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Frederic Leighton, Baron Leighton

12 of 56 portraits of Frederic Leighton, Baron Leighton

Frederic Leighton, Baron Leighton, by Rosa Carter, 1896 -NPG 2016 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Frederic Leighton, Baron Leighton

by Rosa Carter
Watercolour on ivory, 1896
5 in. x 3 7/8 in. (127 mm x 98 mm)
NPG 2016


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Inscriptionback to top

Signed with initials in brown centre left: ‘R C’.

This portraitback to top

A letter from Rosa Carter provides some information regarding the execution of this work. She states that the miniature ‘was painted many years before I took it to the Nat. Portrait Gallery. Chiefly from life – and then he got ill and I could not often see him’.[1] It is dated to 1896, although Leighton was already seriously ill in 1895. It is therefore unlikely that he would have given sittings in 1896 (he died on 25 January of that year).

The miniature is almost identical to an earlier photograph of Leighton by Elliott & Fry (see ‘All known portraits, Photographs, 1892’). The artist depicts the sitter in the same pose, seated to left with his right hand raised to his chin. Similarities in the attitude of the sitter and the type of clothing are unmistakable; for example, the soft velvet jacket with starched collar and visible cuffs, the loose cravat tied in a bow, and the white handkerchief sticking out from the breast pocket. Even details such as the rings on Leighton’s raised hand and the studded leather of the chairback have been included.

The exhibition history for this work is slightly unclear, although the artist does provide a brief overview: ‘It was exhibited in London first (at the Miniature Painters Society), and then invited to several other exhibitions: York-Glasgow, Brighton and then in Brazil.’[2] In two earlier letters Carter gave further details of these exhibitions, which took place in Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, York, Brighton, Lyndhurst (Hampshire) and Santiago in Chile (where it went to represent English miniature work).[3]. She also won a prize with the portrait at the Guild of Craftmakers exhibition at Newbury in 1910.[4]

Elizabeth Heath

Footnotesback to top

1) Letter from R. Carter to the Assistant Director of the NPG [probably C.K. Adams], 13 June 1940, NPG RP 2016.
2) Letter from R. Carter to the Assistant Director of the NPG [probably C.K. Adams], 13 June 1940, NPG RP 2016.
3) Letters from R. Carter to the NPG [J.M. Milner], 25 Jan. and 9 Feb. 1924, NPG RP 2016; NPG Report of the Trustees 1924, p.7 (956), NPG Archive.
4) See also ref. in Foskett 1972, p.197.

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length, profile to left, seated with right elbow resting on arm of mauve chair and right hand supporting face, grey hair and beard, dressed in a white shirt and dark blue necktie, blue waistcoat and deeper blue velvet jacket, with a white handkerchief in the breast pocket, against pale greenish-grey background.

Conservationback to top

Conserved, 1975.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased from the artist in 1924.

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