Friends Fill the Gap
2 April 2017
The Friends of RAMM have added miniature by the renowned 19th-century Exeter miniaturist, James Leakey (1775-1865), to the city’s Fine Art collection.
The collection includes his drawings, portraits and landscapes but no miniatures; a significant gap for an artist whose reputation as a miniaturist extended beyond the borders of his Devonshire home. Research that revealed the gap was prompted by an enquiry by his descendants.
Cllr Rosie Denham, lead councillor for Economy said “This a great addition to the city’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century miniatures by local artists, like Richard Cosway and Richard Crosse, and miniatures of local dignitaries by renowned artists like Jeremiah Meyer. James Leakey’s work is particularly interesting as he used oil paint instead of the usual gouache or watercolour. The miniatures are currently being assessed and, if their conservation needs can be met, they will be included in an exhibition in 2019.”
The Friends’ chair, Alan Caig, said, “One of the Friends’ purposes is to support new acquisitions like this – we can move quickly to provide funds, and often we prime the pump so that national funders can come in and assist RAMM. We are delighted to assist with the Leakey purchase, as it is the latest in a long line of objects with a very strong Devon connection, something which appeals to our membership all across the county.”
Son of an Exeter wool-stapler, James Leakey worked as a portrait and landscape artist, mostly in Exeter but also for a period in London and Bath. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1821-46 before later retiring to become a Calvinist preacher.
The newly-purchased miniature depicts Charlotte Trevanion. Born in Charlotte Hosier in 1783, she was 18 years old when she married John Trevanion Purnell Bettesworth-Trevanion. They spent their married life at Caerhays castle in Cornwall which her husband updated to reflect the fashion for the Gothic style between 1807 and 1810. Charlotte was to have 5 children over a 7 years. Unfortunately, she died in 1810 at just 27 years of age. Following her death her husband ran up considerable debts and fled to Paris.
Friends of RAMM
Friends of Exeter Museums & Art Gallery (registered charity 306649) is an independent membership organisation which supports RAMM with financial help towards acquisitions and conservation. Friends enjoy benefits including a newsletter, invitations to private views, social functions, outings and lectures: www.exeter.gov.uk/friends, E [email protected]
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