Holland Park sees the rebirth of a grand pleasure dome

In Holland Park, a magnificent pleasure dome has been revived.
A stately pleasure dome is reborn in Holland Park

Key Takeaways:

  • What a feeling of elation to be back at Leighton House in Holland Park, officially open again following a delicate redevelopment.
  • Senior caretaker Daniel Robbins of Leighton House told us about Sambourne, who is now best known for his work as an artist for Punch, during our visit.

What euphoria to be once again at Leighton House in Holland Park, open again finally after a fragile redevelopment. When the home of the craftsman Frederic Leighton (1830-96), it’s London’s trick of the trade: Victorian redbrick without an orientalist dream inside.

For my purposes, the feature of the £8m project is the reclamation of Leighton’s colder time of year studio, presently dissipated with old wooden easels; the structure’s primary attractions remain the very same. 

Regardless of how frequently I visit, I can never move past the Middle Easterner corridor, in which a wellspring plays underneath a tremendously brilliant vault. Assuming it’s frantic, it’s additionally flawless. 

Stroll around, and you hope to smell flower petals and cardamom; difficult to accept, as your jaw swings, that Waitrose and M&S are just minutes away.

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The overseers of Leighton House additionally cared for its sister gallery and close neighbor, Sambourne House, the terraced home of the artist Linley Sambourne (1844-1910). 

During our visit, Daniel Robbins, Leighton House’s senior caretaker, recounted Sambourne, most popular now as a Punch illustrator. Leighton once welcomed him to dinner, which probably offered him more than adequate chance to behold the uncommon insides of his single guy cushion. 

However, confronted with its peacock-blue tiles and plated sections, its perplexing latticework windows and cabinets trimmed with lapis lazuli, Sambourne returned home and composed only three words in his journal: “Food not terrible, but not great either.”

As winter draws near, I’m apportioning my life not with espresso spoons but rather with candles. In my experience growing up, candles were both ordinary and seldom seen, kept in a container at the basement head in the event of power outages. 

In Holland Park, a magnificent pleasure dome has been revived.
In Holland Park, a magnificent pleasure dome has been revived. Image from The Guardian

I can – pretty much – recall from the 1970s. Yet, sooner or later in my adulthood, they became double extravagant and universal: utilized either to make climate (let us not convey the word hygge) or lavishly to fragrance a space for the motivations behind unwinding (or something like that). Candles are a bizarre sign of cultural riches – maybe I mean of its debauchery.

A few evenings ago, my little niece unobtrusively noted (from a child’s perspective and so on) that, because of this turn of events, the English working classes are remarkably – and to some degree peculiarly – ready for the power cuts we might experience this colder time of year. 

Our telephones and PCs will run out of battery, leaving us as defenseless as moles. Yet, in contrast to those creatures, we’ll have the option to see. What number of candles do you possess? She asked me critically. I conceded the figure was very high: around twelve. At this, she could feign exacerbation. 

Having painstakingly reviewed the assortment at home, she was satisfied to uncover to me, and every other person around the table, that she had counted 83.

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