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Edmund Blair Leighton

1853 – 1922

Edmund Blair Leighton was born in London on 21st September, 1853. His father was the portrait artist Charles Blair Leighton who exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1843 and 1854. His portrait of Joseph Hume now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Leighton began painting when he was 21 and he trained at the Royal Academy School. He first exhibited there in 1878 when he is recorded as living at 175 Cornwall Road, Notting Hill. He was a skilled draughtsman and his pleasing genre paintings were either of historical subjects or subjects of a rather more romantic nature. He often depicted elegant ladies in landscapes or interiors and Christopher Wood wrote that the works ‘have a similar charm to those of Tissot’. Certainly the public greatly admired his work and delighted in his romantic depiction of a bygone age. Leighton continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1904. His works were often signed E.B.L.

The artist died in London on 1st September 1922 and Bristol City Museum and Leeds City Art Gallery have examples of his works in their collections.
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