Though Richards is best known for his powerful seascapes of the northeastern coast, his earlier landscapes executed in the tight manner of the Pre-Raphaelites demonstrate the incredible range of his ability as well as his extraordinary attention to detail. During a brief period between 1864 and 1867, Richards created a number of small botanical drawings, which may have been studies for larger works. Leaf Study exemplifies Richards’ masterful drawing skills as well as his incredible fidelity to nature.
Richards once admitted that he had to stop working in the highly detailed Pre-Raphaelite style because the work took too long to complete and prevented him from a making a living. The Pre-Raphealite works of the 1850s and 1860s, therefore, are extremely rare and demonstrate Richards’s extraordinary technical skill. This gorgeous botanical drawing is as elegant as it fine. The subject matter, condition, and gorgeous period frame make it a collector’s treasure.