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The Dick Institute Collection

Greek Girls Playing Ball

19th Century

Frederic Leighton (later Lord Leighton) 1830-1896 was one of the leading Victorian Classicists, a group of late 19th century artists inspired by classical art. They painted historical, biblical and classical subjects and their style tended to be sophisticated and highly polished.

Greek Girls Playing Ball does not refer to a specific historical or mythological event. However, the two idealised figures with their swirling drapery, set against a backdrop of grand mediterranean architecture would fit well in a scene of some classical tale.

Leighton spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Europe and studied drawing in Rome where he would have been exposed to the work of the great classical and renaissance masters. At his father's wishes he received a classical education and was also taught well in anatomy, his father initially hoping that he would become a doctor. This education served him well in his career as an artist. Lawrence Alma Tadema was another leading Victorian Classicist. His painting Audience with Agrippa also belongs to East Ayrshire Council's collection.

Leighton was knighted in 1878. in January 1896 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Leighton of Stretton, the first artist to be honoured in this way.  He died next day.


oil on canvas
1140 x 1970mm
The Dick Institute
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East Ayrshire Council