Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London. 1884-86. Designed by George Aitchison. Photograph 2006 by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
"Leighton's choice of an architect was natural. They had been close friends since 1853, and they shared many ideas in common. [. . . Aitchison's] reputation as an architect was based more on his achievement as a spokesman and theorist than as a practicising architect, and in fact, he put up relatively few buildings. . . . Aitchison's real gift, however, lay in the field of interior decoration, and the best schemes of conversion he carried out for wealthy clients represent some of his work. Each scheme of decoration was planned as part of a total conception, and carried out with a rare attention to details of material and finish. The rooms which Aitchison designed exemplify his plea for an elegant, aesthetic style."
"Leighton's house took two years to build and cost approximately four thousand five hundred pounds. . . . The house was originally much smaller than it is today. Externally, it was treated as two distinct units, the front and garden blocks, each with its own roof. The front elevation is surprisingly plain and simple for its period, while the more picturesque garden side, dominated by the studio window, suggests a continental source, possibly French." [Ormond, 62-63]
- The Leighton House Museum site.
- A virtual tour of the house is also available at the Leighton House Museum site.
- Aitchison's plan for the Arab Hall (at the V&A)
- For a fascinating contemporary (American) view of Leighton House, see Mary H. Krout's 1899 account of her visit to Lord Leighton. (victorianlondon.org)
The museum site contains an image of the Arab Hall interior and information about the collections. See especially the Drawings section, with its comments on what may be the best part of Leighton's own personal output. A full Companion Guide to the house can be ordered from this website.
Ormand, Leonée and Richard. Lord Leighton. New Haven: Yale UP, 1975. This volume contains illustrations of the garden view of the house and the interior of Arab Hall.
Last modified 19 March 2006