Adventures in Chelsea, part I: Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum
Leighton House Museum
Leighton House MuseumLeighton House MuseumLeighton House Museum
Some time ago when the weather was particularly nice, we dragged ourselves across town, from the dirty but familiar East End to the Holland Park district. The object of the trip was to visit the Leighton House Museum where the Victorian painter Lord Frederic Leighton lived and worked.

Leighton House Museum
The main hall was inspired by the myth of Narcissus (and aptly named the Narcissus Hall.) The walls are covered in blue tiles (symbolising water) and the ceiling is gilded to signify how Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection and drowned. It was inspired by a Narcissus “themed” room found during the excavation of Pompeii in 1740s, as Leighton was very interested in ancient Rome.

Leighton House Museum
The Arab Hall, which Leighton commissioned to show off his extensive collection of 17th century Syrian tiles, and one corner of the studio.

Leighton House Museum
The dining room, decorated with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ceramics, and an amazing little, oriental nook with an Egyptian latticework window, looking down on the Arab Hall. The latter immediately set my head spinning – it makes for so many marvellous decorating ideas, doesn’t it? I was very reluctant to leave and as always I found myself wishing that the museum worked like Ikea, so that I could pick up a flat-packed version of various pieces furniture at the end of the tour and take it home with me.

Leighton House Museum
The Silk Room, with paintings by Tintoretto and Millais.

Leighton House MuseumLeighton House Museum
The studio.

Leighton House Museum
Another part of the studio: peacock feathers below Leighton’s painting Corinna of Tanagra from 1893. Such a splendid neoclassical frame as well!

Leighton House Museum
We stayed until closing time (hardly a testament to our enthusiasm but rather because we arrived late in the day) and then headed to Holland Park, as it is apparently one of the prettiest parks in London, complete with peacocks wandering about – but that will be the subject of my next post.

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One thought on “Adventures in Chelsea, part I: Leighton House Museum

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Chelsea, part II: Holland Park | Digressions

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