Edmund Leighton
Leighton in 1900
Edmund Blair Leighton

(1852-09-21)21 September 1852
London, England
Died1 September 1922(1922-09-01) (aged 69)
London, England
Known forPainting

Edmund Blair Leighton ROI (21 September 1852 – 1 September 1922) was an English painter of historical genre scenes, specialising in Regency and medieval subjects. His art is associated with the pre-Raphaelite movement of the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[1]


Leighton was the son of the artist Charles Blair Leighton (1823–1855) and Caroline Leighton (née Boosey). He was educated at University College School, leaving at 15 to work for a tea merchant. Wishing to study art, he went to evening classes in South Kensington and then to Heatherley's School in Newman Street, London. Aged 21, he entered the Royal Academy Schools.[2][3] Among his first commissions were monochrome illustrations for Cassell's Magazine and its Book of British Ballads.[3] His first painting to be exhibited at the Royal Academy was A Flaw in the Title in 1874; it sold for £200. He soon gave up "black and white" illustrations, working for the rest of his career in oil on canvas.[3] He married Katherine Nash in 1885; they had a son, the painter E. J. Blair Leighton, and a daughter. He exhibited annually at the Royal Academy until 1920.

Leighton was a fastidious craftsman, producing highly finished, decorative historical paintings. These were romanticised scenes, often of chivalry and women in medieval dress with a popular appeal.[4] It would appear that he left no diaries, and though he exhibited at the Royal Academy for over forty years, he was never an Academician or an Associate.


Among Leighton's other works are:


  1. ^ de La Sizeranne, Robert (2008). The Pre-Raphaelites. Parkstone Press International. p. 24.
  2. ^ Yockley 1913.
  3. ^ a b c De Cordova 1905.
  4. ^ a b "In Time of Peril". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 18 January 2021. Edmund Blair Leighton specialised in the historical genre that stood at the apex of the academic system, edifying audiences with scenes of chivalry as well as entertaining them with glimpses of Lady Godiva.
  5. ^ "Old Times by Edmund Leighton". leicestergalleries.com. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Listed at Bridgeman Art Library Archived 22 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ ""A King and a Beggar Maid"". Sotheby's. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Off". Manchester City Galleries – Search the collection.
  9. ^ a b "On the Threshold". Manchester City Galleries – Search the collection.
  10. ^ "Live Auction 6520, Lot 27". Christie's. 28 November 2001. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  11. ^ The painting was named as "Preparing the Flag" at Christies in 1928, and as "Awaiting his Return" at Philips in 1977. Sotheby's called it "Stitching the Standard" in 1978. It may be the painting catalogued as "The Device" in 1911. "Victorian & Edwardian Art" (PDF). Sotheby's. 15 November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Un Gage d'Amour". Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Conquest". Sotheby's. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Waiting for the Coach". Manchester City Galleries – Search the collection.
  15. ^ "Adieu painting". Manchester City Galleries – Search the collection.
  16. ^ a b "Visitor Information Guide" (PDF). Cardiff City Hall. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2007.
  17. ^ "After Service by Edmund Leighton". leicestergalleries.com.[dead link]