ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Lord Frederic Leighton, 1830-1896
Frederic Leighton was a prominent figure in Academic art of the nineteenth century, holding the title of the President of the Royal Academy at Burlington House in London from 1878 to 1896. He studied primarily in continental Europe and developed an aesthetically-focused style inspired by classical antiquity (see Music and Perseus and Andromeda). Leighton was awarded numerous international awards during his lifetime, but he was hugely unlucky with his noble status: he died aged 65 the day after being given the title of Baron Leighton. This makes his peerage the shortest lived ever. Now that is impressive!
In 1864, Leighton began the planning and construction of his house in London, which took around thirty years to complete. I visited it just a couple of weeks ago and it really is one of the most beautiful examples of interior decoration I have ever seen. Leighton was an avid collector of both Iznik ceramics and textiles from across the Mediterranean and Middle East, and his stunning personal collection can be seen for just a small entrance fee. The peacock-blue William de Morgan tiles, William Morris wallpaper and interior floor fountain were some of my favourite features of the house. Go there if you can!