2 Temple Place – last chance to see

Looking down into the 2 Temple Place entrance hall at an exhibit of beetles. Note the carving of one of the Three Musketeers at the foot of the staircase

Looking down at an exhibit of beetles in the marbled entrance hall at 2 Temple Place. Note the carving of one of the Three Musketeers at the foot of the staircase

‘Cotton to Gold’ at 2 Temple Place in London ends this week. It is an eclectic exhibition based on the collections of Victorian Lancashire magnates who made their money in industries such as rope, brewing and cotton machinery. The exhibits include medieval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass, Japanese prints, Byzantine icons, ivory sculptures – and preserved beetles and a Peruvian mummy.

Of particular interest to me were the displays of paintings and drawings by some the leading magazine and book illustrators of the day, including Millais, Tom Browne, Harry Furniss and Garth Jones. Most of these are from the collection of 500 works made by James Hardcastle that is held at Towneley Hall. Several of these illustrators are known as black and white illustrators, but Harry Rowntree’s smoking rabbit on a bicycle is in colour and there is a superb portrait of a monocled cat by Louis Wain.
And while you’re there, take a good luck at the building itself, designed by John Loughborough Pearson and completed in 1895. It was a mansion on London’s Embankment for one of the world’s richest men, William Waldorf Astor. He owned the Pall Mall Gazette, Pall Mall Magazine and the Observer newspaper. Such is the grandure of 2 Temple Place that it was used for a Downton wedding. When you go, note the high-tech cherubs on the steps at the entrance – one is using a telephone and the other a telegraph machine, both of which Astor had installed in the house!
Nearby on the Embankment is the monument to the pioneering journalist and Pall Mall Gazette editor WT Stead, who died on the Titanic. There is an identical monument in New York’s Central Park.
On Sunday (19th), the works return to their homes: Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Haworth Art Gallery (Accrington) and Towneley Hall (Burnley).
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One Response to “2 Temple Place – last chance to see”

  1. Needlecraft and the craft of the magazine | Magforum Says:

    […] Magazines from Bolton are rare, but in the 1920s Lancashire was still at the heart of the cotton and spinning industry and there were big advertisers such as Clark’s whose marketing for ‘Anchor’ thread below would have been vital it keeping the magazine profitable. The Anchor thread brand is still going as part of the Coats group, which traces itself back 250 years to the Clark brothers and weavers in Paisley, Scotland. The wealth of Lancashire from the industrial revolution was on display this year at 2 Temple Place in the Cotton to Gold exhibition. […]

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