Discovering Art – Frederick Leighton

Our presentation on March 2nd was given by Jayne and Cheryll  where they described their visit to Leighton House Museum in Kensington, the former home of Frederick Leighton. The Museum was showing together for only the second time the five works that Leighton submitted to the RA exhibition in 1895.

Leighton's arguably most famous work, Flaming June was shown beside the other works submitted by Leighton to the Academy that year, all of which were memorably captured and photographed on easels in Leighton’s studio immediately prior to being sent to the Academy in 1895. They make a fascinating and revealing group, representative of themes and subjects that had informed Leighton’s work over the preceding decades. The Maid with Golden Hair, Twixt Hope and Fear and Candida are on loan from private collections with Lachrymae coming from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The museum website has more details of the exhibition group plus other examples of his work.

A website dedicated to Leighton can be found here

Lord Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), was one of the most famous British artists of the nineteenth century. The recipient of many national and international awards and honours, he was well acquainted with members of the royal family and with most of the great artists, writers and politicians of the late Victorian era.

He was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire to a medical family. His father was a doctor, and his grandfather had been the primary physician to the Russian royal family in St. Petersburg, where he amassed a large fortune. Leighton's career was always cushioned by this family wealth, his father paying him an allowance throughout his life. Leighton's parents were worried about his choice of career as he wrote in a letter of 1879, "My parents surrounded me with every facility to learn drawing, but, strongly discountenanced the idea of my being an artist unless I could be eminent in art".

Video Presentation on Flaming June

The pictures discussed in the meeting are below.