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.
Shahrzad Ghaffari: Journey to Oneness
28 April to 1 October 2023 | Verey Exhibition Gallery
Following the commission of the striking mural Oneness in the new helical staircase at Leighton House, the museum presented a curated selection of rarely seen works from the last fifteen years of Ghaffari’s career, exploring themes of love, spirituality and identity, ideas which also informed the creation of the mural.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Shahrzad Ghaffari began painting at an early age. Coming from a family of renowned painters such as Sani-ol-Molk Ghaffari (1814-1866) and Kamal-ol-Molk Ghaffari (1848-1940), she studied graphic design for three years at Azad University, Tehran then returned to painting. Her early interest in painting, was matched by a fascination with poetry, in particular the work of Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207-1273). The coming together of her two passions inspired many of the paintings in this exhibition.
Evelyn De Morgan: The Gold Drawings
11 March to 1 October 2023 | Tavolozza Drawings Gallery
A radiant exhibition exploring De Morgan’s unique practice of making gold drawings. De Morgan initially discovered this technique through one of her contemporaries, fellow artist Edward Burne-Jones but her works went beyond this initial inspiration. Using solid blocks of pure gold pigment and grinding them to a powder, she invented crayons and paints that she then specifically applied to the production of her drawings, which remain luminous today.
“Evelyn De Morgan’s artistic skill and innovative approach, particularly with her gold drawings, are rarely discussed in critical appraisals of her work, overshadowed by her interesting biography and the rich visual symbolism in her paintings. This new exhibition at Leighton House recognises De Morgan as an ambitious artist on the same merits as her male counterparts.”
Sarah Hardy, Director of the De Morgan Museum and exhibition curator
Artists and Neighbours: The Holland Park Circle
15 October 2022 to 19 March 2023 | Verey Exhibition Gallery
In the late nineteenth century, a unique community of artists’ studio-houses grew up around Holland Park. Many of these artists rose to the height of their profession, acquiring celebrity status and creating remarkable studio-homes which reflected their commercial success. Since 2020, Leighton House has expanded its collection of new acquisitions by the Holland Park Circle of artists, acquiring paintings by James Jebusa Shannon, Colin Hunter and Albert Moore, which were part of this exhibition.
The women of the Holland Park Circle played a key role in fostering its artist community, but this, like so many other places in history, is an element that has often been left untold.
A Life of Drawing: Highlights from the Leighton House collection
15 October 2022 to 19 February 2023 | Tavolozza Drawings Gallery
A reopening exhibition showcasing a selection of the most stunning drawings by Frederic Leighton, most of them rarely seen before.
Leighton preserved hundreds of his drawings in his own archives and they became lifelong sources of inspiration that he returned to over and over again as he planned his art. After the artist’s death in 1896, his close friend and neighbour, Emilie Barrington, gathered as many of his drawings as possible for the public collection she helped to establish at Leighton House. As she wrote, Leighton’s drawings were more than mere sketches; rather, they were “the spirit itself of the picture.”
Displays and special commissions
Nour Hage: Kheit
28 April to 16 July 2023
Displayed in the Drawing Room at Leighton House, Kheit by British-Lebanese textile artist Nour Hage showcases commissioned artwork based on Hage’s reinterpretation of visual symbolisms from the Arab Hall and inspired by the museum's recently acquired collection of antique textiles. Alongside the artist’s solo pieces, a collaborative project was devised with a group of local residents, deepening the understanding of talismanic objects and their power .
Kheit is a collaboration between Leighton House and The Arab British Centre and it was funded by The Barakat Trust’s Hands on Islamic Art grant.
Exhibitions 2014 - 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, with over 130 works displayed throughout the entire house.
Flaming June: The Making of an Icon
4 November 2016 to 2 April 2017
The all-times Victorian masterpiece was reunited with four other works by Leighton, which formed part of his final submission to the Royal Academy in 1895.
Pre-Raphaelites on Paper
12 February - 2 May 2016
Over 100 works on paper by the most prominent Victorian and Pre- Raphaelites artists, from the collection of of Canadian Dr Dennis Lanigan. In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa,
A Victorian Obsession. The Pérez Simón Collection
14 November 2014 to 6 April 2015
An exhibition of over fifty exceptional and rarely exhibited paintings by leading Victorian artists. 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 .