Maria Hedley, the daughter of a prosperous soap manufacturer and Mayor of Newcastle, married the Newcastle lead manufacturer and collector James Leathart, the son of a mining engineer and prospector. They had ten surviving children. The Leatharts lived at 12 Framlington Place, Newcastle, and after 1869 at Bracken Dene, Low Fell, Gateshead.
When her husband suffered ill health in 1892, Mrs Leathart was in contact with JW concerning the lending of Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks (YMSM 47) for exhibition in London at the Goupil Gallery and also in Paris.
Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; Macleod, Dianne Sachko, Art and the Victorian Middle Class: Money and the Making of Cultural Identity, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 440-41