Artist
Frederic Leighton
English painter and sculptor, and for one day a peer

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Frederic Leighton
English painter and sculptor, and for one day a peer
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Birth Date

December 03, 1830

Death Date

January 25, 1896

ldare's picture

Sr. Editor

Frederic Leighton got lucky and was born into a wealthy household.

Leighton's dad was a doctor and his grandpa was the Russian royal family’s doctor. Talk about having good connections! The affluence of his family was extra helpful when he decided to be an artist, getting an allowance from daddy for his entire life. Leighton wasn’t some schlub though; he worked really hard, selling his first painting to Queen Victoria and even becoming the President of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Rumors abound about Leighton’s personal life. He never married and there were whispers of a lovechild with one of his models but he actually might’ve just been gay. He was really good friends with the poet Henry William Greville who was 29 years his senior. Greville sent Leighton many letters but it seems Leighton never reciprocated the romantic undertones. Though, in most of his letters in general he never seemed to talk about his personal life. He also liked to keep strapping young men around the studio. Solve this mystery and win the appreciation of historians everywhere!

He was the first artist to be awarded peerage becoming Baron Leighton, of Stretton in the County of Shropshire … for an entire day! Unfortunately, he died of heart failure (specifically angina pectoris) the day after. A little too much excitement?

You can visit his house and studio in London, which has been restored and opened as a museum. Considering he came from a family with money you’d think he’d have left his sisters with a bit more of it to care for his estate. The girls had to sell off most of his possessions to cover the financial wishes in his will. The items you currently see in the house vary between original items that were repurchased and loans from private collections.

He is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Frederic Leighton

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, PRA (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton between 1878 and 1896, was a British painter, draughtsman and sculptor. His works depicted historical, biblical, and classical subject matter in an academic style. His paintings were enormously popular, and expensive, during his lifetime, but fell out of critical favour for many decades in the early 20th century.

Leighton was the bearer of the shortest-lived peerage in history; after only one day his hereditary peerage became extinct upon his death.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Frederic Leighton.