Leonard was a sought-after portrait artist in the 1950s, working from his gallery on Lambton Quay. Notable sitters included Sir Walter Nash, Dame Ngaio Marsh, Guide Rangi, James Chapman-Taylor, Peter McIntyre, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bennett, Reverend Kingi Matutaera Ihaka and Eric Ramsden.

Dame Ngaio Marsh in her Christchurch Home in Cashmere Hills

Oil on canvas, 182cm x 137cm, signed Mitchell, 1956, Ryman Healthcare Collection

Dame Ngaio Marsh was an internationally recognised crime writer, as well as a theatre and art lover. She was born in Christchurch in 1895 and died there in 1982. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966. Len painted her in her Christchurch home.

James Chapman-Taylor

Oil on canvas, 102cm x 72cm, signed Leonard Mitchell, 1958

Portrait of James Chapman-Taylor Architect & Photographer, aged 80. Chapman-Taylor was born in London in 1878 and died in Lower Hutt in 1958. He was well known for his domestic architecture and was a proponent of the English Arts and Crafts movement.

Guide Rangi of Rotorua

Oil on board, 85cm x 63cm, signed Leonard Mitchell, dated 1958 (on reverse)

Better known as Guide Rangi, Rangitiaria Dennan was a tremendous cultural ambassador who guided visitors through the thermal area of Whakarewarewa, Rotorua. This portrait is available for sale.

Cedric Savage

Oil on canvas, 96cm x 76cm, signed Leonard Mitchell, 1958

Cedric Savage, born in New Zealand in 1901, was a friend of Len’s and a painter who studied at the Canterbury College School of Art and later in Sydney. While this portrait is by Len, uniquely the background was painted by Cedric. Savage lived and painted in Spain and Greece, returning every two years or so to have exhibitions and replenish funds before heading back overseas. He continued this until his health started failing. He died in 1969. This portrait is available for sale.

Patricia Nickalls with Flute (NZ National Orchestra)

Oil on canvas, 112cm x 90cm, signed Leonard Mitchell, 1954, Mitchell Family collection

Portrait of Len’s fiancé and future wife Patricia Marian Nickalls who was a flautist with the National Orchestra. The couple were married in February 1960 and emigrated to England the same year with Len’s youngest brother Frank. After Len’s death in 1980 Pat returned to New Zealand with the help of Frank and his wife Madeleine. They brought with them Len’s large catalogue of works and this portrait always held pride of place in Pat’s home.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Bennett DSO MA

Oil on canvas, 101cm x 80cm, signed Leonard Mitchell, 1956, National Collection of War Art, Archives New Zealand

Charles Moihi Te Arawaka Bennett was a Commander of the Maori Battalion in World War II. Len’s portrait of Bennett is part of Archives New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art held in Wellington. See record here.

The Art Critic, Portrait of Mr. Eric Oakes Ramsden 'ER'

Oil on board, 100cm x 81cm, signed Leonard Victor Mitchell, 1972

 Eric Oakes Ramsden was an art critic, writer and journalist for Wellington’s The Evening Post. He was a friend of Len’s and a great fan of his work, which he continued to promote after Len had left New Zealand. This portrait was completed in England in 1972 and exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1974 and 1979. This portrait is available for sale.

Dame Laura Knight

Oil on canvas, 90cm x 150cm, signed Leonard Victor Mitchell, 1970

Dame Laura Knight was a respected British painter who influenced a number of New Zealand artists. Len was eventually able to meet her in 1967 and they became friends, sharing their love for traditional painting, naturalism and solid draughtsmanship.

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