Leighton House Museum has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £337,000 towards the planning and development of the final phase of its restoration programme, reports the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
In 2010 the major restoration of Leighton House Museum was completed, recreating the exotic interiors that Leighton devised and furnishing them as he intended.
The museum will now embark on a third and final phase concentrating on the extensions added to the east end of the building, first in the late 1920s and then in the mid-1950s, long after Leighton’s death.
The support from National Lottery players will allow the museum to begin detailed planning and development of a project that will transform the visitor experience. Public areas will be increased by over a third with new facilities created including an additional exhibition gallery, new learning and interpretation spaces and the restoration of the original fabric of the building lost within the later extensions.
The Friends of Leighton House will play a leading role in fundraising for the project with Sir David Verey CBE agreeing to become Chair and Lady Verey as Vice Chair. Sir David is a former Chairman of the Trustees of the Tate and the Art Fund and is currently the Lead non-Executive Director at the Department of Culture Media and Sport and a member of the Council of the British Council. He was knighted in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to arts philanthropy. Sir David brings a wealth of experience to the role, and as a local resident together with Lady Verey, has had a long-term interest in Leighton House Museum.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has announced Viscount Linley as Patron of Leighton House Museum and its sister museum 18 Stafford Terrace.
Viscount Linley is Honorary Chairman for Christie’s in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India and as a leading furniture maker has a keen interest in the history of interior design. He is the great-great-grandson of Edward Linley Sambourne who lived at 18 Stafford Terrace from 1875. Together with Leighton House, 18 Stafford Terrace, is now owned and operated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is preserved as a unique example of a Victorian artistic interior.
Councillor Timothy Coleridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member with responsibility for Arts said: “The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is thrilled to receive a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the planning and redevelopment of Leighton House Museum. Our ambition is to secure a long term future for the museum and allow greater access and enjoyment of this special place for residents of the Royal Borough and visitors from all over the world. We are equally delighted that Viscount Linley has agreed to become our Patron and look forward to working with both him and Sir David Verey as we enter this exciting phase in the history of our two museums.”
Viscount Linley, Patron of Leighton House Museum and 18 Stafford Terrace said: “I have always admired the extraordinary interiors of Leighton House and those at 18 Stafford Terrace created by my ancestor Edward Linley Sambourne and his family. I am delighted to have accepted the position of Patron of these two special places and look forward to supporting the exciting plans for their future as they unfold.”
Sir David Verey, Chair of the Friends of Leighton House said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed Chair of the Friends of Leighton House. This is a small yet world-class museum whose collection and calendar of exhibitions tell the unique story of a great British artist and his contemporaries. I look forward to being involved in the museum’s final phase of restoration. With the Design Museum opening just three minutes’ walk from Leighton House, the timing could not be better as a new cultural quarter begins to emerge in Kensington.”
Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator at Leighton House Museum said: “We are delighted to receive the funding from HLF towards the planning of this vital project. With the interiors of the house restored, we need to provide our growing number of visitors with the facilities and amenities expected of a modern day museum. Once the project has been completed, we will be able to showcase much more of our collection and tell the full story of the Holland Park Circle, the unique group of studio-houses that surround the museum.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: "Leighton House Museum is truly a remarkable gem in the heart of London; an eclectic mix of grand Victorian life, art and passion. And now, thanks to National Lottery player's, this historic house will begin its final phase of transformation, offering the public greater facilities and more details on the treasures within."