Leonard McComb portrait painting of Charles Saumarez Smith


Leonard McComb was born in Glasgow and studied at Manchester School of Art and then at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1956 to 1959, and then did a Postgraduate in sculpture, also at the Slade, in 1960.

He went on to teach at various art schools, including Oxford Brookes University, Sir John Cass College, Slade School of Fine Art, Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths College, and in 1974 he founded the Sunningwell School of Art, Oxford.

Up until 1975 he destroyed most of his work.

Leonard McComb was elected Royal Academician in 1991 and in 1995 was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy, placing him in charge of the Royal Academy Schools until 1998.





  • 2004 Drawings, Paintings and Sculpture, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh Wolsey Art Gallery, Ipswich
  • 2001 Between Earth and Heaven, Museum of Modern Art, Ostende
  • 2000 Leonard McComb Portraits, New York Studio School Gallery
  • 1997 The Pursuit of Painting, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
  • 1993 Leonard McComb Drawings and Painting
    Browse and Darby, London
    The Sussex Scene, Hove Museum and Art Gallery,
    Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
  • 1992 The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London
    New Works on Paper, Gillian Jason Gallery at the Business Design Centre, Islington
  • 1991 Cabinet Paintings, Gillian Jason Gallery, London
  • 1990 Images of Paradise, Christies, London

Public Collections:

  • Arts Council
  • Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford
  • Birmingham City Art Gallery
  • British Council
  • British Museum
  • Cambridge University
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Swindon Art Gallery
  • Tate Gallery
  • Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
  • Ulster Museum
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Art Galleries of Worcester and Belfast
  • Leicester City Gallery


  • Royal Academy’s Jubilee Award (1977)
  • Korn Ferry Award (1990)
  • Times Watercolour Prize (1992 and 1993)
  • Nordstern Print Prize (1997); and the RWS Prize (1998)
  • Elected a Royal Academician (1991)

McComb has received many major commissions for private and corporate collections throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.

In 1999 he completed a commissioned portrait of the novelist Doris Lessing for the National Portrait Gallery, London. The following year he was selected by the Vatican to design a Jubilee Medal, featuring Pope John Paul II and the late Archbishop Basil Hume, for the worldwide series to commemorate the Millennium.