Leighton Baines slipped into customary cliche, describing the qualifiers ahead as “massive” with the caveat that England’s future involvement at the World Cup finals is very much “in our hands”. Progress is a collective target, a squad united as one and intent on securing belated first group wins over Montenegro and Poland, fellow aspirants to reach Brazil. And yet, for the new first-choice left-back against Montenegro, there is also a personal opportunity to seize.
Frederic Leighton, Baron Leighton, also called (1886–96) Sir Frederic Leighton, Baronet (born Dec. 3, 1830, Scarborough, Yorkshire, Eng.—died Jan. 25, 1896, London), academic painter of immense prestige in his own time. After an education in many European cities, he went to Rome in 1852, where his social talents won him the friendship of (among others) the English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, the French novelist George Sand, and the English poet Robert Browning.
Leighton’s painting Cimabue’s Madonna, shown at the Royal Academy’s exhibition in 1855, was bought by Queen Victoria. It marked the entry into England of a new cosmopolitan academic manner in which grandeur of scale and forms of classical Greek and High Renaissance extraction were used to embody subject matter of an anecdotal and superficial nature. Leighton came to London in 1858 to enjoy this triumph but did not settle there until 1860.