Albert Moore presented this still life as a gift to his friend, the artist Frederic Leighton.

Moore was born in York to a family of painters. He showed early promise, and at the age of 16 was enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in London.

From the 1860s he began to develop his distinctive style of decorative painting, concentrating on large canvases of neoclassical scenes featuring young women in diaphanous drapery. Moore often made detailed paintings of flowers as studies to use in the background of these full-scale works. The shallow picture space of A Vase of Dahlias suggests it may have been such a study.

In 1877, Moore moved close to Leighton’s famous studio house in Holland Park and visited his home on many occasions. A photograph from the 1890s shows A Vase of Dahlias in Leighton’s Silk Room. At the time of his death, the artist owned a total of four works by Moore.

After Leighton’s death in1896, his collection was sold and dispersed. The museum that preserves the artist’s house opened in1929, and now contains a core collection of his paintings and drawings. A recent drive to acquire work from his wider collection has resulted in the return or loan of pictures by other prominent artists, including GF Watts and John Everett Millais. A Vase of Dahlias now joins them in its original setting in the Silk Room.


Presented by the artist to Lord Leighton; sale after Leighton’s death, Christie’s London, 14 July 1896 lot 333 (£11.6s); Bought by Frickenhaus (The Fine Art Society, London); sale Christie’s London, 4th November 1988, lot 287; Boug

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