Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896)
Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, was an eminent Victoria painter and sculptor, a leading proponent in British art of the classical tradition derived from the Renaissance.
Leighton was born on 3 December 1830, the son of Dr Frederic Septimus Leighton, a physician, and his wife, Augusta Susan, who lived at 13 Brunswick Terrace, Scarborough. In 1832 the family moved from Yorkshire to London.
Leighton was educated at University College School, London, though the course of his education was frequently disrupted by the European travels undertaken by his family. Leighton was a precocious linguist, and soon became fluent in French, German, and Italian.
From 1855 to 1859, Leighton lived in Paris, where he met such leading artists as 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 (1878-1896). 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 eight years later. In the New Year Honours List of 1896 Leighton was the first painter ever to be given a peerage. 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.
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.