Ever heard of Two Temple Place? No I thought not… apparently its London’s first venue to specifically showcase publicly-owned art from around the UK. And believe me, there is a surprising amount of it… the Daily Mail is always banging on about Rembrants in provincial fire stations, and Picassos up lighthouses etc etc. (For a more accurate view do click here to have a look at Public Art Online.)
The building itself is one of London’s hidden architectural gems, an extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on Embankment, and in and of itself is well worth poking about in. But the inaugural exhibition is the clincher for me… it looks at how William Morris told stories through pattern and poetry. It examines the tales and myths that were most important to him, such as the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Norse saga, Arthurian legend and Greek myth.
Morris returned to the same stories throughout his artistic career, and this exhibition explores his continued fascination by arranging the works according to the tale they tell rather than their medium. Five rarely seen panels of the embroidered frieze ‘The Romaunt of the Rose’ are exhibited together with editions of ‘The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer’, elaborately illustrated by Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and printed by Morris’ private press. Both the frieze and Chaucer drew inspiration from the French medieval text the ‘Roman de la Rose’ (Romance of the Rose). This will be the first time that these exquisite panels have been seen since their recent conservation by The Royal School of Needlework.
The bad news is that you have to go soon… (and there is a good chance that you will bump into me and my mum… we are going for her Christmas present…) the Morris exhibition is only on till 29th January 2012, but it is all FREE (dont tell mum!)
Full details from the Two Temple Place website here.
PS, ever noticed that almost all depictions of male angels are ginger? Especially Pre-Raphaelite ones? Hmm…