Alfred Crocker Leighton

Canadian [1901-1956]

Alberta Society of Artists, Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours, Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

Alfred Crocker Leighton was born in Hastings, Sussex, on October 27, 1901. At a young age AC Leighton showed an aptitude for drawing but he went on to study architecture rather than art, as his father wished, at the Bradssey Institute, Hasting’s Municipal School of Art.

In 1917 AC Leighton enlisted illegally in the Royal Flying Corps, where he was underage. In 1918 during a training flight, his airplane crashed after hitting some power lines and he sustained injuries that would plague him for the rest of his life.

In 1924, AC Leighton and a partner constructed a working scale model of the port of Liverpool. This model so impressed the executives of the Canadian Pacific Company that they employed Leighton full-time for public relations ventures. Leignton was introduced to the Canadian Rockies.

In 1924, AC made his first visit to Canada as an employee of Canadian Pacific. Leighton would board the train in Banff, often jumping off to sketch the scenery and later waiting at the exit of the Spiral Tunnel, in Kicking Horse Pass near Cathedral Mountain, for the next train to pick him up. Canadian Pacific had first choice of these paintings, with the remainder going to AC. All of the Canadian Pacific paintings from this period were destroyed during the London bombing raids in WWII.

Now a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists, AC Leighton’s next trip to Canada was in 1927 where an exhibition of his work was shown at the Banff Springs Hotel and the Calgary Public Library. In 1929 Leighton returned to Canada to continue sketching in the Rockies. This time his work was exhibited through the T. Eaton Co. in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

In 1929 AC Leighton accepted the position of the Art Director at the Art Institute of Calgary.

In 1930 AC Leighton met Barbara Mary Harvey, a student in one of his classes. They were married in Calgary in 1931 and their honeymoon was spent packing into the Kananaskis area to paint. In 1931, AC Leighton formed the Alberta Society of Artists and was the first president. That year also saw the Edmonton Museum of Art hold a joint exhibition of works by AC Leighton and WJ Phillips.

Throughout the 1930’s AC Leighton spent his time between teaching and exhibitions. In 1932 he taught the Summer Art School at the University of Alberta and in 1933 he initiated a summer art school near Banff. By 1935 this led to the establishment of the now famous Banff School of Fine Arts. In 1935 AC’s work was exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery and by the end of his term in 1936 AC Leighton was exhausted. AC and Barbara decided to take a trip to England for a rest. In 1938 AC resigned from his position at the Art Institute.

In 1941 the Leighton’s moved to British Columbia and although they enjoyed the mild climate AC did not find the Coast to have the best weather for a landscape painter. They moved back to Calgary and Leighton resumed sketching in the Mountains and the Foothills.

In 1950 the Leighton’s returned to England for 2 1/2 years. When they retuned to Calgary they began a search for land. They were led to some property for sale in the Millarville area, overlooking the foothills, framed by a 300 mile view of the Rocky Mountains. In 1952, AC purchased the property that is now the site of The Leighton Centre. While the house was constructed in stages, AC started producing paintings of the views and the surrounding area. The house was completed in 1960.

AC Leighton's health was rapidly deteriorating and he made has last trip to England in 1962. He was admitted to the General Hospital in Calgary in May of 1965, and soon passed away. He is buried at Millarville, Alberta. In 1971 the Glenbow Museum organized a tribute to AC Leighton through an exhibition and survey of his work.

We are currently seeking works by Alfred Crocker Leighton to be included in future auctions.

If you are interested in selling with us or wish to get our opinion of the value of your artworks please contact us for an appointment to evaluate your artwork for auction.

A Few Notable Results from our Auctions

Alfred Crocker Leighton

UP HIGH
oil on canvas
24 x 30 in.

Sold for $ 17,000 (hammer price) - February 2009

Alfred Crocker Leighton

MOUNTAINS
oil on canvas
22 x 24 in.

Sold for $ 6,500 (hammer price) - May 2011

Alfred Crocker Leighton

FLOE LAKE, NEAR MARBLE CANYON; c. 1944
watercolour on paper
14.5 x 19 ins.

Sold for $ 6,250 (hammer price) - May 2006

Alfred Crocker Leighton

MT. ASSINIBOINE; ca 1948
oil on canvas
16 x 20 in.

Sold for $ 6,000 (hammer price) – November 2011

Alfred Crocker Leighton

STORM IN THE MOUNTAINS; ca 1940
oil on canvas
18.25 x 22.25 in.

Sold for $ 5,000 (hammer price) – November 2015

Alfred Crocker Leighton

SAWBACK RANGE; 1934
oil on canvas
24.5 x 30.5 in.

Sold for $ 5,000 (hammer price) – May 2016

Alfred Crocker Leighton

FLOE LAKE
oil on canvas
24.5 x 32.5 in.

Sold for $ 5,000 (hammer price) – May 2016

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