Sleep­ing beauty awakes

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

AGROUP of paint­ings by Royal Academy Pres­i­dent Fred­eric, Lord Leighton is be­ing re­united for the first time, af­ter a cen­tury’s artis­tic up­heaval. In 1895, Leighton dis­played six Clas­si­cal can­vases in his Hol­land Park Road stu­dio-house, be­neath a life-size cast of the Parthenon frieze—his sub­mis­sions for the RA Sum­mer Ex­hi­bi­tion. Among them was Flam­ing June, the Gre­cian beauty asleep in apri­cot-tinted robes, which Victorian tastemaker Sa­muel Cour­tauld pro­claimed ‘the most won­der­ful paint­ing in ex­is­tence’.

Leighton died in 1896, aged 65, and Flam­ing June en­tered a pri­vate fam­ily col­lec­tion and dis­ap­peared from view. The paint­ing was not seen for three decades—un­til 1962, when a builder re­port­edly un­cov­ered it be­hind a chim­ney­p­iece in Clapham and gave it to a lo­cal framer for sale.

A young An­drew Lloyd Web­ber saw the paint­ing and asked his Pa­trick Mon­a­han

miss­ing for decades, is now known as ‘the Mona Lisa of the South­ern Hemi­sphere’ Them bones: the last sure sight­ing of the dodo was in 1662

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