London’s Leighton House reopens fully refurbished Victorian Arab Hall – Visual Arts – Arts & Culture


(Photo: Leighton and Sambourne Museums Instagram page)

The museum consists of two houses: Leighton House and Sambourne House.

As the museum’s website explains, the buildings are “the extraordinary legacy left by two late Victorian ‘celebrities’ – Frederic Lord Leighton (1830-1896) and Edward Linley Sambourne (1844 -1910) “.

The buildings are located in the Holland Park area with a history dating back to the 1860s.

The Arab Room, originally built between 1877 and 1879, is part of the new renovated wing. It is decorated with stunning artwork by artists and artisans from the Middle East and North Africa.

Many architectural and decorative elements are inspired by those of Palermo, Granada, Istanbul, Cairo and Damascus. This includes a dome modeled after those found on mosques and shrines in Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

It also includes wooden mosquito nets (known in Arabic as mashrabiyya), created in a Middle Eastern style.

The walls are decorated with tiles arranged in Arabic mosaic art, as well as paintings such as Sun Gleam (1884) and two paintings dated 1877, At a Reading Desk and The Music Lesson.

The room features furniture, textiles and rugs that Leighton purchased during his travels in the Middle East.

Information posted on the Leighton House website states that “some 19th century visitors described the Arab Hall as an exotic Arabian Nights space, but Frederic Leighton once called it a ‘little addition for something’. beautiful to look at immediately “. in a while,” a light-hearted comment that underscores that he considered the beauty and harmony of his Arabic room to be his essential qualities.

The restoration of the Arab room cost $8.9 million. It reopened on October 15 to visitors.

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