Michael Leonard obituary


My pal Michael Leonard, was has died aged 90, joined the company Artist Companions as a jobbing illustrator within the Fifties and was continually in demand till he determined to develop into a full-time painter within the early Seventies.

Michael was an outstanding technician and produced memorable work, together with covers for the Sunday Occasions journal with portraits of, amongst others, Paul Getty and Mick Jagger. The journal additionally commissioned him to think about how celebrities would possibly look as they aged, with outcomes that had been typically uncannily correct of their predictions.

He was stunned to be requested to color Queen Elizabeth II in 1985 and his first response was “No”. Upon reflection, he agreed, if she would settle for his phrases: no regalia, casual gown and with considered one of her canines. To his shock the Queen did agree and the ensuing image, now within the Nationwide Portrait Gallery, has develop into highly regarded. Michael resisted all subsequent makes an attempt to attract him in as a “society painter” and returned to producing the work he needed to make, till previous age and a shaking handcrafted this not attainable.

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Afternoon of the Kites, 1972 (acrylic on cotton duck), by Michael Leonard

He was born in Bangalore in India to British mother and father, Douglas, who was within the British military, and Kathleen (nee Murphy). After Douglas died of septicaemia in 1940, Kathleen married Dick Hollins, a stockbroker. Michael and his mom travelled to Britain in 1945, after the conflict in Europe had ended, so he may proceed his training at Stonyhurst Faculty in Lancashire. After his nationwide service he enrolled at St Martin’s Faculty of Artwork (now a part of Central Saint Martins), in London, in 1955 to review illustration.

In 1970 he started shifting from illustration to develop into an expert painter. I met Michael in 1980 as this new profession was turning into established. The demand for his work meant that he want solely settle for commissions that he needed to do. His Portraits in Time collection, by which he imagined mates into an ancient times, demonstrates his graphic abilities in addition to the vary of his friendships.

Like many homosexual males of his era Michael delighted within the modifications in regulation and in attitudes in direction of same-sex relationships. His tender and affectionate drawings had been utilized in Edmund White’s groundbreaking e-book The Pleasure of Homosexual Intercourse in 1977.

He’s survived by his half-brother, Brian.


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