Leonard Marchant RE (October 23, 1929 – January 9, 2000) was a painter and printmaker, particularly admired as a master of the mezzotint.
During his studies at the Central School for Arts and Crafts, Marchant saw the mezzotints of Yōzō Hamaguchi, a Japanese artist then living in Paris. During this time, Marchant discovered a mezzotint rocker and rocking pole in a cupboard at the school. “No one knew how to do it any longer so I had to teach myself,” he later wrote, “it was an incredibly laborious process. What really appealed to me was the superb richness of the tone”.
Although Marchant continued to paint throughout his life, he was best known for his mezzotints. “With his mezzotints, he touched greatness… Marchant was a master, his needle scratched in the darkness; a candle, a bowl, a cup and saucer gleamed forth.” Liese Van Der Watt said that “Marchant is credited with the revival of this old craft in the (19)60s, especially in Britain.” and “the paintings show the same narrow repetition of a single class of subject, as if the artist’s concern is more with technique and medium and with the ojects that are portrayed. But something else has crept into these oils – a sense of purposeful naivety, of magic realism that reminds one vaguely and unexpectedly of the works of Frida Kahlo”.
In 1986 Marchant was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, with whom he exhibited regularly.
In 1963 Marchant joined the staff of the Central School of Arts and Crafts in the Fine Art Etching department where he stayed until 1983. In later years he travelled to other art schools including Royal, Slade, Chelsea, Morley and Winchester, to demonstrate the mezzotint process and illustrate this with his own work