Stunning restorations transform local museums

Published: Friday 1 July 2022

Museums Leighton House and Sambourne House, homes to leading artists and taste-makers of the Victorian age, will re-open to the public on Saturday 15 October 2022 following extensive renovation and conservation works.

Leighton House, the studio-house of Victorian artist and former President of the Royal Academy, Lord Leighton, borders Holland Park and is famed for its opulent interiors, which includes exquisite mosaic floors and tiles inspired by Leighton's travels in Egypt, Syria an Turkey.

While in the new wing, Oneness, a contemporary hand-painted mural by Iranian artist Shahrzad Ghaffari, responds to the Middle East and North Africa-inspired interiors, and explores cultural unity and identity. 

The redevelopment, designed by BDP architects and engineers, spanned a new east wing added to the original house, with original historic features revealed for the first time since the 20th century, alongside new exhibition spaces and displays, the De Morgan Café, a redesigned garden, a new Learning Centre and a collections store. Full step-free access is also provided across the building for the very first time.

Cllr Emma Will, Lead Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety said

We are thrilled to unveil the newly refurbished Leighton House. The major works bring about marked improvements to this beloved cultural venue such as a new lift and upgraded facilities, ensuring all of our residents and visitors can access the museum. As we continue to improve our cultural offerings in the borough, it’s vital that we look at making these experiences accessible and enjoyable for all.

Alongside Leighton House, Sambourne House, home to Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, will also re-open over the 15 October weekend. The museum offers a remarkable insight into the story and tastes of a self-made, prolific artist, and his place within Victorian London society. 

Visitors will experience a rare glimpse into Sambourne's life and career, with sketches, printing blocks, original drawings on display and photographs showcasing his pioneering relationship with photography.

Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator of Leighton House and Sambourne House, said

Linley Sambourne is a fascinating figure: a highly skilled draughtsman and early user of photography, his work and domestic life were dominated by an aesthetic appetite. We are excited to reopen his unique universe of illustration and collecting for the enjoyment of all art and home interiors lovers.

Both museums will open with an ambitious programme of events from the autumn, and behind the scenes tours are open for booking now