We are always working to improve the condition and storage of the collections. Recent projects have included the conservation of works on paper by artists including George Price Boyce, Henry Holiday and George Howard which was supported by the Friends. Extensive work was carried out on the paintings collection following a successful ‘Adopt a Picture’ campaign in 2009-10 and the Friends also funded the cleaning and lining of the copy of The Creation of Adam that hangs over the main staircase at the house. Future projects include a rolling programme to improve the condition of the textiles at 18 Stafford Terrace and work to conserve and restore the plaster maquette of Leighton’s memorial by Thomas Brock installed in the north aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Previous fundraising campaigns
Finishing the finial
On top of the dome of the Arab Hall is an iron finial featuring a modified symbol of a crescent moon. During the restoration of the museum in 2009-10 it was discovered that this finial, currently painted white, was original gilded. The finial is now once more gleaming above the dome of the Arab Hall.
Current fundraising campaign
In 1944, a Second World War bomb fell just outside Leighton House, demolishing the original gates, a section of the boundary wall and leaving a gaping hole where the front steps into the house had been. The damage was repaired but the original stone steps were rebuilt to a different configuration. A wooden trellis that originally separated the front entrance from the servants’ entrance was lost and the two original gates, designed by the architect of the house, George Aitchison, were replaced by standard iron gates.
The present iron gates and railings were installed in the early 1990s. We are now seeking to raise £25,000 to reinstate the gates and trellis and rebuild the damaged front steps to conform to the surviving photographs of the original arrangements. Doing so will complete the restoration of the street façade of the house and greatly enhance the environment of the museum, replacing the ‘institutional’ feel of the forecourt with the original domestic character that Leighton knew.