Highlights not to miss are Albert Moore’s The Quartet (1868), in which music is represented by visual intervals; the unfairly overlooked Henry Payne’s The Enchanted Sea (c. 1899) and, for notes of scandal, Frederic Leighton’s own Crenaia (1880) which depicts his companion Dorothy Dene. Leighton’s romantic life remains to this day a mystery, though Leighton House curator Daniel Robbins has hinted that Dene provoked rivalry from Leighton’s other rumoured lover, the dashing Giovanni Costa. Other shining stars include Edward Burne-Jones; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the dissolute Pre-Raphaelite and John Millais, their respectable counterpart who married John Ruskin’s ex-wife Effie. Finally, spend time with Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s terrifying The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888), where the guests of a Roman tyrant’s orgy are suffocated by thousands of pink petals.
Lord Leighton, who holds the record for the shortest-lived peerage in history after dying only one day after the accolade, presided over the late-nineteenth-century art for art’s sake world as President of the Royal Academy. Pay a visit to his magnificent home on Holland Park Road with its unique Leighton House Arab hall, and feast on the magnificence and paradox of a period often stereotyped as stuffy and repressed. This collection at Leighton House will change your mind forever.
Why not see Emma Thompson's original screenplay about the fascinating story of Euphemia 'Effie' Gray at Leighton's Studio in a special screening on Monday 8 December, 6.30pm. Click here to book tickets.
|What||A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón collection, Leighton House Museum|
|Where||Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London , W14 8LZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||High Street Kensington (underground)|
14 Nov 14 – 29 Mar 15, 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
|Price||£10, concessions £6|
|Website||Click here for more information|