Sir Frederic Lord Leighton (1830-1896) was an English painter and sculptor. The son of a doctor, Leighton studied under various teachers in Florence and Rome. His career was launched in 1855 when his first Royal Academy painting, "Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence" was bought by Queen Victoria. In the 1860's, his work moved from medieval and biblical subjects to classical themes. By the end of his career, Leighton was a highly esteemed Victorian painter, and was given the rank of baron.

Leighton was born in Scarborough to a family in the import and export business. He was educated at University College School, London. He then received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Eduard Von Steinle and then from Giovanni Costa. When in Florence, aged 24, where he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, he painted the procession of the Cimabue Madonna through the Borgo Allegri. He lived in Paris from 1855 to 1859, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot and Millet.

In 1860, he moved to London, where he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. He designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb for Robert Browning in the English Cemetery, Florence in 1861. In 1864 he became an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1878 he became its President (1878–96). His 1877 sculpture, "Athlete Wrestling with a Python", was considered at its time to inaugurate a renaissance in contemporary British sculpture, referred to as the New Sculpture. His paintings represented Britain at the great 1900 Paris Exhibition.

Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a Baronet, of Holland Park Road in the Parish of St Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the County of Middlesex, eight years later. He was the first painter to be given a peerage, in the New Year Honours List of 1896. The patent creating him Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire, was issued on 24 January 1896; Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris. As he was unmarried, after his death his Barony was extinguished after existing for only a day; this is a record in the Peerage. His house in Holland Park, London has been turned into a museum, the Leighton House Museum. It contains a number of his drawings and paintings, as well as some of his sculptures.


"The Music Lesson" (1891)



"Flaming June" (1895) Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico.



"Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence" (1853-55) Oil on canvas, 222 x 521 cm - 87.4 x 205.1 in. Leighton House Museum, London, UK.



"Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence (detail)"



"Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence (detail)"



"Icarus and Daedalus" (circa 1869) Oil on canvas, 138.2 × 106.5 cm - 54.41 × 41.93 in. Private collection.



"The Garden of the Hesperides" (circa 1892) Oil on canvas, 169 x 169 cm - 66.5 x 66.5 in. Lady Lever Art Gallery, Merseyside, UK.



"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it" (1891-92) Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery, London, UK.



"Perseus on Pegasus Hastening to the Rescue of Andromeda" (circa 1895-96)



"Self­portrait" (1880) Oil on canvas, 64 x 76.5 cm -25.2 x 30.12 in. Private collection.



"A Roman Lady" (1858-59) Oil on canvas, 52 x 80 cm - 20.47 x 31.5 in. Private collection.



"The Painters Honey-moon" (1864)

Text source: 'Wikipedia' ( and others.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Classicism, Realism, Pre-Raphaelites.


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