My recent jaunt to London meant an afternoon ticking off something I’ve been meaning to do for ages, visit Leighton House. Even after living in West London for several years, i’d somehow managed to put off visiting, much to my shame. A rather grey and gloomy afternoon gave us the perfect opportunity to wrap up warm and seize the day! we meandered through Holland Park, before finding the incredible Leighton House!
Sir Frederick Leighton was an English painter, draughtsman, and occasional sculptor, one of the dominant figures of late Victorian art. Built to house his fabulous art collection, Leighton’s home in Kensington promoted a new aestheticism. After years of neglect, it has been fully restored and is quite honestly one of the finest examples of interior design I’ve ever seen. From the outside you could be forgiven for thinking the house was just another Victorian building.
As you enter inside your met with rich silk lined walls, turquoise and tiles collected from all over the Middle East, Leighton’s painting, fountains and opulence at every turn, the interior really is a sight to behold.
The Arab Hall (shown above) was built to house Leighton’s collection of tiles, collected during visits to the Middle East. The design was based on the palace of La Zisa in Palermo. The 17th-century tiles are complemented by carved wooden lattice-work windows of the same period from Damascus. There are also large 16th-century Turkish tiles. The west wall has a wooden alcove with inset 14th-century tiles. In the centre of the floor there’s a small fountain, the sound of the water is very calming and I can imagine how lovely it’d be to sit at the window in this room and take time out to think. Here’s a short video from inside the house showing a little more of the restoration.
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If you’re in London anytime soon I would highly recommend heading down to Leighton House to experience this incredible, eclectic, opulent and down right magical, historical treasure.