London Day 9: Onward and Outward
After a week fueled by adrenaline and excitement, we anticipate that Week 2 will require a more tactical approach to maintaining our energy. We’re getting the hang of our packed days: we know to fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast, to enjoy tea breaks when offered, and (as our itinerary so kindly suggests) to never pass an available loo. With these lessons and refreshed after a free day, we were ready to immerse ourselves in the world of 19th century England.
Leighton House Museum
We began Monday at Leighton House Museum, home and studio of Frederick, Lord Leighton. A successful Victorian painter, Leighton’s highly ornamented Aesthetic interiors reflect his artistic inspirations and deep interest in the cultures of the Islamic and Medieval worlds. These densely layered motifs are employed in his architectural designs, as well as in the paintings and objects he collected in his travels and bought from his contemporaries.
The Arab Hall in the Leighton House (photo courtesy of Artfund.org)
Keeping the theme of Victorian artistic movements, we next visited Kelmscott House, site of the Kelmscott Press and the last home of William Morris. Here, the charming Pete regaled us with an abbreviated history of Morris’ life and his leading inspirations.
Pete displaying a William Morris wallpaper design
At our last visit, to the Wallace Collection, curator Helen Jacobsen introduced us to the museum’s French decorative arts, assembled by the Marquesses of Hertford during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The third Marquess regularly acted as a buying agent for King George IV, thus, the Wallace provided an interesting parallel to Buckingham Palace. Conservator Jurgen Huber explained the processes employed and copied by French cabinetmakers, such as boulle and Japanese lacquer work. These highly skilled techniques and processes were largely new to us, and, I suspect, will provide us with a new perspective on French influences in the Winterthur collection.
An early cabinet by André-Charles Boulle
A 1739 commode by Antoine-Robert Gaudreaus for Louis XV’s bedchamber at Versailles
By Lan Morgan, WPAMC Class of 2017