Recently opened with a run of more than four months, A Victorian Obsession: The Perez Simon Collection at Leighton House Museum brings rarely seen masterpieces of Victorian art belonging to the Mexican collector Juan Antonio Perez Simon – the largest Victorian private art collection outside Britain – to the lavish home of one of the late Victorian era’s most celebrated artists.
The works on show are lush, sensual and romantic depicting in large part scenes antiquity and scenes from classical mythology, the Bible, and legends of King Arthur while presenting a range of representations of women – from distressed damsels to bold heroines. Fans of Pre-Raphaelite art will not be disappointed … nor will folks interested in viewing one of London’s most dazzling interiors.
Located on the edge of Holland Park, Leighton House is among the most remarkable buildings of the 19th century. Owned and operated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the house was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896). The house was built to his precise requirements combining studio space with domestic accommodation and entertaining space. Originally constructed on a modest basis, it grew to become a “private palace of art: visited by many of the great artists of the day and regarded as one of the top architectural sights of London.
Among the 52 paintings on display, the exhibition returns six paintings by Lord Leighton to the house where they were painted. Other highlights include Alma-Tadema’s iconic image of Roman decadence, The Roses of Heliogabalus, as well as works by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John William Waterhouse.
A Victorian Obsession: The Perez Simon Collection at Leighton House Museum runs until 29 March 2015. The museum is located at 12 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ. Find out more at rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/museums/leightonhousemuseum1.aspx.