The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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William Leiper, 1839-1916

Nationality: Scottish
Date of Birth: 1839.05.21
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Date of Death: 1916.05.27
Place of Death: Helensburgh


William Leiper was a Glasgow architect and watercolourist.


Leiper studied painting in Paris. He was apprenticed to the Glasgow architectural firm of Boucher and Cousland, following which he studied architecture in London under William White and John Loughborough Pearson. He began practising in Glasgow around 1865 and in this year was commissioned to design Dowanhill Church of Scotland. He became one of Glasgow's leading Gothic architects, alongside John Honeyman. He also worked in an Anglo-Japanese manner, collaborating with the decorative artist Daniel Cottier. He won a silver medal at the Paris 1900 Exhibition for his design for the Sun Insurance office, 147-51 West George Street, Glasgow, but became famous for his design of a polychromatic Italian Gothic carpet factory at Glasgow Green for the Templeton family. He designed many houses in the Helensburgh area in the Free School style of Norman Shaw. His watercolours were mainly of the west coast of Scotland.

Leiper exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, as well as at the Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and Aberdeen Artists' Society. He was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1892, becoming a full member in 1896. He was among those Glasgow painters and architects who in 1891 appended their names to a list requesting that the Corporation of Glasgow buy JW's Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) (#12326).


Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; McEwan, Peter J. M., Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture Woodbridge, 1994.