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Leighton House

Past exhibitions at Leighton House

Our programme of past exhibitions combined blockbuster shows featuring the work of eminent Victorian artists as well as intimate  displays dedicated to contemporary visual art, photography, textiles and ceramics.

Visitors to the A Victorian Obsession exhibition, Leighton House, 2014.

Lovers of Apadana. Bita Ghezelayagh

6 October to 5 December 2018

A new collection of work by Bita Ghezelayagh which utilises traditional textiles to explore universal themes of love and war, whilst also paying attention to the small dissonances that colour our everyday lives.  In this body of work, she deployed her trademark textiles of velvet, silk, felt and carpet fragments in masterful and inventive ways; transforming them into both abstract shapes and courting lovers.
The ingredients of Ghezelayagh’s work may be Middle Eastern, but the flavours are universal and understandable for all. Ghezelayagh’s international appeal is demonstrated by the range of institutions that hold her work in their permanent collections, including the British Museum, the Jameel Foundation in Saudi Arabia, the Farjam Foundation in Dubai, the Devi Art Foundation in Delhi and the Lajeverdi Foundation in Tehran.

Lovers of Apadana exhibition at Leighton House, 2018.

Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity

7 July to 29 October 2017

Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity was the largest exhibition devoted to the celebrated Victorian artist held in London since 1913. Originated by the Fries Museum in the Netherlands, over 130 works were displayed throughout the entire house, exploring Alma-Tadema’s fascination with the representation of domestic life in antiquity. The exhibition also analysed how this interest related to his own domestic circumstances, expressed through the two remarkable studio-houses that he created in St John’s Wood, London, together with his wife Laura and daughters.


Watch the exhibition short film

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Flaming June: The Making of an Icon

4 November 2016 to 2 April 2017

Depicting a sensual, sun-drenched, sleeping female figure wrapped in orange draperies against a Mediterranean backdrop, the exhibition explored the extraordinary story of Flaming June: from its creation in Leighton’s studio and its first critical reception at the Royal Academy, to its ‘disappearance’ and then discovery in the twentieth century. Part of the permanent collections at the Museo de Ponce in Puerto Rico and celebrated worldwide, the exhibition at Leighton House presented this iconic painting alongside four other works by Leighton, which formed part of his final submission to the Royal Academy in 1895.


Watch the exhibition short film

Seven Halts on the Somme. Hughie O'Donoghue RA

29 July to 2 October 2016

Coinciding with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, this exhibition showcased the progress endured by British soldiers between July and November 1916 along the seven halts on The Somme, exploring and revealing the ways in which remembrance and consciousness evolve. Hughie O’Donoghue’s awareness of the Battle of the Somme began as a child, but his most intense engagement occurred during a residency in the Drawing Schools at Eton College (2013 – 2014) where he researched the seven halts further in the College’s First World War archive.

Artist Hughie O'Donoghue at Leighton House. Image courtesy of Kevin Moran.

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper

12 February - 2 May 2016

The remarkable collection of Canadian Dr Dennis Lanigan was on display at Leighton House,  in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, showcasing over 100 works on paper by the most prominent Victorian and Pre- Raphaelites artists, including Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Poynter and Frederic Leighton himself. From preparatory sketches to highly finished drawings intended as works of art  themselves, the exhibition presented diverse ways in which Victorian artists used drawing to further their artistic practice, creating images of great beauty and accomplishment.


Watch the exhibition short film

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper at Leighton House, 2016.

The Guardians of the Prophet's Mosque. Adel Quraishi

21 October to 29 November 2015

Saudi photographer Adel Quraishi is the only man to have been permitted to photograph the eight remaining ‘Guardians’ of the Prophet’s Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Nabawī), in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Once numbered in the hundreds, the role of the Guardian dates back to the 11th-century as the keepers of the keys to the Prophet Muhammad’s burial chamber. Rendered on a large scale, it was impossible not to be moved by the connection between viewer and subject when confronted with these images.


Watch the exhibition short film

The Guardians (of the Prophet's Mosque) at Leighton House, 2015

Kissing Amnesia. Raed Yassin

13 July to 2 August 2015

Kissing Amnesia presented a series of beautiful porcelain vases depicting battles from the Lebanese war alongside colourful and ornamental embroideries that stitched together Raed Yassin's childhood memories. Raed is an artist and musician and he develops his conceptual practice through multiple mediums such as video, sound, photography, text, sculpture and performance. The exhibition was organised in partnership with Shubbak Festival. 

Kissing Amnesia by Raed Yassin, Leighton House, 2015

A Victorian Obsession

14 November 2014  to 6 April 2015

A Victorian Obsession. The Pérez Simón collection at Leighton House Museum presented over fifty exceptional and rarely exhibited paintings by leading Victorian artists. All works belong to the Mexican collector Juan Antonio Pérez Simón and form the largest private collection of Victorian art outside the UK. Six important pictures by Leighton himself made their return to the house in which they were first painted. The highlight of the collection was the magnificent The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888)  by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, one of the most iconic images in Victorian art .

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Get in touch

For further information about our past exhibitions, please get in touch:


Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator

Email: [email protected]