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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.

Two Temple Place

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.

An ornate door

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.

The staircase
The house is open until 14 April for the duration of the exhibition, after which it will close until next year. I definitely recommend a visit – it’s an unusual and beautiful place.

FACTS

Address: London, WC2R 3BD

Website: twotempleplace.org

Opening Hours: 10am-4.30pm (9pm on Wednesdays) January-April during exhibitions

Prices: Free

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