Worcestershire's leading artistic son. Leader was born Benjamin Leader Williams in Diglis in Worcester City in March 1831. His father was involved in the management of traffic on the River Severn, in those days before Great Britain developed the obsession with road transport, which has ultimately proved so mistaken. Williams senior knew and was a great admirer of John Constable, and himself was a keen amateur artist. Benjamin Leader Williams changed his name to Williams Leader, to distinguish himself from the legion of artists called Williams. He attended the Royal Grammar School in the city, and studied in the evenings at Worcester School of Design. In 1854, following a number of years working for his father ( a mistake the writer made too), he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools. During his first year at the RA Schools, Leader had a painting in the Summer Exhibition, and, more importantly, sold it. From the outset Leader's interest was in landscapes, his early work, in it's detailed painting and bright colours showing the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites. Later in his career he gradually changed to a looser, less detailed style of painting. Unusually for the time he painted out of doors, if only at the initial stages of work on his pictures. Leader was a typically industrious artist of the second half of the 19th century, a confirmed sufferer from the Victorian work ethic. He felt that his residence in Worcester made it more difficult to secure recognition by the RA. In truth he was very successful, but that success was always more marked with the public than the critics. Leader married, in 1876, Mary Eastlake a niece of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy in the mid 19th century. In 1883 he became ARA, and in 1898, at the age of sixty- seven a full Academician. In 1888 he had moved to Surrey, then a beautiful county close to London, and as a result much favoured by painters. Leader was masterly at painting winter scenes, with bare trees, and an atmosphere of bleakness, and cold the viewer can almost feel. His most famous painting of this type is February Fill-Dyke, now in Birmingham Art Gallery. In 1914 he became a Freeman of the City of Worcester. Leader exhibited three paintings at the RA in 1922, at the age of ninety-one years, an indefatigable worker to the last. Should any reader wonder why this short biography is more comprehensive than some more celebrated painters, I live near Worcester. I would like to acknowledge the debt this piece owes to the catalogue and notes of the exhibition in the City Museum & Art Gallery of Worcester, signed by Deborah Green.