Members of the Bull Book Club (est. 1784). Barnett Leach III is the white-haired gentleman on the left-hand side. The Club lent over 2,000 books to its members, and met weekly at the Bull Hotel, now part of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge.
The painting skills of Richard Hopkins Leach, the father of Frederick Leach, are beautifully on show in this portrait he painted of his family in 1848. At the front his youngest son John holds the family cat. His wife Isa is sitting on the left clutching the journal that Richard wrote about a walking journey he made in his youth from London to Cornwall, while working as a jobbing artist. Isabella, Richard’s daughter, embroiders by her mother’s side. Young Frederick stands over his artist’s tools, staring into the distance, the only member of the family not looking at the viewer. Barnett, the eldest son, stands proud behind his father who sits holding his snuffbox in his hand.
But this is not a self-portrait by Richard, as his image in the portrait was apparently painted by Barnett. Which shows that artistic talent ran through the whole family.