlet village with surrounding woodland, it really is a unique piece.

As always when we are introduced to a new artist, we do hours of research on Google to ensure we have a good handle on their work, style and values, and we thought we’d bring you some of the interesting facts we know about the artist Clare Leighton.

She had two names:

Clara Ellaline Hope Leighton, and Clare Veronica Hope Leighton. Her artwork is often signed simply ‘Clare Leighton’.

English American Artist:

Born In London, 12th April 1898, she emigrated to the USA in 1939 and lived in Baltimore. Her final resting place was Waterbury, Connecticut, United States. She sadly passed away on 4th November 1989, and her ashes are in a cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut.

For A Time She Lived In Her Siblings Shadow:

Roland, her older brother, was her Mothers favourite (people with siblings will know!), and the family’s rather callous nickname for Clare was “the bystander. Her efforts in painting however were soon encouraged by her parents and her uncle Jack Leighton, who himself was an artist and illustrator.

Art Studies:

Clare began her art studies at Brighton College of Art and later trained at Slade School of Fine Art in 1921-1934. She then went onto the Central School of Arts and Crafts where she studied (which she was soon to be famed for) wood engraving.

She Travelled: 

Once Clare finished her studies she took some time to travel through Europe, stopping in France, Italy and the Balkans. She sketched beautiful landscapes and also lower-class workers, developing an interest for portraying rural life. A lot of her stunning woodcut prints feature farm workers and labourers.

The USA Became Her Home:

Clare first fell in love with the United States on her lecture tours, and eventually moved there in 1939, further becoming a citizen in 1945. She became a member of  the Department of Art, Music and Aesthetics in 1943 to 1945, and in 1949 she became a full member of the  National Academy of Design.

The First Woman:

She became the first woman to ever produce a book on the art of wood engraving, which was called ‘Wood-Engraving and Woodcuts, 1932’.

Her Specialised Subject:

Over her long career Clare produced work for both sides of the pond. In 1938 she produced a poster design for London Transport promoting weekend strolls around the countryside, and in 1950 she produced designs for Steuben Glass, Wedgwood plates, and for several stained glass church windows in New England, as well as some for the transept windows of Worcester Cathedral.

Best Known Books:

Her best known publications include ‘The Farmer’s Year’ (1933; a calendar of English husbandry), ‘Four Hedges – A Gardener’s Chronicle’ (1935; The development of a garden from a meadow she had bought in the Chilterns) and ‘Tempestuous Petticoat; The story of an Invincible Edwardian’ (1948; describing her childhood and her bohemian mother). Autobiographical text and illustrations are available in Clare Leighton: The growth and shaping of an artist-writer, published 2009. (Credit Wikipedia).

She had two brothers:

Roland Leighton was the eldest, and was sadly killed whilst serving in December 1915. The younger Evelyn, a Royal Navy Officer, received an OBE in 1942.

Take a look at the stunning signed Clare Leighton print we have in stock:


If you would like to share some more facts about Clare Leighton, we’d love to hear from you, please feel free to comment in the comments section.


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