Clytie by Lord Frederic Leighton

This was Leighton's final work and was left unfinished in his studio when he died.


Oil on canvas Dimensions: 156 x 137 cm
Art Fund grant:
£82,500 ( Total: £420,000)
Acquired in:
Private collection

Clearly autobiographical in its choice of subject, the work is invested with a personal symbolism and raw emotion that is almost unparalleled in the artist's output. The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses about the heartbroken nymph Clytie who, rejected by Apollo, spent nine days in a wild and isolated place watching as her former lover drove his chariot of the sun across the sky. She neither ate nor drank and as pallor spread over her body, she became rooted to the ground and began to take on the form of a flower. This is the first mature work by the artist to enter the collection at Leighton House. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Executors of Lord Leighton; Fine Art Society; Sir James Knowles; Christie's, 1908; Sampson; Prince Shri Ranjitsinhji; by descent; private collection; Sotheby's, 1995; private collection; Sotheby's, 1997; private collection, Australia; private collection, Germany, 2004.

Venue details

Leighton House Museum 12 Holland Park Road London W14 8LZ 020 7602 3316

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £7)

Daily, 10am – 5.30pm
Closed Tue

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