Sleeping beauty awakes
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