Noel Harry Leaver A.R.C.A. (1889-1951) Watercolour. Signed.

 

When Leaver paints the Magreb you can see that the artist found a true affinity with these lands.  It is plain that this is his lifetime’s artistic inspiration.  It is not all Orientalist exoticism, as with many of his contemporary artists, but true affinity and touching engagement.  This scene sings with colour, balance and throbs with light.

 

His work is often characterised by its hot blue skies contrasted against shadowy buildings.  Leaver has a startling ability to convey the latent heat of the day through the medium of watercolour, with intense colour and light.  He displays his understanding and love of architecture, whilst also representing the human form with sensitivity. These works are not merely ‘street scenes’ but form a perfect narrative of human existence within its architectural environment and both wrapped round by the natural climate and light of the near-desert.


Born 23rd March 1889 at Austwick, Yorkshire, Leaver was the son of a schoolmaster.  He studied at Burnley School of Art and was the youngest ever student, aged 16 years, to study at the Royal College of Art, London.  He received his diploma in design in 1909, art diploma in 1910, a travelling scholarship in 1911 and full Associateship aged 21.  Noel Harry Leaver then travelled widely in Morocco and the Maghreb.  These travels gave the inspiration for the works for which he is now most famed. It is these watercolours of Algeria, Cairo and Morocco which are most highly praised, sought-after and collected today.

 Having travelled in France, Holland, Italy, Algeria and Morocco, Leaver returned to teach at Halifax Technical College 1912-1915 and took-up watercolour painting in 1918.  He was exhibited at many galleries at home and abroad.  Leaver lived in Burnley for many years and died on 24th July 1951.

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