Leighton House Museum
Just a ten minute drive away from the Selvedge Spring Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall, Leighton House Museum is one of the most unusual and important buildings of the 19th century. Leighton House was the London home, studio and 30 year long project of the Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96). Designed by the architect and designer George Aitchison initially in 1864, the project was completed in stages and took on a relatively organic process as the two friends Aitchison and Leighton worked together. The house ultimately served as both Lord Leighton's studio and own, personal gallery and reception, where even Queen Victoria visited in 1859. It is one of the very few Victorian artist's house studios open to the public within the UK. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Leighton House is Lord Leighton's collection of over a thousand beautiful, Islamic tiles decorating the interior walls and giving the house its notable Orientalist aesthetic. In particular, The Arab Hall, where Lord Leighton's collection of highly decorative polychrome tiles, mostly from Damascus in Syria dating from the 15th to 17th century as well as 19th-century tiles made by William de Morgan are, is perhaps the building's main focus. Furthermore, the museum hosts various exhibitions (such as 'Victorian Obsessions') talks and classes, including life drawing. There is also a collection of Leighton's own artwork, early Iznik ware and lustrewares by de Morgan on display. Surrounded by a collection of other studio houses, also built over the second half of the 19th century, at the edge of Holland Park in Kensington, Leighton House provides a remarkable historical insight into the world of a successful Victorian artist. Completely of its time and yet totally original, this house and museum is well worth visiting, especially if (as a Selvedge reader and fair go-er) you have even a passing interest in art, history, architecture or ceramics, let alone just beautiful colours and interiors. Leighton House Museum 12 Holland Park Road, London, W14 8LZ T: +44 (0)20 7602 3316 www.rbkc.gov.uk/museums/leightonhousemuseum Selvedge Spring Fair, 25 April, Sat 11-5 Chelsea Old Town Hall King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE www.selvedge.org
Having more than a passing interest in Islamic Art, how wonderful to discover somewhere so magnificent that I have never heard of! A marvellous addition to my “places to visit” list. Thank you for the superb article.