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Between and Mortarboard

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Study for 'The Dance'

Accession Number

Study for 'The Dance'

Frederic Leighton

Object Creation Date
circa 1883

Medium & Support
black and white chalk on brown wove paper

9 5/16 in. x 12 1/2 in. ( 23.7 cm x 31.7 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Frederic Lord Leighton
England, 1830–1896
Study for The Dance
circa 1883
Black and white chalk
Museum purchase, 1981/2.131
This chalk drawing served as a preparatory sketch for one of two paintings that Leighton executed for a drawing room in a house in London, one depicting “The Dance” and the other “Music.”
Leighton was also a sculptor, and the figures in their frieze-like arrangement and statuesque isolation appear more like classical columns in the drawing, despite the flowing drapery in the left-handed figures. His classical themes evoked a romantic idealism that suited the taste of the time rather than an abiding accuracy to the Hellenistic sculpture that inspired him.

Subject matter
This is a preparatory drawing of female figures in classical drapery playing tamborines for Leighton's frieze oil painting depicting "The Dance". This work and its companion painting, "Music" were commissioned as decorations for J. Stewart Hodgson's drawing room at No. 1, South Andley Street, London. Like Albert Moore, Leighton often depicted classically draped figures.

Physical Description
Black chalk drawing with white highlights on a brown colored background. Four female figures, dressed in classical style drapery, standing in various poses playing a tamborine. One (small) with arms down at her side; one (medium) in profile, with arms outstretched; and two large figures, facing front, showing the motions of hitting the tamborine.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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Musical instruments
dance (discipline)
figures (representations)
musical instruments

5 Related Resources

Greek Cultural Influence
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Victorian Studies
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Associated Artists
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display