How often do you visit a place, a building or an art exhibition and discover later that you have missed key details? One of the joys of going back again to places where you have been before is that you discover new things that you didn’t spot on previous visits.
At Two Temple Place, built in the 1890′s as the estate office for William Astor, he wanted to show that, while the building was in many ways traditional in its architectural style, it contained the latest in technology. Thus, the cherubs standing at the entrance are holding a light bulb and a telephone receiver, showing the new technology that visitors would find inside. How many people notice these as they walk up the steps into the building?
This year’s annual exhibition which was due to run until next week before it closed due to the current health situation, drawn from museums and galleries across England, focused on seven women collectors of textiles from traditional examples in the early 18th century across Europe to contemporary work by artists including Hiroyuku Shindo, Michael Brennand-Wood, Eduardo Portillo & Maria Eugenia Davina and Yinka Shonibare, all displayed against the historic architecture of this wonderful building – in many ways these modern and contemporary works were the highlight of the exhibition, showing a traditional craft continued into the 21st century.
Sadly the exhibition was cut short by the closure of museums and galleries across the country, but we can look forward to 2021 and next year’s annual exhibition.
As an addendum, Messums in Wiltshire have just opened their new exhibition ‘Material: Textile’, showing a wide range of textiles by some of the most important female designers working in Britain in the mid-twentieth century, including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag and Barbara Brownmany, many sold through fashionable department stores and interior design outlets in their day. In the current environment, this exhibition is available online here.