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ArtistFrederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896)
TitleCapri: Sunrise
MediumOil on canvas
ProvenancePurchased from the artist by J. H. Trist; by descent to 'Mrs Trist'; by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 23 April 1937 (Lot 83); from which sale purchased by 'Bretall' on behalf of the Office of Works; recorded as destroyed during World War II at the British Embassy, Berlin; sold through Christie's, London, 'Important British Art' sale, on 14 June 2000 (Lot 13)
ExhibitionRoyal Academy, London, summer 1860 (catalogue number 322); Society of British Artists, London, 1860
Dimensionsheight: 48.30 cm, width: 71.10 cm
AcquisitionPurchased from Christie's, 23 April 1937
LocationOther, no applicable location,
GAC number0/46

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One of the many works Leighton produced during the five weeks he spent in Capri in the summer of 1859 was a small oil sketch showing a view of the town (now in a private collection). This larger, scaled-up version of the view was painted by the artist after his move to London at the end of 1859. It was the only work Leighton exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1860. A reviewer of the exhibition described this work as 'peculiarly true to Italian landscape colour’, while another went further, favouring Leighton’s use of colour over the efforts of other landscape painters. The Capri view was described as demonstrating:

‘… by its striking local colour what we have said in an earlier part of this notice respecting the want of character in representations of foreign scenery by English artists generally. Now the dusky hue of the vegetation against which the houses tell so white and glaring in this picture must be either right or decidedly wrong. But no one who has visited the south of Italy would fail to recognise in a moment the striking faithfulness of this view.’

However, the same painting was described as ‘a curious map-like view of Capri’, when exhibited at the Society of Artists, later that year.

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Frederic, Lord Leighton

Frederic, Lord Leighton was born in Scarborough but spent much of his childhood in Europe, with his family. When he was 16 his family settled in Frankfurt, where Leighton first studied art. He later moved to Italy. In 1855, Leighton’s reputation was secured when his ‘Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna’ was bought by Queen Victoria at the Royal Academy. After spending time in Rome and Paris, Leighton moved to London in 1859. He continued to travel extensively throughout his career, but most frequently visited Italy. A trip to Damascus in 1873 influenced the style and design of the Arab Hall: an extension he commissioned for his Holland Park home in the 1870s. Leighton was President of the Royal Academy from 1878 until his death at the age of 65.