[September 22, 2016]


Self Portrait of Edmund Blair Leighton

Edmund Blair Leighton (1852-1922) was the son of Charles Blair Leighton and Caroline Boosey. Charles Leighton painted portraits and figure pieces and occasionally exhibited at the Royal Academy.  Sadly, though, he died at the age of 31, but his son Edmund followed in his footsteps becoming a romantic painter of Regency and Medieval subjects.

Leighton was a fastidious craftsman, producing highly finished, decorative pictures, displaying romanticized scenes with a popular appeal. 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. Wikipedia.org

I found it interesting that he never became an Academician or Associate. Perhaps, he was never asked or he preferred to set his own rules as to what he painted.  If he had become a part of the Academy, he might have lost that ability. Nonetheless, his paintings are beautiful and memorable.

His obituary, which incorrectly showed he was born in 1853, stated

The death of Mr. Edmund Blair Leighton, on September 1, 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.

Mr. Blair Leighton was born in London, on September 1, 1853, his father being that Charles Blair Leighton, portrait and subject painter, whose exhibits at the Royal Academy and other London galleries covered the period between 1843 and 1855. The son was educated at University College School, before taking a position in an office in the city, but entered the Royal Academy Schools after a course of evening study at South Kensington and Heatherley’s.

He commenced exhibiting in 1874, and succeeded, four years later, in securing the verdict of the Hanging Committee of the Royal Academy in favour of two works, entitled respectively ‘Witness My Act and Seal,’ and ‘A Flaw in the Title.’ Since then his highly wrought style was regularly represented at Burlington House until two years prior to his decease. Among the better known of his pictures, many of which were published, may be named ‘The Dying Copernicus (1880), To Arms (1888), Lay thy sweet hand in mine and trust in me (1891), Lady Godiva (1892), Two Strings (1893), Launched in Life (1894), The Accolade (1901), Tristan and Isolde (1907), The Dedication (1908), The Shadow (1909), To the Unknown Land (1911), and The Boyhood of Alfred the Great (1913.)’ For the past dozen years or so, Mr. E Blair Leighton had been a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He had married in 1885, Miss Katherine Nash, by whom he had, with a daughter, one son, Mr. E J Blair Leighton, who has also adopted painting as a profession. Wikipedia.org

Leighton’s paintings continue to be seen throughout Facebook among author’s and artists. They are very romantic in nature, many of them featuring a man and a woman. There seems to be a universal appeal to his beautiful works with that touch of romance. And, although his Medieval paintings are magnificent, I will concentrate only on the ones that fall into Georgian, Regency, and even into the Victorian. It’s hard to choose because he made many gorgeous paintings, and I love them all.

The first two paintings were ones that I included in the original ‘Darcy Chooses’ Part 1 and 2. ‘A Wet Sunday Morning’ is my favorite.


A Wet Sunday Morning



Signing the Register



The Gallant Suitor



My Next Door Neighbor



On the Threshold (of a proposal)






Courtship Two



Lay Thy Sweet Hand in Mine and Trust in Me



The Time and the Place



A Nibble

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