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 William Satchwell Leney

William Satchwell Leney

Death 26 Nov 1831 (aged 62)
Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Burial Outremont, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Plot G3
Memorial ID 102328492 · View Source
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Accomplishment: William Satchwell Leney (1769-1831), a London-trained engraver, migrated to America in 1805 with a letter of introduction from Benjamin West to John Trumbull. Leney worked in New York City for thirteen years, engraving portraits, landscapes, and bank notes. He made enough money to buy a farm near Montreal and moved his family there in 1819. He spent the last twelve years of his life farming and doing some engraving. source :

In 1805 Leney emigrated to New York where he was regularly commissioned by American publishers, receiving a gold medal for his work in 1807. In 1820 Leney moved to the Montreal area where he engraved a series of views of that city and its surroundings. Provenance: New York art dealer

Shortly after the Mechanics’ Institution was formed in 1828, William Satchwell Leney donated an engraved copper plate for “striking off the cards of the Institution.” In thanks, he was made a “Member for Life.”
How and why he came to Montreal is unclear. He was born in 1769 in London and, according to Britain’s Dictionary of National Biography, became an engraver accomplished in both line and stipple while studying with Peltro William Tompkins; he engraved several of the series produced in the 1790s by John Boydell for The Shakespeare Gallery.

William Leney and his wife Sarah immigrated to New York about 1806. They had nine children. Among other commissions while in New York, he engraved small portraits of notable Americans including George Washington and John Adams. He won a gold medal for some of his works in 1807.

The Leney family arrived in Montreal in 1820, and settled on a farm at Longue Pointe on the northeastern tip of Montreal Island. William Leney engraved the first banknotes for the Bank of Montreal. He died in 1831 at age 62 and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery

His granddaughter Sarah Leney married Alexander Walker Ogilvie, who grew up on a farm near the Leneys, and as a young man joined the Ogilvie milling enterprises. Alexander Ogilvie was able to retire early, and spent many years in public service, including several years active in the Mechanics’ Institute in the 1850s.

Robert A. Sproule was elected to the MMI managing committee in 1830. He had arrived in Montreal from Ireland a few years before, and advertised himself as a miniature painter, drawing master and decorator of window blinds.

In 1830, he had completed a series of six views of Montreal, watercolours, which were engraved on copperplate by William Leney. A new edition of the prints was made in the 1880s. The six watercolours are said to make up the most handsome series published in Canada, and “show a maturity achieved in pictorial printmaking during the first half of the 19th century,” according to George Spendlove in The Early Face of Canada.

Robert Sproule and his expanding family moved to Ontario after 1834, where they lived a somewhat peripatetic existence until he died in 1845.

(Adapted from an article that originally appeared in the Westmount Independent)
source Engraver William Leney, Artist Robert Sproule - Montreal ...

16, 1769-Nov. 26, 1831), engraver, born in Lon-
don of Scotch lineage, was the son of Alexander
and Susanna Leney. As a youth he was articled
to a clever, original artist, Peltro W. Tompkins,
who held an appointment as historical engraver
to Queen Charlotte and as drawing-master to the
royal princesses. Tompkins executed consider-
able imaginative work as well as portraits of dig-
nitaries, and young Leney, well-trained in the
practice of both line and stipple engraving, “a
smooth and dextrous worker” (Weitenkampf),
followed his master into both fields. He was
engraving over his own name for London pub-
lishers when he had little more than attained his
majority. During his English career he exe-
cuted numerous portraits, magazine illustrations,
a series of small line plates portraying scenes
from stage plays for John Bell’s British Theatre
(1791-97), and six large plates after FuseH and
others, for Boydell’s Shakespeare. He also en-
graved a large plate of Rubens’ “Descent from
the Cross,” of such merit that it won him a gold
Leney was about thirty-six when, with his
wife, Sarah (White) Leney, he left England for
America, settling in New York. The directory
for 1806-07 shows him established as an histori-
cal engraver in Greenwich Street, “near the
Market.” The New York of the opening century
offered a promising field to a skilled engraver.
America, beginning to take account of its assets
in public men and natural beauty, was demand-
ing portraits of the one and scenic “views” of
the other, and developing an appetite for illus-
trated books and magazines. Leney engraved
several large plates for Collins’ Quarto Bible
(1807), executed portrait plates for Dclaplaine’s
Repository (1815) and the Analcctic Magazine,
and also a series of large plates of scenery, most-
ly in and about New York. Among his more
important portraits are Trumbull’s DeWitt Clin-
ton, Stuart’s Captain Lawrence and John Jay,
West’s Robert Fulton, Sully’s Patrick Henry,
Copley’s John Adams, and Washington after
Stuart and Houdon. His work commanded large
prices for that early day, as is shown by entries
in his account-book indicating that he received
as much as $100 to $150 for engraving an octavo
portrait. In 1812 he threw in his lot with Wil-
liam Rollinson \_q.vJ], banknote engraver, for
whom he executed portrait vignettes. Rollin-
son’s prospectus characterizes his partner as
“the first artist in America and of very respect-
able rank in life.” About 1820 Leney, with his
wife and nine children, retired to a farm on the
St. Lawrence at Longue Pointe, near Montreal,
where he passed the rest of his life. For some
years he continued to engrave, executing the
first banknotes for the Bank of Montreal and a
series of large views of Quebec and the Mon-
treal region, which are now rare. He left nu-
merous descendants in Canada.

source Dictionary of American Biography, Volume 11, Page 179 ...

Family Members






  • Created by: Nicole
  • Added: 18 Dec 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 102328492
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Satchwell Leney (16 Jan 1769–26 Nov 1831), Find A Grave Memorial no. 102328492, citing Cimetière Mont-Royal, Outremont, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Nicole (contributor 47420631) .