History of the Leighton Drawings Collections

When Leighton died in 1896, at least 1000 of his own drawings were in his possession, stored in the studio where he worked. The contents of his house was subsequently sold, including the drawings, almost all of which were bought by the Fine Art Society.

Acknowledgement of the importance of Leighton’s studies led a group of his supporters, including ‘his sisters … H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and other of his personal friends’, to form a Committee:

…in order that a record of the unrivalled power and versatility as a draughtsman possessed by this great artist should be secured for the permanent benefit of the public.

A collection of the drawings were selected and purchased by the Committee with the help of benefactors, encouraged to sponsor individual drawings. It was the Committee’s intention that this collection would find a permanent home at the artist’s former home in Kensington. This was achieved when Leighton House Museum and its contents were taken over by the Borough of Kensington (now the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) in 1926.

Over the years, further drawings have been purchased or donated to the Museum, bringing the total collection to approximately 675 works. Before the Leighton Drawings Project was undertaken, resources had not been available to make full use of this, the largest and richest collection of Leighton’s work as a draughtsman in the world.

Contact information

To contact staff at Leighton House please email museums@rbkc.gov.uk.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery fund

Related sites

Leighton House Museum

18 Stafford Terrace


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Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7602 3316 | Legal Notices | email: leightondrawings@rbkc.gov.uk

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