‘Flaming June: The Making of an Icon’, Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London, W14, until 2nd April 2017
What an exciting exhibition this is! Leighton’s iconic painting Flaming June has come back to the house where it was painted and not only that it is reunited with the other works that Leighton included in what was to be his last showing of work at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition because he died in January 1896.
If that were not enough on its own we are even more spoilt because it is being shown alongside other works (thanks to loans from private collections and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) that he showed at that year’s Summer Exhibition.
Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96), was one of the leading artists of his day and between 1878 and his death was President of the Royal Academy. Although not particularly well received at the exhibition Flaming June has become justly famous – its history is fascinating as this exhibition reveals – and is on loan from the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico.
Thanks to the April 1895 photograph showing Flaming June and it’s fellow works before they were submitted to the Royal Academy it has been possible to give now an idea of what visitors on a studio open day would have seen.
Leighton House’s senior curator, Daniel Robbins, sums it up saying: “I am delighted that over 125 years on we can reunite these five paintings created by Leighton in the home and studio he cherished. This exhibition will be a chance for visitors to look more closely into this final body of work with Flaming June as its centrepiece and consider afresh Leighton’s achievements as an artist. I am extremely grateful to those who have loaned the works to us for the exhibition and to those who helped us track down the paintings held in private collections.”
Open daily except Tuesdays, 10am – 5.30pm but check for opening times over the holiday period.