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Leighton House Museum

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Arab Hall, Leighton House Museum

Arab Hall, Leighton House Museum, London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Photographer: Justin Barton
Leighton House was the home and studio of leading Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton and has undergone a £1.6 million refurbishment to bring it closer than ever to its original appearance when Lord Leighton died in 1896.

This museum is included in the list of:
Famous London People Museums and Houses.

Reopened April 2010

Extensive new research has shed fresh light on the original decorative schemes of the house and as many of these original features as possible have been restored. In addition, a staircase used by Lord Leighton's models has been uncovered and will be accessible to the public for the first time. Leighton had a close relationship with his models and was known to have fathered a son by one of his models, Lily Mason.

The reopening is accompanied by a special exhibition of Leighton's own collection of paintings, which have been brought together for the reopening including important loans from the National Gallery and Tate. The collection includes works by many of Leighton's contemporaries such as Burne-Jones, Millais, Alma-Tadema, and Albert Moore.

About Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96)

Staircase at Leighton House Museum

Hall and staircase at Leighton House Museum

© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Leighton showed artistic talent at a young age and received formal art training in Germany. At the end of his studies, he traveled to Rome where he started his career as a painter.

Leighton moved to London in 1859 and commissioned this building that year as his studio and home. He lived here for the rest of his life, with other famous artists, such as Millais and Alma-Tadema in the area too.

Leighton became President of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1878 and was knighted in the same year.

He was buried at St. Paul's Cathedral in 1986.

After his death, his sisters tried to sell the house but wanted it to became a museum of his works. This made it hard to sell and they then made the decision to sell all of the contents at auction. The curators of the museum have been tracking down as many artworks as possible for a true reconstruction of his home and have commissioned some replicas where necessary. At the time of his death, the building was know as his 'Private Palace of Art' and London's 'poor' were even allowed to buy tickets to see the ground floor when he was away.

Arab Hall

The whole building is wonderful but the room most have heard of is the Arab Hall; one of the many extensions the building received over 30 years of make it into a 'Palace of Art'.

The Arab Hall is decorated with Leighton's collection of 1,000 tiles from Syria, Turkey, and Persia, and is based on a surviving twelfth century Moorish/Norman palace called La Zisa in Palermo, Sicily.

Leighton House Visitor Information

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum

© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Leighton House Museum
12 Holland Park Avenue
W14 8LZ

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Opening Hours:
Open daily: 10am -5.30pm
Fridays until 10pm.
Closed Tuesdays.

£5 in 2010. Check the official website for latest prices.

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