Tag Archives: Flaming June

“Flaming June” Returns to Leighton House

“Flaming June”,  Frederic, Lord Leighton’s greatest painting, has come home, but only for a visit.

“‘Flaming June’, Leighton’s masterpiece and one of the most celebrated paintings of 19th century British art, returns to the house where it was painted alongside the other paintings that the artist and President of the Royal Academy, submitted for the Summer Exhibition in 1895, only a few months before he died.”

—Leighton House Museum

The painting was exhibited at The Frick Collection in New York during the summer of 2015. Frick Senior Curator Susan Grace Galassi talks about the history and significance of “Flaming June” in this brief video:

The Leighton House showing began last November, and will run through March 2017. The museum is offering a full schedule of events, including  workshops, tours, musical performances, and a multi-media play in Leighton’s studio exploring the relationship between the artist and Dorothy Dene, his model, muse and confidante.

Leighton House Museum

Whenever I’m in London, I visit two locations: The Victoria and Albert Museum, and Leighton House. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of decorative arts and design, and the Leighton House Museum is…something else.

The great glory of Leighton House is the Arab Room, pictured above. I’ve spent hours there. I plan to spend hours more in the future.

Leighton House was the Holland Park home and studio of Frederic, Lord Leighton, who lived there alone for more than 30 years. As the most famous British artist of the late 19th century and the President of the Royal Academy of Arts, he entertained many of the most eminent Victorians in the Arab Room, including, in 1859, Queen Victoria herself.

Note: The current header for this blog is a detail from Leighton’s “Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence”.


Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum is the former home and studio of the Victorian artist Sir Frederic Leighton.   I’ve posted earlier about the curious financial history of Lord Leighton’s best known painting, Flaming June, and its upcoming visit to the United States.

Flaming June Leighton

“Flaming June,” by Sir Frederic Leighton

Returning to Leighton House was at the top of my list of things I wanted to do in London, for two reasons.

The first reason was that the jewel in the crown at Leighton House is one of my favourite rooms:  The Arab Hall.  I could have spent hours in this beautiful, serene, three-storey work of art.


Arab Hall

The second reason was that Leighton House was hosting an exhibition of more than fifty rarely exhibited pictures from the Pérez Simón Collection, which is the largest private collection of Victorian and Edwardian art outside Great Britain, now that the Forbes collection has been dispersed by Malcolm Forbes’ massively inept heirs.   Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, a Mexican telecommunications billionaire, is one of the world’s foremost private art collectors. His taste is wide-ranging—he buys what he likes, not what’s fashionable—and his collection exceeds 3,000 paintings.

I hadn’t known just what was in his Victorian collection, and was delighted to find that it included one of my favourite paintings:   Waterhouse’s  “The Crystal Ball.”


“The Crystal Ball,” by John William Waterhouse

But the clear star of the collection, w/a room to itself, was Alma-Tadema’s “The Roses of Heliogabalus.”

The_Roses_of_Heliogabalus tt

“The Roses of Heliogabalus,” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

I posted some notes about “The Roses of Heliogabalus” last fall, before I’d decided to spend early Spring in London, and long before I’d learned of this exhibition.

I had a hard time leaving Leighton House.  I walked through the full exhibition two or three times, with long visits to the Arab Hall at the start of the show and  “The Roses of Heliogabalus” at the end.  But I had plans for the evening, and finally had to say goodbye to Holland Park.

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

Flaming June 2

“Flaming June”, by Sir Frederic Leighton

I posted a note last Spring about the history of Sir Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June”, and my visit to Lord Leighton’s Holland Park house.   Now comes word that the masterpiece will be visiting the US next summer.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce in Ponce, Puerto Rico has agreed to lend “Flaming June” to the Frick Collection, in New York City, where it will be on display from 9 June 2015 to 8 September 2015.

“Flaming June” was last seen in the US in 1997, as part of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art entitled “The Victorians:  British Painting in the Reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901”.  For me, the show was quite literally life-changing.  I visited it more than half a dozen times, and it completely changed the way I thought about art.  It was then that I fell in love w/the Pre-Raphaelites.

Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

Flaming June 2

“Flaming June”, by Sir Frederic Leighton

I’ve broadened the title of this feature, because many of the artists I’ve included were not, technically, Pre-Raphaelites.  That’s true of Sir Frederic Leighton, whose “Flaming June” is today’s painting.

“Flaming June” is Leighton’s masterpiece.  It’s difficult to understand how anyone could look at this magnificent painting and not be captivated, but that hasn’t always been the case.  For much of the first half of the 20th Century, Victorian art was scorned and out of fashion.  “Flaming June” was put up for auction in the 1960s, and failed to meet its reserve price: $140.

“Flaming June” is in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The last time I was in London, I visited Lord Leighton’s Holland Park house, which has been turned into a museum.   The Arab Hall at the Leighton House Museum is one of The Great Rooms. I had it to myself for the better part of an hour. Rapture.


Arab Hall