The first picture Frederic Leighton (1830 -1896) exhibited at the Royal Academy was purchased by Queen Victoria. This eminent painter and sculptor became president of the Royal Academy in 1878 and was the first artist to be made a Lord. Born into a wealthy English family, Leighton was able to travel widely throughout Europe, Egypt, North Africa and Syria.He studied art in Florence, Rome and Munich, developing a taste for the exotic. Renowned for his technical brilliance and masterly figurative painting, he infused his work with a beguiling sensuality.
He was perhaps the greatest of the High Victorian painters. Following Leighton�s death his work went completely out of fashion, as Victorian attitudes were re-evaluated and art changed direction from a preference for meticulous craftsmanship and classical subjects, towards non-narrative impressions showing greater spontaneity.