George Frederic Watts, R.A. 1817 - 1904
Portrait of Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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Portrait of Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A, 1888
Oil on canvas, 1150 X 880 X 15 mm
Given by George Frederic Watts, R.A.,
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Frederic Leighton trained in Berlin, Florence and Paris before settling in London in 1858. He became President of the Royal Academy twenty years later. In this portrait Leighton is depicted wearing his Doctor of Civil Law robes, an honour he was awarded from Oxford University in 1879, and his Royal Academy Presidential Medal. Behind him are his easel and brushes as well as a glimpse of his sculpture 'An Athlete struggling with a Python'. A full size model for this sculpture is at the Royal Academy.

Watts and Leighton met in 1855 and became life-long friends. In 1866 Leighton built a studio-home close to Watts's house in Holland Park, an area, which soon became an artists' colony. Mrs Watts remarked

'Scarcely a day passed without a meeting between the two brothers-in-art; and young people coming home from their balls in London would often come across Leighton running in, soon after dawn, to have a few words with Signor [Watts] before the day's work began.'

This work is currently on display in the General Assembly Room at the Royal Academy of Arts and can be viewed by attending one of the free tours of the John Madejski Fine Rooms. Click here for further information about the tours

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