About the centre
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Snow, Pembroke Street, Victoria, B.C., 1945 pencil and watercolour on paper 19.3 x 25.3 cm Collection: The Leighton Foundation, Calgary.
History: Part 2
Although they enjoyed the mild climate AC did not find the coast the best weather for a landscape painter. They moved back to Calgary and built another house at 35th Avenue and 4th Street, N. W., and Leighton resumed sketching in the Mountains and the Foothills.
In 1950 the Leighton’s returned to England for almost two-and-a-half years, while he rested and painted and tried to seek answers to his stomach problem he was afflicted with. They retuned to Calgary and began a new search for land. They were led to some property for sale in the Millarville area that overlooked the foothills framed by a 300 mile view of the Rocky Mountains. On June 15, 1952, AC wrote a cheque for the property on a page of his sketchbook and became the new owner. They named the property "Ballyhamage" after a small one room schoolhouse which had once been located nearby and began the construction of a new home and studio.
Valley of the Giants, Banff c. 1950 oil on canvas 45.7 x 55.9 cm Collection: The Leighton Foundation, Calgary
As the house was being constructed in stages, AC started producing paintings of the views and the surrounding area. Around 1960, after AC inherited money from the death of his father, their house was completed.
Leighton's health was rapidly deteriorating and he made has last trip to England in 1962. He was admitted to the General Hospital in Calgary in May of 1965, and soon passed away. He is buried at Millarville, Alberta, not too far from Ballyhamage. In 1971 the Glenbow Institute organized a tribute through an exhibition of a survey of Leighton's work.
Not wanting to sit around and feel sorry for herself, Barbara Leighton enrolled at ACAD, where she received a diploma in fiber and metal crafts and for two years won scholarships in Visual Arts. Barbara Leighton was already an artist in her own right as she was well known for her wood block prints rendered from A.C.’s paintings, which she signed as “Barleigh,” a combination of her christian and married surname. In 1941 she had also been elected as a member of the Canadian Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and belonged to the Alberta Society of Artists).