Leighton House and Sambourne House are home to a unique collection of paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings and furnishings relating to the lives of the two artists who lived there.
History of the collections
The artist Frederic Leighton died in 1896 and his entire collection of paintings, drawings, prints, engravings and ceramics was sold at auction by Christie, Manson and Woods, leaving the house as a virtual empty shell. It fell to Leighton’s near neighbour, Emilie Barrington and the Leighton House Committee, newly formed in 1897, to re-assemble a representative body of some of Leighton’s artworks to display throughout the interiors. These remain the core of the collections today and work is ongoing to retrieve items from his original collection. Leighton himself was a skilled and painstaking draughtsman, and the Museum has over 700 sheets of his drawings.
The Sambourne House collections include an extensive array of drawings, photographs and furnishings owned and used by three generations of the Sambourne family. The museum holds a significant collection of Linley Sambourne’s drawings for Punch Magazine, as well as his work on other projects including Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies. Alongside these sit Sambourne’s photographic archive of over 30,000 images, which were used to aid the production of his cartoons and provide a unique insight into his artistic world.