Having a National Art Pass, I hear about lots of places to visit that I wouldn’t otherwise have heard of. One of these is Two Temple Place. Located on the bank of the Thames near Temple Station, it is a little-known gem, a beautiful house that was originally built by William Waldorf Astor in the late nineteenth century.
The house hosts free exhibitions of publicly-owned art during the first quarter of each year. The current exhibition is called Amongst Heroes: the artist in working Cornwall, and is a significant exhibition exploring the themes and images represented in Cornish art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There are some fascinating paintings in the exhibition: some of them are historically significant, showing the way people on the Cornish coast lived (with a strong focus on fishing, mining and other forms of work) and many of them are beautiful, showing the impressive nature of the Cornish landscape.
Even more than the exhibition, I loved the house itself. Though it was designed and built just over a hundred years ago, it has the look of a medieval mansion with lots of panelled wood and ornate fireplaces. Astor clearly loved literature – the staircase is dotted with figures from Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers and scenes from Shakespeare decorate the panels along the top of the wall.
Address: London, WC2R 3BD
Opening Hours: 10am-4.30pm (9pm on Wednesdays) January-April during exhibitions