Set in the grand home of Lord Frederic Leighton, Studio Sitting: Photographing Royal Academicians is a new photographic exhibition of contemporary artists alongside their Victorian counterparts. Anne Purkiss, an established portrait photographer, captured these images over a 25-year period and the series includes well-known academicians, such as Dame Elizabeth Frink, David Hockney and Sir Peter Blake. It’s as if Anne casually walked into their studio and photographed them on impulse. Each photograph encapsulates the artist so magnificently, either during their projects or with their works displayed around them. What is also interesting is the similarity between the portraits today and the ones taken over 100 years ago. This reiterates the commemoration artists began to receive in Leighton’s era and how this has continued into the twenty-first century.
After an 18-month refurbishment, Leighton’s Kensington studio house has been restored to its former glory in meticulous detail. For Leighton, the house was his “private palace of art.” This is the perfect backdrop for a collection where the artist in their creative spaces are photographed.
The exhibition runs from May 15 to June 2 at Leighton House, Holland Park.