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Scott Leighton

 (1849 - 1898)
Scott (Nicholas Winfield) Leighton was active/lived in Maine, Massachusetts.  Scott Leighton is known for horse racing, barnyard and landscape scene painting.

Scott Leighton

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Biography from the Archives of askART

The following information is by Jack and Mary E. (Leighton) Proebstle, who are writing a Leighton family genealogy:

(NATHANIEL WINFIELD) SCOTT LEIGHTON, descendant of Thomas Leighton of Dover, N.H. [1604-1672], is the fourth of five children of Nicholas and Deborah M. (Whitney) Leighton.

Scott was born 28 Aug. 1847, died Waverly MA 8 Jan. 1898, 50y (GS); married Portland 28 Nov. 1870 SADIE L. WYMAN. No ch. (They also had a church wedding 1 Jan. 1871.) His obituary in the New York Times 19 Jan. 1898 called him the "Landseer of the United States." They are buried in the Universalist Churchyard, Falmouth, ME.

Scott got his start in horse-trading at 14, and by the age of 17 had saved enough to set up in Portland as a painter, and to study under Harrison Bird Brown.  Although he did landscapes, he was famed for paintings of horses.  They are in many museum collections, and command high auction prices. Works include Lamartine and Barn Yard Altercation.

From 1880 on, he had a studio at Boston, and lived at Revere House, rendezvous for horse owners and trainers.  His lithographs for Currier and Ives had wide popular appeal.

See Sherwood E. Bains biographical article in Antiques, March, 1979, 544ff.

Biography from Karen L. North, Private Art Dealer
Although American artist Nicholas Winfield Scott Leighton is best known for his paintings of horses, horse racing and barnyard scenes, Scott Leighton was also an accomplished landscape artist.

At the age of 17, Scott Leighton moved to Portland, Maine, and received his early artistic training under Harrison Bird Brown (1831-1915).  In 1880, Leighton moved to Boston to set up a studio of his own.  He continued to be involved with horses and their trainers and produced many lithographs for Currier and Ives.  Some of his paintings that were reproduced in prints included: On the Road, In the Stable, Three Veterans, and The Fearnaught Stallions.

The artist exhibited his work at the Boston Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design.  Leighton's talent and skill as an artist was so great, he was often complimented as the "Landseer of the United States."  This was a direct reference to British artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, RA (1802-1873), an acclaimed nineteenth-century artist who specialized in animal paintings.

Unfortunately, Leighton met with a sad and tragic end. According to a New York Times article published on January 4, 1898:

"Scott Leighton, the well-known artist, was committed to the McLean Insane Asylum to-day…Mr. Leighton's condition was certified to by Dr. George F. Jelly, the expert on mental diseases."

The article continues to relate the event by stating:

"Mr. Leighton's delusion is that he is possessed of millions, and wants to build a great theatre.  He also planned a big banquet for Sunday night, at which all his friends were to be present…As the time for dinner approached…Mr. Leighton put on his dress suit and paraded up and down the corridor of the Revere House awaiting the arrival of his guests.  Then he fell to singing negro songs.  The hotel rang with the notes of his powerful voice, which years ago was trained for choir singing.  To Dr. Jelly, who examined him, [Leighton] said: "If I go to the McLean Asylum for treatment, Doctor, will it hurt my business or reputation when I leave it?" "Not in the least," replied Dr. Jelly. "All right, I'll go"' the artist answered at once."

Scott Leighton passed away on the morning of January 18, 1898 from complications of pneumonia.

Biography from Cotai Fine Art
As a young man, Scott Leighton raised and traded horses to support his art studies, and by 1880 he moved from his hometown of Portland, Maine, to Boston, where he opened a studio.  During the 1880s, Leighton achieved fame as a painter of racehorses when Currier & Ives reproduced 30 of his works as lithographs.

Although he is best known for his horse paintings, he also produced barnyard scenes showing a variety of animals.  Leighton exhibited his works at the Boston Art Club, the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

His works are housed in prestigious private and public collections including the Addison Gallery of American Art, MA; the Clark Art Institute, MA; the Phoenix Art Museum, the Portland Museum of Art, ME; and the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

Submitted October 2005 by James Halperin Co-Chairman Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers, Dallas, Texas

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About  Scott Leighton

Born:  1849 - Auburn, Maine
Died:   1898 - Waverly, Massachusettes
Known for:  horse racing, barnyard and landscape scene painting