Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Leighton House

Following on from the other London museums mentioned earlier in this blog, Leighton House Museum and Gallery is another place to visit with a surprise in store.

Situated in Holland Park, London, the museum is the former home of Frederic Leighton a Victorian artist who became President of the Royal Academy in 1878. He was knighted in Windsor the same year and was the first artist to be made a peer - Baron Leighton of Stretton - in 1896 but sadly he died the following day from angina.

A number of eminent artists lived in this part of Holland Park at the same time including George Frederick Watts, William Burges and Val Prinsep, whose house was designed by Philip Webb who all met up regularly and were called the Holland Park Circle.

Walking down an ordinary London street with houses on each side, you arrive at Leighton's house.

Street side of Leighton House Museum

It looks fairly ordinary and you can't really see what's hidden behind the tree.  So it's a bit of a surprise when you enter! These photos taken from the garden offer an intriguing view.

Leighton House from the back garden

Inside is totally spectacular, especially the two-storey Arab Hall covered in tiles from Syria.  William de Morgan tiles cover the passageway and are so bright and colourful.

Upstairs is his huge studio with large window and a tiny plain bedroom.

Exhibitions run in the attached Gallery, when I was there a couple of years ago, Winston Churchill's paintings were on display. There are also permanent collections to view.

There is a charge to visit.  All details are on the website above.  There is a small shop but no cafe.

Here's a photo of the De Morgan Museum in Wandsworth, which has sadly had to close until another premises can be found. You can just about see all those lovely ceramic pots and plates shining out.

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