Leighton House

sights / Architecture

Leighton House information

London , United Kingdom
Address
Street 12 Holland Park Rd
Extras W14
Getting there
tube High St Kensington
More information
www.leightonhouse.co.uk
Prices
adult/child £5/3
Opening hours
10am-5.30pm Wed-Mon
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Lonely Planet review

Sitting on a quiet street just west of Holland Park and designed in 1866 by George Aitchison, Leighton House was home to the eponymous Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–96), a painter belonging to the Olympian movement. The ground floor is dished up in an Orientalist style, with the exquisite Arab Hall added in 1879 and densely covered with blue and green tiles from Rhodes, Cairo, Damascus, and Iznik in Turkey.

A fountain tinkles away in the centre beneath the golden dome. Even the wooden latticework of the windows and gallery was brought from Damascus. A fireplace upstairs inlaid with Chinese tiles, a stuffed peacock at the foot of the stairs and peacock quills in the fireplace amplify the Byzantine mood. The house contains notable pre-Raphaelite paintings by Burne-Jones, Watts, Millais and Lord Leighton himself. Bombed twice in WWII, the house's recent and lavish refurbishment is detailed in a film upstairs. You can return free of charge within a year if you complete the application form.