James Leathart


James Leathart, portrait by Ford Madox Brown

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1820
Place of Birth: Alston, Cumberland
Date of Death: 1895
Place of Death:

James Leathart, collector, was the son of a struggling mining engineer and prospector. He married Maria Hedley, daughter of a prosperous soap manufacturer and Mayor of Newcastle. At his death, they had ten surviving children. Leathart lived at 12 Framlington Place, Newcastle, and after 1869, Bracken Dene, Low Fell, Gateshead.

Bracken Dene see also here

Leathart was a Newcastle lead manufacturer and a patron of artists who included James Whistler and the Pre-Raphaelites.
Leathart had worked his way up through the firm of Locke, Blackett & Co., Newcastle, from his apprenticeship at the age of fourteen through his own studies in chemistry and metallurgy. In 1846 he was put in charge of a new plant at St. Anthony's on the Tyne and was made a partner. Five years later he was promoted to joint managing partner and at the same time became interested in collecting art.

Initially, through his position as Secretary of the Newcastle School of Art, he bought local artists and watercolours, but William
Bell Scott, head of the School, soon encouraged him to buy the Pre-Raphaelites and other contemporary artists. A large part of his collection was commissioned directly from artists. 

Despite Locke, Blackett & Co. being the largest lead-manufacturers on Tyneside, the company suffered financial losses from
foreign competition in the 1870s. Due to his own increasing financial difficulties, Leathart was forced to sell his collection in the 1890s, and he died leaving an estate of £14,924.


This is his wife Maria..painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

This is her with some of her children

A Christmas Carol At Bracken Dene (1878-1879)
By Arthur Hughes (1832-1915), oil on canvas
This portrait, depicting 11 of his 13 children

Large noses in a large house

For more pics of Brackendene House go to GatesheadLocalStudies and put Brackendene House into search bar

James Leathart Pictures brought to you by

           The Felling Heritage Group