Tributes paid to beloved artist Gladys Leach

Tributes have been paid to one of Cork’s best loved artists, Gladys Leach, after she passed away over the weekend.

Tributes paid to beloved artist Gladys Leach

Ms Leach, who was 97 and whose married name was Gladys Hyde, was long celebrated for her drawings of many of Cork City’s finest buildings, with her work having been displayed at the Cork City Library, the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, and the Cork Arts Society, among others.

Ms Leach was also a regular contributor to the Irish Examiner over the years.

She died peacefully on Saturday night in the presence of her family after a short illness.

Peter Murray, the director of the Crawford Gallery, said Ms Leach was a “quiet and undemonstrative” person whose artistic talent was undeniable.

“Gladys Leach was a really wonderful person — she was very gracious and her work reflected that,” he said.

“She did evoke a gracious past [in her drawings].”

Mr Murray said Ms Leach tended to focus on 18th and 19th-century buildings, with Fota House and Blackrock Castle among those to feature. She also drew many buildings in Dublin and urban landscapes, as well as locations in Kerry. In the late 1960s, she began painting in oils.

As a teenager, she had been a pagette at the Savoy Cinema, where she began her commercial art career doing the graphics and illustrations on the projected slides while still maintaining her position as head cashier.

She trained in Cork’s school of art and set up a graphics business on St Patrick’s Street. While there, she designed the world-famous Cork Dry Gin label.

She married John Hyde, of Cork Distillers, and raised seven children.

Ms Leach also produced a special leather-bound book of drawings of Cork for the city’s 800th anniversary of its charter.

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