Lord Frederic Leighton
Painter and Sculptor

 
Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton (3 December 183025 January 1896) was an English painter and sculptor. His works depicted historical, biblical and classical subject matter, painted for Victorian sensibilities.

Leighton was born in Scarborough. He was educated at University College School London. He received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Edward 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, 1861. In 1864 he became an associate of the Royal Academy and in 1878 he became its president.

 


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Music - Athenaeum
Leighton was knighted at Windsor in 1878, and was created a baronet 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 Salop, was issued on 24 January 1896; Leighton died the next day of angina pectoris. As he was unmarried his Barony was extinguished after existing for only a day; this is an all-time 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.

 


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His work includes:
  • Death of Brunelleschi (1852), oil on canvas
  • Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence (1853-5), oil on canvas. This was his first major work and was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Queen Victoria was so taken with it that she bought it for 600 guineas on the opening day of the exhibition.
  • The Discovery of Juliet Apparently Lifeless (c.1858)
  • The Villa Malta, Rome (1860s), oil on canvas
  • Actaea, the Nymph of the Shore (1868), oil on canvas
  • Hercules Wrestling with Death for the Body of Alcestis (1869-71)
  • An Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1877), bronze sculpture
  • Flaming June (1895), oil on canvas
  • 'The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Fresco)'

 

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