Details & Cataloguing

British & Irish Art


Edmund Blair Leighton
signed and dated l.r.: E BLAIR LEIGHTON. 1884.; titled, signed and inscribed with the artist's address on an old label attached to the reverse
oil on canvas
122 by 76cm., 48 by 30in.
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Purchased from the artist by Mr. Gaskell Penarth, Wales;
Christie's, 28 July 1938, lot 54, bought 'Higgins';
John Woodman Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts


Royal Academy, 1884, no.1552


Alfred Yockney. The Art of E. Blair Leighton, special Christmas issue of The Art Annual,1913, illustrated p.13

Catalogue Note

This wonderfully dramatic picture of Empirical pride, depicts the triumphal return of a soldier to his citadel, bringing with him the spoils of a successful battle - treasures from his vanquished opponents and a beautiful young maiden. He steps through the portcullis and into the courtyard and his armour shines in the sunlight. The composition was based upon a  design made at the Langham Sketching Club in 1883 entitled John Langham being Led to the Tower. However, Leighton changed the subject to one far more heroic, based upon lines from the Wordsworth poem 'Rob Roy's Grave' of 1807; '... the simple plan, That he may take who hath the power, And he may keep who can.'

We are very grateful to Kara Lysandra Ross for her assistance with the ctalaoguing of this picture which will be included in her forthcoming monograph.

British & Irish Art