Tuesday, September 23, 2008

London Open House Weekend - 20 September 2008

Canning PassageOnce again the London Open House Weekend has rolled around and once again it was wonderful weather for it. This year we, again, missed out on tickets to Mansion House so concentrated on the Kensington area.

Linley Sambourne House had timed tickets so we were there fairly early to ensure we got tickets and while we were waiting for our Kyoto Garden, Holland Park12-noon tour slot to come round we went to our other choice, Leighton House Museum.

Leighton House was the home of the 19th C painter Fredrick (later Lord) Leighton and is a little slice of Moroccan fantasy plonked into west London. The Arab Hall is quite stunning and although very reminiscent of Moorish architecture and design had failed in one small detail, there are animals and birds in some of the tiles decorating the room, something that is strictly forbidden in Islamic art and design.

View from the Roof GardensAs well as many of his own works there are other contemporary art works as well as a gallery area that was hosting show by a modern Moroccan artist. His works were very unusual and quite captivating.

From the exotic we went to the homely as we visited Linely Sambourne House, the Victorian home of a quite different artist, a Punch cartoonist. The house is basically unchanged from the furnishings and d├ęcor of the late Victorian era and it has survived through three generations from that time because, as our guide Flamingos 6 floors upexplained, there has never been ‘another wife’ living here. The sons never married and it was passed on down to a grandniece.

As the Kensington Roof Gardens were also open to the public we had another look at them and the two flamingos that live in a stream 6 floors up in West London.

Coupled with a walk around the Kensington area, it was a beautiful late summer day.

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