Gwen Leitch was born in Tasmania. Thanks to a travelling scholarship she attended the Central School of Arts and Craft in London from 1954 to 1956. Here she met fellow students Patrick HERON and Roger HILTON who became life-long friends. In 1956 she took up studio residence at Patrick Heron's home in Cornwall, 'Eagles Nest'. From 1958 to 1969 she was part of the St Ives artistic community. She was part-time curator for the Penwith Arts Society and the Fore Street Gallery between 1959 and 1961, and also managed Bernard Leach's Craftsman Shop.
In 1959 Gwen Leitch married an English painter, Jeffrey Harris. Her artistic career became secondary to her role as mother and teacher. Together with her husband and children she returned to Tasmania in 1970. The following year they moved to Australia, settling in Adelaide, where she was able to resume her career, achieving considerable recognition as a painter of landscapes, seascapes and still life.
Gwen Leitch Harris died in Adelaide in 2006.
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