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Lord Leighton PRA, Tracing of the central group of female figures for 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace'

Tracing of the central group of female figures for 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace', by ca. 1884

Lord Leighton PRA (1830 - 1896)

RA Collection: Art

A small-scale tracing for the central group of female figures in The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace (1884-86, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). On the left is the seated figure looking at herself in a hand-held mirror, and next to her a standing figure seen from the back. This is a similar arrangement to the finished composition but the next three figures standing in a row differ slightly, especially in their distance from the standing figure dressing her hair on the right. This row of figures is rehearsed on the right of the sheet, with the addition of a young girl bringing it closer to the final composition. The tracing is drawn in pencil, with some heavy shading and highlights effected by the liberal use of white paint. This interest in light and shade suggests that the tracing may be related to the monochrome cartoon for the fresco which Leighton painted in 1873.

Leighton produced both a colour study and a half-size cartoon in monochrome for this composition in 1873, following the same method he had used for The Arts of Industry as Applied to War in the previous year. The War fresco was painted in 1878-80 and was followed by Peace in 1884-86.

These tracings relate to the composition of Frederic Leighton's two lunettes for the Victoria and Albert Museum, 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to War' and 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace'.

In 1868 Leighton was invited by Henry Cole to design a composition for two lunettes in the museum's South Court and made his first preliminary drawings in the summer of 1869. Eventually, following extensive correspondance between the two regarding the specific area to be painted, Leighton presented the museum with his proposed design for a fresco entitled 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to War' in December 1870. Two outline copies of this design were made, one on a large canvas which Leighton painted up as a monochrome cartoon, and the other on a smaller canvas which the artist used as the basis for a colour study in oils. These finished studies were returned to the museum in January 1872. However, Henry Cole's retirement in 1873 caused delay and work did not begin on the actual painting of the fresco until 1878.

Leighton followed the same method to produce the second fresco, 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace' which was painted between 1884-6.

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Object details

Title
Tracing of the central group of female figures for 'The Arts of Industry as Applied to Peace'
Artist/designer
Lord Leighton PRA (1830 - 1896)
Date
by ca. 1884
Object type
Drawing
Medium
Pencil and white paint on tracing paper
Dimensions

54 mm x 142 mm

Collection
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
04/1178
Acquisition
Given by Mrs Matthews 1896 and Mrs Alexandra Orr 1896
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