Timeline

1830

3 December:  Frederic Leighton (FL) born at 13 Brunswick Terrace, Scarborough, Yorkshire, the son of Dr Frederic Septimus Leighton and Augusta Susan Nash.

1832

Death of FL's grandfather, Sir James Leighton, one time Physician to the Court of the Tsars at St Petersburg.  FL's father moves his family to London, where they live until 1838 at 22 Argyle Street, off the Gray's Inn Road.

1834

FL's father resumes his medical practice.

1838

FL's father is appointed lecturer in forensic medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, a post he holds until 1841.  The family move to 7 Upper Gower Street.  FL enrols at University College School.

1839

The family travels to Paris.  FL suffers an attack of scarlet fever.


1840

FL's mother suffers a bout of rheumatic fever, which permanently affects her heart.  This may have been the immediate reason for the long Continental tours that the family begins to make from about this time.  The family visits Rome.  FL is given drawing lessons by one Francesco Meli.  The family returns to London for the winter of 1840-41, so that FL can continue at University College School.

1841

The family travels through Germany, Switzerland and Italy.  FL takes lessons in art in Florence and makes drawings from nature; he also visits galleries in a number of cities.  He learns to speak German.

1842

The summer is spent at the house of FL's late paternal grandfather at Greenford, Middlesex.  In London, FL attends classes at University College School.  Later, the family returns to Germany; during the winter of 1842-3, FL enrols at the Academy of Art in Berlin.

1843

The family lives in Munich, and then in Frankfurt, remaining there until 1845.  FL enrols at Stellwag's Academy, a school in the Hochstrasse.

1845

The family moves to Florence.  FL does not visit London as he had hoped to do.  The American sculptor Hiram Powers encourages Dr Leighton to allow FL to become an artist.  FL enrols at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence under the tuition of the masters Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Benedetto Servolini.  He is taught anatomy by Ferdinando Zanetti.

1846

During the early summer the family leaves Florence and returns to Germany.  FL's father buys a large house in the Bockenheimerlandstrasse in Frankfurt, which becomes the family home.  FL seems to have visited England that summer.  In October he becomes a student at the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, then under the directorship of the Nazarene artist Philip Veit.

1847

FL is living and working as a student at the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt.  In the spring he progresses to the second class, where he draws from the life and is taught by the landscape painter Jacob Becker.

1848

The political upheavals of 1848 drive the family from Frankfurt; they retreat first to Brussels, where FL establishes a studio and makes contacts with artists; then to Paris.  The family does not return to Frankfurt until 1850.

1849

FL travels with his family to Paris, where he spends several months.  FL makes a series of landscape drawings and watercolours.  Attends the atelier of Alexandre Dupuis and also studies and copies paintings in the Louvre.  Spends some time in London, where he paints a portrait of his great-uncle and meets various contemporary English artists.


1850

FL exhibits Cimabue Finding Giotto in the Fields of Florence in Frankfurt, which he had begun in Brussels.  He returns to Frankfurt from Paris and re-enrols at the Stadelsches Kunstinstitut.  Meets Edward von Steinle, appointed director of the school this year.  Makes his first attempt at 'plein air' landscape subjects.  Friendship with Enrico Gamba, a Piedmontese art student.

1851

FL visits London, meeting various contemporary artists, including Willaim Powell Frith and E.M. Ward.  Visits the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.  Later stays in Bath with his grandmother, Lady Leighton (with whom there had been little contact while his grandfather was alive, as the two had separated). 

1852

FL's father takes a house in Bath, so as to be close to his mother.  During the summer, FL returns to Germany, via Amsterdam and The Hague.  Leaves Frankfurt on 11 August, travelling down the Rhine in the company of Steinle, with whom he visits the collection of Nazarene art at Sift Neuberg.  FL and Steinle part at Bregenz on Lake Constance.  FL travels on alone through the Austian Tyrol and northern Italy to Verona, where he meets up with Enrico Gamba.  The two stay in Venice and then travel down through Italy, arriving in Rome on 19 November.

1853

First meeting with the painters George Heming Mason and Giovanni Costa who would remain life-long friends.  An enduring friendship with the retired opera singer Adelaide Sartoris commences in February.  Other friendships made in Rome are with George Aitchison (later to design his house in Holland Park), and the architects William Burges and Alfred Waterhouse.  Meets and befriends many other artists including Edward Perugini, Bouguereau and Gerome.  FL travels to Germany seeking treatment for eye strain.  The last summer the Leighton family spend in Frankfurt before moving to Bath where Dr Leighton has bought a house at 9 The Circus.

1854

Early in January, FL back in Rome, installs himself in studio in Via Felice.  Works on his two 'debut' pictures, Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna and The Reconciliation of the Montagues and the Capulets.  FL meets Robert Browing.  In July, FL escapes the heat of Rome to join Mrs Sartoris and her party at Bagni di Lucca for the summer.

1855

In Rome until May; travels to Paris to see the Exposition Universelle where his Reconciliation of the Montagues and Capulets is shown.  Then on to London to view Royal Academy exhibition where Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna has caused a sensation and been bought by Queen Victoria on the opening day of the exhibition.  FL spends most of the summer in London; also visits his family in Bath.  Later in the summer he moves to Paris where he will spend much of the next three years, taking studio at 21 rue Pigalle. 

1856

FL in Paris at start of the year.  Later he travels to Frankfurt and then on, via the Austrian Tyrol and Venice to Rome where he arrives in October.  Later in the year he returns to London, travelling by sea to Marseilles and then overland via Paris.

1857

Spends the early part of the year in Paris.  Presumably visits England in the spring to attend the marriage of his sister.  In London again in the summer.  Visits Algiers in September.  Opens an account with the bank Coutts & Co.

1858

Meets and becomes friendly with Augusta Hoare, wife of Sir Henry Ainslie Hoare of the banking family.  Starts work on her portrait.  Takes a studio at Keppel St, Bloomsbury, London and begins to get to know a wider circle of English artists including the Pre-Raphaelites.  Visits Bath and later in the year returns to Rome, using his old studio in the Via delle Purificazione.  In November works on a series of pictures from the model Nanna Risi.

1859

Spends the spring in Rome, completing the Nanna series during February.  Then travels to Capri where he remains for five weeks producing his drawing the Lemon Tree and a number of other drawings and sketches in oil.  Travels to London and takes a house and studio at 2 Orme Square.  Joins the Artist's Rifles Volunteer Corps.  Later visits Scotland.  Goes back to Italy in October and then to Greece.  Back at Orme Square by the end of the year and London will be his base for the rest of his life.


1860

Publications of illustrations by FL, to accompany Elizabeth Barret Browning's The Great God Pan.  Visits the Sartoris family at their house, Westbury in Hampshire.  Visits the Isle of Wight and the West Country.

1861

Death of Elizabeth Barret Browning.  FL designs her tomb in the Protestant Cemetery in Florence. His paintings are badly hung at Royal Academy but well reviewed.  Makes summer trip through south-west England staying at Salisbury, Exeter, Bideford, Clovelly, Ilfracombe and Lynton.

1862

Six paintings accepted at the Academy; two are rejected.  Makes illustrations for George Eliot's Romola for the Cornhill Magazine.  In April starts designing his fresco mural The Wise and Foolish Virgins for the newly built parish church of St Michael & All Angels, Lyndhurst, Hampshire.  Begins painting in the church in August.  Travels to Italy, making sketches of architecture and landscape.

1863

During the summer works on The Wise and Foolish Virgins using the Sartoris' house, Westbury as a base.  Invited to stay at Sandringham by the Prince of Wales.  In autumn, FL stays with the Marquise de l'Aigle at Francport near Compiegne (a sojourn that is described by Adelaide Sartoris in her novel A Week in a French Country House of 1867).

1864

In February visits Paris.  In the summer elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.  Commissions George Aitchison to build the house in Holland Park in which he will spend the rest of his life.  September in Italy, travelling to Venice, Brescia and Verona and later goes on to Florence to inspect the work in progress on the tomb of Elizabeth Barret Browning.

1865

Death of FL's mother in the spring at her house in Bath, FL is staying at Sandringham, Norfolk at the time.

1866

Visits Spain, making sketches of architecture in Toledo, Seville and Cordoba.  In the autumn in Rome and goes painting in the Campagna with Giovanni Costa and William Blake Richmond.  FL moves into his new house and is elected to the Athenaeum Club.

1867

Visits Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean, travelling out through Vienna and along the Danube to Constantinople, then on to Broussa, Smyrna, Rhodes and Lindos.  Stays in Athens and returns via Venice.

1868

FL elected full Royal Academician, following the summer exhibition.  In autumn he travels to Greece and then on to Egypt where he goes up the Nile in a steamer lent by the Viceroy, Ismail Pasha. 

1869

Serves on the Hanging Committee of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  Becomes involved in the Royal Academy Winter Exhibitions.  In August visits Vichy in company of Adelaide Sartoris, Algernon Swinburne and Richard Burton.  Is elected Visitor to the Royal Academy Schools.  In December suffers attack of rheumatism.


1870

Work continues to be interrupted by ill health.

1871

Commences work on the Arts of Industry murals at South Kensington (Victoria and Albert) Museum.  Exhibits three Nile landscapes at the Society of British Artists.  FL's portrait painted by G.F. Watts and presented to him by the artist (now in the collection at Leighton House Museum).

1872

Works on The Arts of Industry as applied to War which is to occupy him intermittently until 1879.  During the winter FL is in Rome with Adelaide Sartoris.

1873

Works on The Arts of Industry as applied to Peace which is to occupy him until 1885.  In the autumn travels to Damascus, Syria via Beirut.  Meets the Rev William Wright and with him starts to accumulate pottery and tiles. 

1874

Exhibits a group of studies and drawings including the Lemon Tree (1859), at the Dudley Gallery.  Visits Donegal in Ireland, where he sketches the landscape.

1875

George Frederic Watts moves into his 'Little Holland House' in Melbury Road, becoming an immediate neighbour of FL.

1876

The Daphnephoria, commissioned for the dining room at Lythe Hill, the country house of James Stewart Hodgson, is exhibited at the Royal Academy.

1877

Sir Coutts Lindsay opens the first Grosvenor Gallery exhibition.  FL is invited to submit works, and does so each year until 1882, and once more in 1885.  The bronze sculpture Athlete Wrestling with a Python appears at the Royal Academy and is bought by the Chantrey Bequest.  Commences construction of the Arab Hall as the extension of his house in Holland Park Road.

1878

Appointed President of the Jury on Paintings at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.  While in Paris he meets Edouard Manet and visits his studio.  In Italy with Giovanni Costa when the death of Sir Francis Grant is announced.  FL elected President of the Royal Academy on 13 November.  Receives and knighthood and many international honours and diplomas follow.

1879

FL first uses Dorothy Dene as a model and give his first Academy Address.  Sends a group of ten landscapes to the Grosvenor Gallery.  August:  death of Adelaide Sartoris.  FL makes tour of Continent.


1880

FL invited by Uffizi Gallery, Florence to submit a self-portrait.  In Italy with Costa.

1881

Second Academy Address on the relationship between art, morality and religion.  Arab Hall extension completed at his home in Holland Park.

1882

Through the agency of George Howard, encourages the trustees of the National Gallery to buy paintings at the Hamilton Palace sale.  October, visits Cairo, Egypt.

1883

FL becomes involved in the campaign to complete Alfred Steven's memorial to the Duke of Wellington in St Paul's Cathedral.  Third Academy Address given on Egyptian and Greek art.

1884

Visits Cornwall, where he takes an interest in the work of the Newlyn school of painters, encouraging them to exhibit at the Academy.

1885

Completes The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace at South Kensington.  Fourth Academy lecture on Etruscan and Roman art.

1886

FL Created a Baronet.

1887

Secures John Singer Sargent's Academy exhibit Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose for the Chantrey Bequest.  Visits Spain and in October in Italy with Costa.  Fifth Academy Address on Italian art.

1888

Exhibits Captive Andromache, bought by Manchester City Art Galleries for £6,000.  In September visits the Dolomites.

1889

Death of FL's long-time friend Robert Browning:  FL serves as a pall-bearer at the funeral.  Exposition Universelle in Paris:  FL selects the paintings for the British section.  Travels in Spain to view works of art he wishes to include in his sixth Academy Address devoted to Spanish art.


1890

FL's portrait painted by G.F. Watts,  Visits France to study cathedral architecture in connection with his Academy Address.

1891

Selects the paintings for the British section of the Berlin International Exhibition.  Travels in Italy and delivers seventh Academy Address in December on the subject of French art.

1892

Death of FL's father.  Exhibits various sketches and landscapes and the Society of British Artist.  Travels in Switzerland.

1893

In October visits Germany and then travels on to Italy, to Perguia to work on his Academy Address on the subject of German art.

1894

FL awarded a gold medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects.  Attends the Wagner festival in Bayreuth with his sister Augusta.  Works on his mural 'Phoenicians Bartering with Ancient Britons' for the Royal Exchange building.  Travels to Scotland and then Italy.  Is back in England by late October and suffers his first attack of angina on 29 October.

1895

FL is advised to step down from Royal Academy duties and to travel abroad for his health.  His final 'music' is held in the studio that spring.  Departs for North Africa spending time in Tangier, Tlemcen and Algiers.  Returns to London via Paris but health remains uncertain.  August travels to Worcester and then on to Ireland touring through Dublin to Cork and ultimately to Donegal.  Returns to London but almost immediately departs for Italy, travelling to Venice, Naples, Rome, Florence and Siena.

1896

FL is raised to the peerage as Baron Leighton of Stretton in the New Years Honours List, the first artist ever to be honoured in this way.  Although he continues to work on his submission for the Royal Academy until shortly before his death.  On 25th January dies at home in bed.  In attendance are his two sisters Alexandra and Augusta.  His neighbour and friend Val Prinsep and the artist Samuel Pepys Cockerell are also in attendance.  His coffin first lies in the studio an is then taken to the Octagon Room at the Royal Academy where it lies in state.  On 3 February his funeral takes place at St Paul's Cathedral.  Clytie is exhibited at the Academy Summer Exhibition.  The contents of FL's studio and his collections are sold at Christie's in July.

1897

A memorial exhibition of Leighton's works is held at the Royal Academy.


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