Friday, 15 June 2012

Flaming June…

…is the name of this painting by Frederic, Lord Leighton

leighton - flaming_june

It was quite warm and sunny [although not exactly flaming] on Wednesday, so Liz and I got the bus to Holland Park, and strolled through the trees and gardens, and took time to smell the roses.


We didn’t stop to play mega-chess! Under the covered walkway were some fabulous murals, which we could see through the arches as we approached.




We walked right through the park and out the other side. Blue plaques proliferate round here. William Holman Hunt and Cetshwayo, The King of the Zulus both stopped by this property!


But our destination was the Leighton House Museum.


For a mere £5 we gained entry to this fabulous house, and on leaving, our ticket was validated for free entry for the next twelve months. President of the Royal Academy, and friends with all those PreRaphaelites, Frederic Lord Leighton was what Liz termed a Maximalist – the exact opposite of a minimalist!

The Arab Hall – with wonderful Moorish tiles [we thought of Steph in Morocco!] and a fountain playing in the middle of the floor!

arab hall

The Silk Room – with an extremely elegant lady shelling peas!


The staircase, with stunning blue tiles by William De Morgan


And the surprisingly spartan bedroom [but we both loved the deep blue wallpaper] where he hung photographs of favourite pictures


But no – Flaming June is not there – just a few preliminary sketches, and a length of orange fabric draped over a chair!

When Flaming June was put up for auction in the early 1960s, it failed to reach the more than modest reserve price. Then, in 1963, a Puerto Rican industrialist, saw Flaming June propped up in a neglected corner of an Amsterdam gallery, liked it, and bought it for $10,000. So now, this picture – now so beloved of greetings card manufacturers and purveyors of ‘home decor prints’, hangs not in Tate Britain or a provincial gallery but in the Ponce Museum of Art in Puerto Rico. [yes that is its name!]

Liz and I loved looking at the house. Check out the website for a ‘virtual tour’, and loads of information about this fascinating bloke. It is well worth a real visit. [Liz – who knows these things -tells me that Tate Britain are planning a major exhibition of Victorian art next year. I will keep you posted on that one]

Here’s Leighton’s paintbox!


Quite overwhelmed by it all, we went and bought sandwiches in Waitrose and ate them in the park. I so love spending time with my daughters!


  1. You are such a good and happy mum! I bet they love your visits, too!

  2. So much to see and take in, I'm not surprised you felt overwhelmed!
    Jane x

  3. I love the Pre-Raphaelite period and that painting in particular, although she looks as though she'd wake with a terribly stiff neck and back.

    That house/museum looks wonderful.

  4. Oh, what nice pictures these are. I'm a bit behind with catching up on peoples blogs, I think I like too many and can't always keep up with them.

  5. That particular painting is one of my absolute favourites, along with the one of the lady smelling the roses. I would like to see it "in the flesh" for myself.
    What a lovely day you had.

  6. Oh this looks amazing- I'll be hanging onto that little nugget of info re next year!


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