Print of Bianca (1881) by Frederick Leighton


There is no surviving record of this print in the Collection.

The original oil painting can be seen at the studio-house of the artist, Frederick, Lord Leighton (1830-1896). It is now a museum run by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The model is the actress, Dorothy Dene. The name attached to the portrait recalls the character of Bianca in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.


Frederick Leighton was one of the most successful painters and sculptors of the Victorian period. He served as President of the Royal Academy between 1878 and 1896, and became the leading light of the 'Holland Park Circle', a grouping of artists who took up residence close to his studio-house, in Holland Park, London.

Leighton's major works include Flaming June (1895) (Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico), and An Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1877), Tate Gallery, London.


Although commonly associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, Leighton's classical themes, and interest in the human form, align him more closely with Aestheticism.

Lost Works

There are several reasons why items may be missing from the collection. Ruskin was in the habit of moving works around a circuit of institutions, which included Whitelands College in London (now Roehampton University) and the Ruskin teaching collection at Oxford. This means that works are not always lodged where the early catalogues, or in this case early photographs, would lead us to expect.

Works may also have been misplaced when the collection was moved, first from Walkley to Meersbrook, then from Meersbrook to Reading, and finally from Reading back to Sheffield.

The unexpected presences in this photograph unsettle the assumption that museum collections are unchanging. The absence of objects occupying a central position in the old displays complicates the act of reconstruction, reminding us that the museum's history is not always continuous or accessible.

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