Alfred Leyman, 1856 - 1933
The Turks Head Toll House, Honiton
The Turks Head Toll House, Honiton


pencil and watercolour
30 x 36 cm. (11.3/4 x 14 .1/4in.)


The Turks Head Toll House, now Manna House, is on the Exeter Road out of Honiton. The house was thought to have been built for the Honiton Turnpike Trust in the 19th Century in the form of a lodge house with angular front. Leyman was born in Summerland Street in Exeter in 1856 and was the son of John Francis Leyman, a seaman in the Merchant Service. He moved to Honiton in 1888 and became Art Master at Allhallows School in 1893, a post he filled for forty years until 1933. This seems an extraordinary feat based on the evidence of one pupil who said that Leyman 'had no real teaching ability and he would have been happier alone with his easel, and away from the gathering of rowdy boys'.He seldom left Devon, with the exception of short trips to West Dorset and Somerset, to places like Porlock and Lynton. He supplemented his teaching income by painting popular resorts for the visitors and we regularly see Leyman watercolours of The Guildhall in Exeter, The Butterwalk in Dartmouth, Dittisham, cottages in Clovelly and the street in Otterton.In the period Leyman was at his most prolific, Elands Art Gallery in Exeter were showcasing local artist and staged biannual exhibitions, one in April and one in August. In 1906 sixteen Leyman watercolours were shown and one still finds authentic Eland Gallery labels attached to the old backing boards of Leyman watercolours. Elands were in fact more booksellers than art dealers and the business continued until 2006 when the premises at Mol's Coffee House in Exeter were closed for the last time. I mention this because Frank and Fowler Eland, who were contemporaries of Leyman, did their bookselling apprenticeships with Messrs Bumpus & Bumpus, "the booksellers of Old London Town", and any business with a name like that surely warrants a mention.