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Orientalism was an obsession with many rich Victorians. But the painter Frederick Leighton went to extraordinary lengths to create his pink, black, blue and gold domed Arab Hall in London. By Caroline Juler. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg
Leighton House, home of the eminent Victorian painter Frederick leighton, is a monument to the Victorians’ love of Islamic art. From the street, the house is perhaps a little disappointing – no grand entrance, no crenelled archway stiff with carved gryphons and ivy – for Leighton House was designed primarily as an artist’s studio and its architect kept the outside deliberately plain, saving the exciting touches for the interior.
Leighton had commissioned George Aitchison to build him a house-cum-studio after the two became friends in Italy. They worked closely together on the plans and Aitchison designed much of the furniture, including cabinets, bookcases, fireplaces, balusters and mouldings.
He completed the first phase in 1866, making the house one of the first live-in studios of its kind in London.
Leighton House is at 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 8LZ.
It is open to the public daily 10am – 5.30pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Monday to Friday: +44 (0) 20 7602 3316
Saturday and Sunday: +44 (0) 20 7471 9160
In the early nineteenth century the redoubtable Englishman John Barker built a country retreat in the province of Hatay, close to the present-day Syrian border, planting his estate with exotic fruit trees, watching over the British Empire’s Indian Mail, and entertaining guests with music on the mechanical organ. David Morray looks back on the golden age of ‘Suedia Hall’
From the art capitals of the world, a round-up of Islamic and Orientalist art
The traditional tent of Central Asian nomads is a pleasure dome fit for the gods, says Tim Beddow
Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi was the last Chief Physician to the Ottoman court, a scholar and a reformer. But plants were his passion. His gardens have gone, but the house lives on. By Patricia Daunt. Photographs: Simon Upton
Süleyman the Magnificent’s city within a city above the Golden Horn has come to house one of the world’s finest collections of books and ancient manuscripts.
When the intrepid Lady Mary Wortley Montagu travelled with her husband’s embassy to Turkey in 1716, she recorded the minutiae of life on the road and in her ‘new world’. . Remarkably open-minded, her innocent observations inspired Ingres to paint some of the greatest erotic masterpieces of the Romantic movement.
‘There are not so many places left where magic reigns without interruption,’ wrote Freya Stark in The Lycian Shore, ‘and of all those I know, the coast of Lycia was the most magical.’ Barnaby Rogerson went with Rose Baring and four-month-old Molly in search of enchantment. Photographs by Faruk Akbas
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