Thanks to a generous donation from Old Girl Melanie Munk née Bosanquet (OG 1960-1965) we have been able to engage a specialist conservator to clean and restore our magnificent John Collier portrait of Leonard Huxley (1860-1933).Leonard Huxley portrait conservation
Leonard Huxley was the husband of Prior’s Field’s founder, Mrs Julia Huxley. He worked very closely with Julia when she established the school, and remained involved as a director for many years following her death in 1908. Leonard’s second wife, Rosalind, also became a director. She commissioned the painting and bequeathed it to Prior’s Field in 1994. John Collier (1850-1934), one of the most important portrait artists of his time, was also a member of the Huxley family. He married Leonard’s sister Marian in 1879 and, following her death, his youngest sister, Ethel, became Collier’s second wife in 1889. His daughter Joan was one of Prior’s Field’s first pupils.The conservation work was carried out by Sally Marriott at the Watts Gallery
in Compton. The gallery’s proximity to the school provided a unique learning opportunity for a keen group of PF History of Art scholars, who were able to visit Sally in her workshop, and observe a real specialist in action.
The portrait now hangs pride of place above the Oak Hall stairs, with Leonard looking resplendent in his red St. Andrew’s robes, which are now particularly vibrant following the restoration.