Frederic, Lord Leighton

Fanny Kemble: A Study for ‘Jezebel and Ahab’


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Frederic, Lord Leighton 1830–1896
Chalk on paper
Support: 225 × 285 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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Leighton was the most eminent of all artists working during Queen Victoria's reign. He trained in Germany and Paris. One result of this training was the importance he attached to making preliminary drawings for any composition he painted in oils. This drawing is a study for the head of Elijah in Leighton's 1863 Royal Academy exhibit 'Jezebel and Ahab' which is now in Scarborough Art Gallery. The model was Leighton's friend the actress Fanny Kemble. The use of a woman to pose for a male figure seems unusual, but the drawing would have been used by Leighton to set a male model when he stood for the figure of 'Elijah' for the painting.

Gallery label, September 2004

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