"Lord Leighton and Music"

(Feb. 3, 1896, Issue 34803, pg. 7 col. A)

Sir,— As an old friend of the late Lord Leighton I should like to call attention to an incident connected with his official career which, I think, illustrates what I regard as a dominant feature in his many-sided character — viz., the liberal and generous view he took of the equality of all the arts — and which claims from us musicians special recognition.

In common with my brother musicians I had long entertained a feeling that the Royal Academy under Lord Leighton's predecessors had, as the only State institution representing British art, failed to give any recognition to the art of music; and this feeling I had often expressed in years long gone by to my friends of the Royal Academy, to Mr. Leighton (as he was then) and to others.

On his accession to the presidency, the very first banquet he presided over was marked by the presence of invited representatives of the hitherto tabooed art, and from that day to this musicians have ever been honoured guests at the annual festival.

In 1891 Lord Leighton caused "Music" to be included (for the first time in the annals of the Academy) in the list of toasts proposed at the dinner, and was kind enough to select me to respond. In proposing the toast (to quote the words of your report on the occasion) he described music as "the divine art to which it is given at one moment to sweep the very inmost chords of human emotions, and at another to lift us out of and above our earthly selves into a region of rapt serenity which the din of life may reach only as the half-heard murmur of a distant sea."

Never was a compliment to the art we all love paid more eloquently or more gracefully; and never was a compliment appreciated more gratefully than it was by my fellow artists and by

Your obedient servant,

                    ARTHUR SULLIVAN.

Athenaeum Club, Feb. 1.

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