Leighton House – 19th Century Exoticism in West London

In London’s upmarket Holland Park is The Leighton House Museum, formerly the home and studio of 19th century painter and enthusiastic orientalist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96), still the only painter to have been ennobled. A treasure trove of antique ceramic tiles and melodramatic Victorian painting awaits the visitor….

The museum is notable for its elaborate middle eastern inspired interiors. Pictured below are two views of the ‘Arab Hall’ specifically designed in collaboration with architect George Aitchison to show off Lord Leighton’s huge collection of ceramic tiles.

Leighton house arab hall

Leighton house arab hall

Aitchison is said to have taken his inspiration for the Arab Hall from the Zisa Palace in Palermo and seeing them next to each other here it’s not hard to see the features they share.

In the more restrained but no less luxurious silk room are many artworks by Leighton and a number of his pre-Raphaelite contemporaries like Millais & Burne-Jones.

Leighton house silk room

leighton house detail 2

The house is also a showcase for the work of arts & crafts mosaic master Walter Crane. It is his frieze that runs around at cornice level in the Arab Hall

leighton house frieze

Lovers of luxurious floor tiles and anyone looking for eastern interior inspiration would be well served by paying the museum a visit. Entrance is £12.00 and opening hours are 10am – 5.30pm every day except Tuesdays.

leighton house detail 3



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