Tuesday, August 23, 2016

London presents lots of opportunities to look around people's homes. The Leighton Museum  is the house that Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), artist, traveller and celebrity of the nineteenth century, built to house his art collection and his studio. He wanted to create a 'private palace of art', and now it is open for all.

Lord Leighton's journeys in the Middle East and northern Africa inspired both his own artwork and this magnificent home.

Complete with indoor fountain and soaring domed roof, the Arab Hall is a mixture of Islamic and Victorian architecture, decorated with Turkish, Moorish and Syrian tiles, screens, fabrics, ceramics and mosaics.

The rest of the house has been restored to show the original William Morris wallpapers and some of the original furniture. Photography is not allowed but please have a look at the virtual tour here - you'll see what a delight this house is.
'He built the house as it now stands for his own artistic delight. Every stone of it had been the object of his loving care. It was a joy to him until the moment when he lay down to die.'
Leighton’s sisters in a Letter to The Times, 26 January 1899

William Morris 'India' wallpaper,
in the bedroom

The garden at the back of the house is very simple, a peaceful spot in the middle of busy Kensington that has lots of potential. Reviews here.

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