Leighton met Perugini in Rome in 1854 and they struck up a friendship.

Perugini family legend suggests that the portrait was inspired by a fancy-dress ball that the two men attended together. Perugini is depicted in the costume of an Elizabethan gentleman with ruff but none of the jewellery that was popular during that period. Leighton wanted to express greater naturalism in his work and considered this portrait to be a wonderful example of this period of his artistic development.


Family of Charles Edward Perugini by descent since 1855; Bonhams.

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