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Leslie was one of the most successful nineteenth-century painters of subjects from English literature. His interpretation of an author's text was invariably true to its spirit. Through a study of costume and appropriate backgrounds he succeeded in giving scenes like this one from Shakespeare an authentic period flavour. This picture is painted over an engraving of a work which Leslie exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1825. The subject comes from Shakespeare's play 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'. Leslie married in 1825 and his original decision to paint 'Slender Courting' might have been prompted by his own pre-nuptial experiences.

August 2004