Tucked away in Kensington is one of London's many secrets:
Leighton House, currently showing A Victorian Obsession:
The Pérez Simón Collection.
From the street, Leighton House seems like a rather plain
Italian palazzo. But once inside, the romantic vision that leading
Victorian artist Frederick Leighton had for his home and studio, is
laid bare. Building began in 1864 and on the ground floor, the
'Arab Hall' is filled with C15th and C16th tiles from Damascus, up
the stairs to the elegant 'Silk Room', then through to the artist's
studio with a huge north facing window overlooking a large leafy
garden. And despite the many entertaining rooms, Leighton unusually
felt the need for just one tiny bedroom with a single
Mr Pérez Simón began collecting Victorian art in the 1970s, when
the period was rather out of favour. He has amassed over 3000
museum quality works, and has the largest collection of Victorian
masterpieces outside of the UK, including Frederick
Leighton's Crenaia, the nymph of Dargle, Dante
Gabriel Rossetti's Venus Verticordia and
Lawrence Alma-Tadema's The Roses of Heliogabalus.
It's the latter painting that proves the hero of the show; the
paint so meticulously applied to create the illusion of marble,
fruit and water gushing from a fountain. But also because the
overwhelmingly beautiful mass of pink and white rose petals in fact
disguises a scene of dark depravity, as Heliogabalus and his bored
guests watch on as the figures at the front of the painting drown
amongst the blooms for the onlookers pleasure.
The last time this picture was exhibited in London was 1913.
Seize this rare opportunity to view it at splendid Leighton
A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón
collection at Leighton House Museum
Until 29th March 2015
Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ
Leighton House Museum offers all Vanity Fair A-List
subscribers the chance to win one of three pairs of tickets for an
out of hours experience of A Victorian Obsession: The
Pérez Simón Collection at Leighton House Museum at 6pm
followed by a special screening of Effie Gray in
Leighton's studio, a room frequented by Effie Gray herself, her
husband and art critic John Ruskin and Pre-Raphaelite artist John
Everett Millais. Monday 8th December at 6.30pm.
Don't miss out on future offers, sign up
to the A-List.