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Inside of Leighton House Museum

This Kensington art museum will take care of your lockdown boredom

A Kensington museum used lockdown to provide at home learning opportunity for children and art lovers.

With the sale of art products going up during lockdown, Leighton House started to provide online learning opportunities, including painting and embroidery tutorials, in March.

The museum used to be the home and studio of the celebrated Victorian artist, collector and traveller Frederic Leighton.

Daniel Robbins, senior curator, said: “Like lots of people, we had never really thought about online.

“It was a learning process for everybody, but we’re really pleased with how it’s gone, and realising this is a way of exchanging audiences.

“Amidst all the challenges of not being able to open the museum and the delays that our capital project encountered, it has been a tremendously positive experience.”

Leighton House saw their audience expand all over the world, doubling their page views on the learning section of their website from 300 to 600 between April and October.

Robbins added that the presence of audience from the Middle East confirms that there is an interest in activities that explore the Islamic heritage of the buildings.

Laila, born in Iran and living in London, used the workshops led by artist Laurelie Rae to reconnect to her love for art.

Laila said: “It’s not just a practical thing, it gives so much context about the Islamic art, the history and connection with the British arts and crafts movement and of course the museum pieces we are working with.”

Leighton House will launch its Virtual Festive Fair on 1st December, which aims to re-discover the silk routes through ethically sourced products, including saffron from Laila’s business, Attar the Apothecary.

Robbins said: “The actual ability to have a live event that is more interesting and interactive is a feeling that although you are still at home in your house, in your room in front of your computer, you are involved in a joint enterprise with lots of people simultaneously participating.

“Lord Leighton didn’t just walk up to the canvas and start painting away.

“His process was incredibly laborious, sort of systematic and he stuck to it very rigidly.

“He was an incredibly disciplined person.”

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