A British painter, born 1830, died 1896, very highly regarded in his own day for his lavish, soft classical scenes with billowing drapery; but long since disregarded in the reaction against Victorian taste. However, he may now safely be enjoyed, and his Flaming June is an exceedingly popular image these days. His soft porn (nymphs with diaphanously white bottoms and bosoms) was well received.

He was born in Scarborough but spent all his early life travelling around Europe (his grandfather having been court physician in Russia), and he learnt his art in various cities around the continent.

On his return to Britain, his major painting Cimabuè's Madonna Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence made his name, and began an illustrious career. He settled in London in 1860, became a member of the RA in 1868, and came to be seen as leader of the classical school, leading the new fashion for beautiful Hellenic costume.

Leighton became President of the Royal Academy in 1878 and was knighted in the same year; created baronet in 1886 and Lord Leighton of Stretton shortly before his death. He is buried in St Paul's.

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