Frederick Richards Leyland

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Head of Frederick Leyland, 1879 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Frederick Richards Leyland (1832 – 4 January 1892) was a British shipowner and art collector from Liverpool.


Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Frances Leyland, 1871–1874, by Whistler

Leyland served as an apprentice in the firm of John Bibby, Sons & Co, where he rose to become a partner. In 1867 he took on the tenancy of Speke Hall, Liverpool and in 1869 bought a house in London at 49 Princes Gate. He founded the Leyland shipping line in 1873.

Art patron[edit]

Leyland's first commissions were to Rossetti and James McNeill Whistler, and date from 1864 and 1867. Leyland collected Renaissance art, as well as that of the Pre-Raphaelites, Whistler and Albert Moore.

Leyland commissioned The Beguiling of Merlin, a painting by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones, which was created between 1872 and 1877. The painting depicts a scene from Arthurian legend, the infatuation of Merlin with the Lady of the Lake, Nimue. Merlin is shown trapped, helpless in a hawthorn bush as Nimue reads from a book of spells.

In the 1870s, Leyland commissioned Whistler to decorate his dining room. The resulting Peacock Room is considered one of Whistler's greatest works. After Leyland's death, his widow sold the Peacock Room to the American industrialist and art collector Charles Lang Freer who had it dismantled and shipped to the United States. It now resides in the Smithsonian Museum's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Later life[edit]

Leyland died in 1892, one of the largest shipowners in Britain, and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[1] The grave lies 10m west of the main path between the north entrance and colonnade but is highly recognizable due to its unique form and design.


In 1892, John Ellerman made his first move into shipping by leading a consortium which purchased the Leyland Line of the late Frederick Richards Leyland. In 1901, Ellerman sold this business to J.P. Morgan for £1.2 million, which was immediately folded into the International Mercantile Marine Co..

Leyland's funerary monument is the only such work by Edward Burne-Jones – the finest Arts and Crafts funerary monument in the UK, and Grade II*[1] listed.

Personal life[edit]

Edward Burne-Jones funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery

Leyland married Frances Dawson (1834–1910) in 1855, but they separated in 1879.

They had four children together:

Leyland had 2 sons with his mistress Annie Ellen Wooster. Frederick Richards (b.1884) and Francis George Leyland Wooster (b.1890)

External links[edit]