My home and studio are in Tuscany just outside Florence. My studio is in the garden olive grove, an old wooden stable with an outside trellis, Ziva, our Labrador keeps me company while working. Johnny Chocolate is horse and friend enjoying rides together. My studio is rather small, a cluttered, rather untidy place with the walls covered in old photos and postcards. This is where I create, able to look out onto the garden and surrounding hills. Each sculpture is a unique piece and takes about three weeks to a month to make. My sculpture is linear, merging the Classic and Contemporary, geometry and soft masses using the horse as subject matter to create form and shape. I have named my work “Horse Block Sculpture” which I found in 2004 by joining the figure of the horse and base together.
I was born in Lancashire, UK 1952, but grew up near Cambridge. At the age of four my grandfather gave me my pony Robin creating my life-long bond with horses. My school years were spent away from home where we were able to ride as well as study. At school I discovered my aptitude for art.
After finishing my studies I worked at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology. A year later, in 1973, I visited Italy where I have lived ever since. The beautiful Renaissance City of Florence with its museums, art and history captured my heart. I followed an Italian language course at the British Institute as well as drawing classes at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts.
For seven years I worked as a fashion model and from 1981-86 I taught English. From 1986-2000 I worked as a riding instructor. During all these different jobs and bringing up a family I drew and painted when possible, I also began to create my first small sculptures using the local Impruneta clay, watching and learning from the local artisans. In 1999 I held an exhibition at the Tornabuoni Gallery Florence and a year later in Saratoga Springs, NY. The success of both these exhibitions led me to follow my creative side and in 2000 to dedicate my time to sculpture. Never looking back I have worked and created with enthusiasm sharing my love of horses and art with many world wide.
Susan Leyland known as an artist and sculptor. She has held exhibitions in private galleries and museums in many countries and has received prestigious commissions both from private and corporate clients and collectors including the recent War Horse Memorial in Ascot UK, an equestrian monument to the memory of millions of horses, mules and donkeys of WW1.
Leyland’s work can be found in the UK, USA, Canada, Thailand, Cina, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Asia and Arab countries.
Susan is represented by Alan Kluckow Fine Art, Sunningdale Berkshire UK. Her work can be seen at the Osborne Studio Gallery, London, the Norton Way Gallery, in Germany the Kunstgalerie Bech and in Belgium , the Cafmeyer Gallery, Knokke.
She has held solo and group exhibitions in London at the Frost and Reed Gallery, the Medici Gallery, the Horsebox Gallery, at the London Heathrow Terminal 5 with works designed for the London 2012 Olympics, at Fulham Palace, Wandsworth Museum and in galleries in Oxford and Bath. In Italy, her sculptures are present at Barbara Paci Art Gallery Pietrasanta, at SensiArte Colle Val D’Elsa and in Florence at the Frilli Gallery, Fornaciai Art and in the FuoriLuogo gallery, Castelfalfi.
She has held personal exhibitions at the Marino Marini Museum in Pistoia, in the Town Hall of Pontassieve, in Asti, Naples and Lerici and part of group exhibitions with the Casa d'Arte S. Lorenzo in various Italian locations. Leyland has exhibited at Oro Arezzo, and participated in the Venice Biennale.
She has exhibited works in the USA, Saratoga Springs, NY and in Santa Monica, CA, in Sweden, in Germany, Stuttgart and in France, Toulouse, Paris and La Baule. She has participated in contemporary art fairs in Miami, Istanbul, London, Bologna and Genoa. Her latest exhibition took place in Siena , August 2020, in the Contrada della Selva.
Numerous articles and interviews have been written in contemporary art magazines, newspapers, equestrian magazines and online newspapers and magazines. She was awarded for her sculpture by the American Academy of Equine Art .
Currently she is collaborating with the Frilli Gallery on the design and construction of a life-size, five horse bronze fountain to be installed in Da Nang Vietnam.
Leyland’s sculptures are unique and original pieces, modelled in a semi-refractory artistic clay or made in bronze.