Artist: Frederic, Lord Leighton (British, Scarborough 1830–1896 London)

Date: ca. 1894–95

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 62 x 24 3/4 in. (157.5 x 62.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1896

Accession Number: 96.28


Leighton titled this work Lachrymae, the Latin word for “tears.” Advance press for the Royal Academy exhibition in London in 1895 described the picture as a “type of stately grief,” noting the woman bent despondently over a funerary monument; the withered wreath at her feet; and the cypresses, symbolic of mourning. Painted near the end of Leighton’s life, the scene reflects an abiding passion for antiquity that made him the leading light of British classicism. Particularly notable are the three vessels (based on Greek prototypes) and the tabernacle frame. Selected by the artist, it suggests a temple doorway—complete with a trompe l’oeil leaf on the flagstones.