Art, Travel and Empire
in Leighton's Time
Frederic Leighton's love of art meant that he travelled widely to see it in many forms and in many different cultures. His private wealth, as well as his high social standing as President of the Royal Academy, enabled him to pursue this interest in travel. He did this at a time when Britain was consolidating its position as a world power.
What and who did he encounter on his journeys? What did he make of the cultures he encountered? And what did the peoples he encountered think of him? What did he bring back home?
Leighton left no diaries, but his letters have helped answer some of these questions. The information on these pages, grouped around three themes, place his experiences in the wider context of nineteenth-century encounters between peoples and empires.
They help us to understand how Leighton's house, now a museum, was and is an important legacy to the meeting of diverse artistic cultures.
Click on the boxes to the left to find out more information about each topic.
How did museums collect in the 19th century?
What is Islamic Art?
What was travelling like in the 19th century?
Who else was travelling between East and West and why?