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Leighton House Sambourne House

2024-25 Exhibitions announced

From a rarely-seen collection of dresses from the Sambourne family to a major survey of landscape art produced and collected by Frederic Leighton, our upcoming exhibition programme dives deeper into the rich history of Victorian art, culture and fashion.

Out Shopping. Details of dresses on display.

Leighton House has just announced a new exhibition programme for 2024 and 2025, which includes major exhibitions on display across the museum and nearby Sambourne House, featuring rarely-seen pieces from the museums' collections as well as international loans.


Out Shopping: The dresses of Marion and Maud Sambourne (1880-1910)

23 March - 20 October 2024 at Leighton House and Sambourne House

A curated selection of spectacular outfits, several never displayed before and others rare surviving examples by leading dressmakers of the era, this exhibition will tell the story of a middle-class mother and her affluent daughter, Marion Sambourne and Maud Messel, at a moment in history that significantly shaped the way fashion is consumed today.


The exhibition will place these dresses in the context of their wearers’ lives and relationship, both with fashion and each other – speaking of their shopping habits and distinct tastes, and more generally, the important role fashion shopping played in the lives of women in this period.

For the first time in the history of the museums, the exhibitions will span across three spaces – the two exhibition galleries at Leighton House with an additional display and a documentary film at nearby Sambourne House, offering an immersive experience for visitors. 


With thanks to The Friends of Leighton House, the Pilgrim Trust, the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation and The Costume Society, which have generously supported the extensive conservation work of the dresses in the exhibition.

Leighton and Landscape

16 November 2024 - 27 April 2025 at Leighton House

This first major exhibition of Frederic Leighton’s work, following the reopening of the museum in October 2022, will focus on the artist’s production of small en plein air landscape sketches, created between 1850 up until his death in 1896. Many of these delicate artworks will be returning to Leighton's house for the first time over 120 years, placing them back in the context of where they were originally displayed.


Despite the beauty and significance of Leighton’s landscape sketches there is little public awareness of them. This exhibition will bring together c.40 of these works from private and public collections to explore the position they occupied in his career, and what they say about him as an artist. Leighton’s landscape sketches connect his art, his travels throughout Europe, Middle East and North Africa and his home, bringing together much of what makes Leighton such an interesting figure.


The exhibition will be co-curated by Dr. Pola Durajska. Dr Durajska completed a PhD thesis on Leighton’s landscape painting in 2021 and now works at auctioneers Bearnes, Hampton and Littlewood, Exeter.


“We are hoping both exhibitions will uncover aspects of the museums’ collection that have remained partially unseen, from spectacular dresses to modest and delicate works of art. The women of the Sambourne family will take centre stage and Leighton’s obsession with travel will be explored through his lesser-known work as a masterful landscapist.”

Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator, Leighton House and Sambourne House

Frederic Leighton, View of Maqam al-Arba’in, Mount Qasioun, Damascus (detail)