(n/a) Edmund Blair Leighton, ROI (British, 1853-1922)
Ribbons and laces for very pretty faces signed and dated 'E.BLAIR LEIGHTON. 1902' (lower left) oil on canvas 109 x 58 cm. (42 3/4 x 22 3/4 in.)
The property of a lady and gentleman.
The present lot, which suprisingly does not appear to have been exhibited, is surely one of the artist's most accomplished works. A master of historical genre, with a fastidious eye for detail, Leighton exhibited at the Royal Academy for over forty years, although he was never elected an Academician or an Associate.
Biographical information on the artist is scant; Leighton was born in September 1853, the son of the artist Charles Blair Leighton, and educated at University College School, before becoming a student at the Royal Academy Schools. Leighton married in 1885, and the couple produced two children. He exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1920, where his address is listed as Priory Road, Bedford Park, London. One contemporary critic, writing in 1897, notes that 'the artist selects as a rule themes which offer an excuse for old-world costume, and an easily read anecdote. To place Mr E Blair Leighton's work in a class to which it makes no pretence to belong, or to contrast it with the masterpieces of the past, or even of the present, would be to do it an injustice. It is the pictorial equivalent of light literature, of belles letters, of graceful novels and vers de societe, of much that is charming of its kind, if by its very nature ephemeral.'
Leighton died in September 1922. An obituary on the artist comments that Leighton's death 'removed from our midst a painter who, though he did not attain to the higher flights of art, yet played a distinguished part in aiding the public mind to an appreciation of the romance attaching to antiquity, and to a realisation of the fellowship of mankind throughout the ages.'