Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hidden Victorian Treasures in West London

Thanks to Jim’s enterprising on-line discoveries, today we enjoyed seeing one of the most beautiful Victorian era houses in Kensington. The Sambourne house survived practically unchanged from when its residents lived there from 1867 through the 1890s. Edward Linley Sambourne was a cartoonist for the famed magazine Punch. His son lived in the house until the 1940s and eventually it passed through descendents, including his great-grandson Lord Snowdon, to the Victorian Society and then the borough. Imagine original Morris Arts and Craft movement wallpaper as a background for French furniture, Asian ceramics and much, much more. Our tour, booked by Jim in the USA, had only six guests and the tour guide, since walk-ins are not allowed. The Sambournes knew all the famous artists and writers of their day, and mementoes are strewn all over the house. After a pleasant Italian lunch with some delicious pumpkin raviolis at a restaurant called Sopranos we toured the nearby house and studio of Lord Leighton, a Victorian artist who was knighted and ennobled by Queen Victoria. He was president of the Royal Academy and his house is totally different from the Victorian middle-class home of the Sambournes. At Leighton House the walls are covered with Syrian tiles and latticework Egyptian woodwork. There are also many paintings by Leighton and his contemporaries in the house. Though taking photographs is not allowed in either house, Jim has posted some pics of brochure photography on this blog, as well as images he took of the high Victorian era exteriors. Tonight we are off to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” by the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. –Dan

No comments: