Marriage Register / by Edmund Blair Leighton / 1920 / oil on canvas / 118.5 x 91.4 cm / Bristol City Art Gallery and Museum / United Kingdom
Edmund Blair Leighton is known for his historical paintings that convey romantic and nostalgic qualities. The marriage register depicts the formality of signing the registers, an important part of the traditional church marriage ceremony and a legal requirement. The announcement of love and commitment is made officially and on paper in the presence of family, friends and community.
Leighton places a beautiful young woman in the center of the work, the bride signing the marriage certificate. Sunlight streaming in through the latticed windows further emphasizes the bride as the focal point of view. Her white dress and elegant hijab decorated with flowers are the focal point of this painting and give the young woman an ethereal quality and heavenly radiance. Beside her, the young groom is standing in white and black clothes with a hat in her hand, and behind her are the newlywed's family and wedding guests.