Tag Archives: The Finding of Moses

Alma-Tadema Returns to Leighton House Museum

There are two places I always visit when I’m in London: The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Leighton House Museum in Holland Park. The V&A describes itself, accurately, as “the world’s leading museum of art and design.” It’s easily my favourite museum in this world, or any other. The Leighton House Museum is the former home and studio of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton, whose painting “Flaming June,” is one of the crowning achievements of 19th Century British art.

“Flaming June,” just because I can never pass up an opportunity to post it.

“Flaming June,” just because I can never pass up an opportunity to post it.

It’s an old, sad story. After the turn of the 20th century, Victorian artists like Leighton fell out of favour with both the critics and the public. And few of them fell so fast and so far as Leighton’s friend, Lawrence Alma-Tadema. By the 1960s, Alma-Tadema’s “The Finding of Moses,” the picture at the top of this note, was cut out of its frame by a gallery, because a buyer was only interested in the elaborate frame itself.

In a way, Alma-Tadema got a belated revenge: Fifty years later, the painting sold for $35,900,000.

If I can work out the last few bugs on the time machine that I’ve been tinkering with, my first stop will be the 1950s, to stock up on Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Tiffany lamps.


Beginning this weekend, the Leighton House Museum is hosting an exhibition called Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, which includes more than 130 works. Here’s a sample:


"The Roses of Heliogabalus,” posted for the same reason I posted “Flaming June.”

“The Roses of Heliogabalus,” posted for the same reason I posted “Flaming June.”


The show will run from 7 July 2017 through 29 October 2017. As if anyone needed another reason to go to London.

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Sunday Morning — Victoriana of the Week

med  the-finding-of-moses-1904

“The Finding of Moses” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Last Sunday’s “Victoriana of the Week” mentioned this painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

“The Finding of Moses,” which sold for £265 in 1942, failed to find a buyer when it was offered at £250 eighteen years later, when Victorian art was out of fashion.

Things changed later in the 1960s, after critics and collectors found a new appreciation for the Victorian painters.   When the painting that had failed to sell in 1960 came up for auction at Christies in 1995, it sold for £1,750,000.  Fifteen years later, it sold again.

For $35,922,500.