Thursday, 16 May 2013

A Plutocrat’s Office on the Embankment in London ...



Yes this is an office – though frankly it’s not the immediate name I’d pin to this particular building : Two Temple Place ...
 
c/o Bulldog Trust

My journey there was, via recommendation by our Film Society Chairman, that the place was worth a visit, as particularly was the exhibition, on in the early part of the year:  ‘Amongst Heroes: the Artist in Working Cornwall’.


Well, yes, it is worth a visit to say the least ...  this ‘office’ resembles the mansion of a great Tudor nobleman, which is exactly the impression William Waldorf Astor, for whom it was built, wanted to portray.

 
c/o Bulldog Trust
Astor was a great grandson of John Jacob Astor, founder of one of America’s most celebrated plutocratic dynasties ... having failed to be elected to Congress, he was appointed American Minister to Rome ...


... Astor, a novelist himself, fell passionately in love with European history, culture and art. 


Astor’s father died in 1890, bequeathing him a (small!) fortune of $100 million – due to family disagreements, Astor left America and set up house in London.


This prominent setting overlooking the Thames was intended as an office – the family home was further west in the much more fashionable surroundings of Carlton House Terrace.

 
c/o Bulldog Trust - one half of the Lower Gallery
I was completely bowled over by the workmanship... as the website says – it was built to elaborate specifications by Viscount Astor in 1895:


The imposing casket of Portland stone on the exterior, inside is a testament to the skills and expertise of some of the finest sculptors of the nineteenth century. 


The foretaste on seeing the exterior is quite overwhelmed by the superb quality of the building’s internal decorative schemes, for which a great number of artists and craftsmen were marshalled under the direction of the architect!!

 
One of Clayton and Bell's two
stained glass windows in the
Great Hall.
c/o The Victorian Web

I have given you a photographic taster of the building's wonderful and incredible surroundings ...



In 1999, Two Temple Place was bought by the Bulldog Trust, founded in 1983 by Richard Hoare, a partner in Hoare’s Bank, a short walk away in Fleet Street.



The Trust offers financial support for a wide range of charities, with a focus on education.  Funds are raised from dinners and other events.


However to make it better known, the trust has initiated a programme of temporary exhibitions designed as a showcase for publicly owned art from regional collections in the UK.


c/o Bulldog Trust
Its first exhibition was on ‘William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth’ – works drawn from the William Morris Gallery, Arts and Craft Movement, in Walthamstow, which is closed for refurbishment – I was extremely sorry I missed this exhibition.


Though the “Amongst Heroes: Working Artists in Cornwall” was based around the artists found in the Penwith peninsula – the St Ives, Lands End, Penzance, Falmouth, Camborne and Redruth  areas ...


"A Fish Sale" by Stanhope A Forbes
displayed at Two Temple Place
... artists recording the fishing industry, the trades of the sea, the trades across the sea, craftsmen working their traditional crafts, mining trades  ... these were brought together in one evocative exhibition – my mother would have loved the ‘Tudor Nobleman’s Palace’, together with the representation of the local heroes and their skills.


Post to follow on the Cornish Heroes ...


Please join us over at Sharon Mayhew’s blog on Tuesday, 21st May for “InternationalBe Positive Day” – and post, tweet, Facebook ... et al ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

67 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The stained glass is amazing. Next time I visit London I'll have to stop there. Missed it the first couple times.

D.G. Hudson said...

Looks impressive. I've never visited London, but hope to one day.

That William Morris exhibition would have been great to see, I learned about him in a Design course I took at art school.

Manzanita said...

I'm loving this post. I gasped when I saw the photo of the stairway, so reminiscent of the Romanesque mansion of Wm. Clark, one of the 3 main copper kings of early Butte, Montana. His was built a little earlier in 1884. The craftsmanship of the wood looks very similar. I had visited the Clark mansion many times and was there with friends who were upstairs and I stayed on the main floor and was studying the stairway. I experienced some very odd feelings and only afterward, heard people say it was haunted.

Jo said...

Love the skate in the last picture. Not something we see here very often.

Interesting place, never seen or heard of it before. If we ever come back must make a point to see it.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Gina Gao said...

I loved how the windows illuminates the room.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Susan Kane said...

What a palace! Would love to tour this, see the exhibits.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, could you imagine how much that 100 million dollars would be in today's world?

It looks like an amazing place.

Thanks for the shout out about International Be Positive Day. :)

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, what an office. Wish I had seen this when I visited London, maybe I'll be able to make it back again and see it another time. Love the stained glass window!

Suzanne Furness said...

Wow yes that is some 'office!' I have worked with children at school on local Cornish artists, the fisherman picture is very familiar.

JoJo said...

The stained glass is, of course, my fave part! What a cool building.

Chatty Crone said...

I wish I could go to London and see that stained glass myself. And those rooms have you seen anything like it - they are big enough to put my house in it. Amazing to know there is so much wealth in the world. Very interesting. Sandie

Janie Junebug said...

I love beautiful old buildings and homes. I saw the Vanderbilt's mansion in Hyde Park, New York, quite a few years ago. It was quite impressive.

Love,
Janie

Inger said...

what a great place and that stained glass window is magnificent. Thanks for yet another interesting post, full of information as usual.

Bethie said...

Beautiful post. Have B-Pos on my calendar.

Denise Covey said...

What a gorgeous old building. Must put it on my to-see list next time I visit the aulde country. D

Gattina said...

London amazes me all the time, there are so many hidden treasures there, I have never seen this "office" good idea to visit it next time !

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - it was extraordinary - good to know you'll be back to London sometime ..

@ DG - I too hope you'll get a chance to visit; and I'd have loved to have seen the William Morris exhibition, but I'll get to the Museum when it reopens .. that design course must have been so interesting ..

@ Manzanita - your love of workmanship shows here - and the fact you feel like ghosts were with you at the time - very interesting. The Clark mansion sounds like a good place to visit ..

@ Jo - Stanhope Forbes is recognised as one of the main artists working in that area. I didn't know about it .. so was interested to get to see ..

@ Gina - good to see you - the windows are amazing ..

@ Susan - it is brilliant - I'm not sure what the next exhibition will be ..

@ Sharon - how wonderful to see you .. and no I couldn't dream about $100 million today! The place was magnificent ..

Pleasure re the shout out about International Be Positive Day - hope lots of fellow bloggers join us.

@ Julie - isn't it extraordinary .. and that'd be a great place to add to your list to visit .. and the stained glass - stupendous.

@ Suzanne - being Cornish yourself .. those Fish Sellers are very much 'home' to us aren't they .. the postcard/card is always on sale ...

That's lovely to know the school children are learning about the Schools of Art and the Cornish light etc ..

@ JoJo - I didn't realise about you having a passion for stained glass ... but it certainly was a cool building - particularly that day as it was snowing! ... warm inside though.

@ Sandie - it would be lovely to see you here .. and yes, I think our houses could probably fit into one of these rooms! A great deal of money was made in the 1800s - the opportunity was there ..

@ Janie - I'm sure the Vanderbilt mansion was amazing - something I didn't see when I was in New York years ago .. in fact didn't realise there was a Hyde Park in New York - makes sense, but had never heard of it before!

@ Inger - magnificent is the word - and there are two of these glass windows, one at each end of the room. Next time I'll spend more time there.

@ Bethie - thank you .. delighted you enjoyed the post .. and that you've put the BePositive blog day (May 21st Tuesday) on your calendar - thank you.

@ Denise - it's very well worth while a visit .. next time you get here to see us 'aulde lot'!!

@ Gattina - hope you get a chance when you're back in London

Thanks everyone .. the building and skills shown just amaze me .. I shall definitely be back to visit .. cheers - and have lovely weekends .. Hilary



michelle said...

The level of expertise of the 19th century sculpture is amazing... it makes me wonder whether 21st century artists are more skilled, or is it simply that they have more information and more resources at their disposal...?

I love the sound of International Be Positive Day. Thanks for sharing. I'm off to mark this on my calendar! Have a great weekend Hilary!

Writer In Transit

Rhonda said...

I agree with Alex, that stained glass is amazing, but my real favorite of your photos was the stair case. Thanks for sharing this gem with us.

Rhonda from Laugh Quotes

Ghadeer said...

I wish I could work in an "office" like that. It's lovely when a premise is so much more beautiful than conventionally expected for its purpose. This reminds me of a time I visited Genova in Italy and the hotel was an ancient palace transferred hotel. It felt like living in a fairy tale for some time.

Old Kitty said...

Another reason to enjoy a stroll down the Embankment!!! But looks like I've totally missed the Cornwall exhibition! Nevermind - this place is certainly worth looking out for for future exhibits! Thanks for the info, Hilary! Take care
x

Optimistic Existentialist said...

The stained glass is amazing. When I finally visit London someday, this is on my list :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michelle - certainly as skilled .. the Olympics and the Olympic Experience highlighting many many crafts around the country - show how talented we are. But I agree I marvel at the edifices that were built, and the sculptures made, the paintings painted ...

Glad you'll join us for International Be Positive Day ..

@ Rhonda - isn't the stained glass quite incredible .. and I'm so pleased I posted the staircase .. it is opulent when seen in reality.

@ Ghadeer - me too .. wouldn't an office like this be wonderful!

That hotel-palace sounds such a memorable experience for you .. and I'm sure you felt like you were living in a fairy tale ..

@ Old Kitty - I should email you - shouldn't I .. and we could meet up occasionally ... but glad you'll look out for future exhibits ..

Cheers to you - seems I've selected a good 'office' to post about!! Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith .. you snuck in with your comment! I agree those windows are to die for - let alone a place that large to put them in! Glad it's on your list to visit ...

Cheers Hilary

L.G. Smith said...

Wow, Hilary, that is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea that even existed. I'd love to tour it sometime. Beautiful.

Laura Eno said...

That's an office? LOL! Wow. I'd love to tour the building. There is so much history in London that fascinates me.

Teresa Coltrin said...

Everything about that building is beautiful. Wow!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, this was great to get a sense of the place. It's a fabulous building and I love that they're doing their displays to give a sense of history through art.

Rosalind Adam said...

I've been to London many times but have neither heard of nor seen this building before. I shall check it out next time.

Lisa said...

You could call your blog a travel blog! I love all the places you take me when I come here. This will have to be on our agenda the next time we're in London! Thanks for sharing two Temple Place.

Deniz Bevan said...

I'd never heard of this house - palace! - before, thanks for sharing Hilary!
Oh, but I'm envious, both those exhibits, on Morris and the Cornish artists, sound so intriguing. I wish museums had more money so that more of these exhibits could travel to other cities.

Mike Keyton said...

Thank you for this, Hilary. I've sent the link to my daughter who will be returning to London shortly

Janie Junebug said...

Hyde Park is a small town in upstate New York. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt had homes there that also are open to the public. They are buried at the main house, Springwood, where the presidential museum and library are located.

Love,
Janie

Silvia Villalobos said...

Beautiful ... so much elegance back in the day. Anything close to this would be considered highly impractical today, but look at all that beauty. Just lovely.

Tracy Moore said...

My goodness how breathtaking. Thanks for the tour!

Val Poore said...

What an opulent building for an office. I have mixed feelings about places like this that were built for business. While I admire the craftsmanship and beauty, it bothers me that people should spend so much money on somewhere to work when so many had and still have nowhere decent to live. I felt that often about the opulent office buildings in Johannesburg.

Robyn Campbell said...

WOWZA!!!!!!!!! That is absolutely spectacular, Hil. I know I'll be in London one day and I will take time to visit. That is the epitome of elegance. Thanks for shouting out about Be Positive Day, Hil. XOXO

Julia Hones said...

Hilary, the pictures of the Bulldog Trust remind me of a place in Kohler, Wisconsin. I think it is called the American Club. I went to it once. It may have to do with the architecture. They may have been built during the same period. I look forward to your next post.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I enjoy touring fine mansions/castles/old buildings of all kinds. Interesting post, Hilary.

Also intrigued by International Be Positive Day. We need a lot more of that.

Paula R C Readman said...

What amazing place! It's like stepping back in time. To think we had such skill in this country... How I wish our government would invest money into training people with those same skills these days.

Thank you for your kind comment on my posting on my blog.

Ornery's Wife said...

This place is amazing, Hilary! What an informative post!

tm

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

In all my visits back home to London, I have completely missed that building. The Bulldog Trust did well. I might just buy the place because I like it.

Aha, okay, you are, or will be over at Sharon's blog. Shall visit because it's been ages since I um delighted her site with one of my amazing comments. Or something like that.

A peaceful Sunday to you, Hilary.

Gary

Lynn said...

That window is so beautiful. What a wonderful place.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hillary,

What a STUNNING piece of architecture. They DON'T create such beauty these days, thats for sure. I love the architecture of this time period. These structures are truly works of art.

Thanks so much for sharing!

I hope all is well with you and that you are having a lovely weekend.

ALl ready for Sharon's blog hop on Tuesday. One most ALWAYS be positive..

See you Tuesday!

mail4rosey said...

Now that's an office to call home!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Luanne - I was so pleased I was told about it .. and now let a few others in the world know about it ..

@ Laura - yes! that is an office!!! I agree checking in behind the obvious attractions there are so many more gems ..

@ Teresa - isn't it stunning ..

@ Hart - 'A sense of place' sums it up. The history of through art .. through the building and with the displays on hand .. can teach us so much ..

@ Ros - that's great to know that when you do next get down to London .. you'll check it out ..

@ Lisa - I guess you could .. my eclectic taste will take you many places. Hope you can get to London fairly soon ...?!

@ Deniz - delighted you enjoyed it. I wish I hadn't missed the Morris exhibition ... I will write about the Cornish artists and traders sometime soon ...

Re museums having money - we need our heritage protected and preserved - I could't agree more. Sending exhibits overseas - must be a 'nightmare' - a worthwhile one though ..
@ Mike – a pleasure .. I hope your daughter can get to see the next exhibition ..

@ Janie – thanks for updating me re the town of Hyde Park – I’d like to visit Springwood when I next get out to the States ..

@ Silvia – they certainly paid for the best .. and it is elegance – I love the wood ... and yes ‘impractical’ is a word that would be used today .. Conservation is a serious business (offering numerous jobs) today .. but the beauty is superb ..

@ Tracy – pleasure and delighted you enjoyed the look around ...

@ Val – it is an opulent place isn’t it .. he ended up living there a great deal of the time, as his wife died soon afterwards ..

.. but wealthy people will spend it – however I agree in today’s age – we should be more aware of what we’re doing .. and the recent changes in power in South Africa, perhaps demonstrate that selfishness rather well ... we need leadership and volunteering ... to help give others a self of worth ...

Thanks to you all - part 1 of my replies .. I lost the others earlier .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Robyn - yes WOWZA!!! It is incredible isn’t it. Good that’s great that you’ll go and visit .. and another phrase ‘the epitome of elegance’ .. is such a good one.

Pleasure – looks like a few have taken on board about International Be Positive Day .. – Tuesday will be fun ..

@ Julia – isn’t the place extraordinary – and I’m glad it brought back some memories of another building ..

@ Pat – these wonderful treasures that are open for us to see – are glorious ..

Great we’ll see you on Tuesday for International Be Positive Day .. we do need more of it ..

@ Paula – i t was extraordinary inside ... stepping back in time – bringing back those memories of what life might have been like ... Losing our crafts is a dreadful thought – but people are doing things to help ... we need people to see the worth and enjoy that learning curve – all those years of knowledge that will be lost if we don’t invigorate them .. so I do agree with you ..

It was lovely to meet you on Wednesday – such a fun time ..

@ TM – delighted you enjoyed the look around .. and thank you .

@ Gary – well when you buy it – please, pretty please invite me in for tea! I’m so pleased I was told about it ..

... and yes Tuesday I’ll be blogging on International Be Positive Day – we do need so much more positivity around ..

@ Lynn- the windows (there are two!) are stunning – lovely ..

@ Michael – isn’t it an amazing piece of architecture – your creativity bent kicked in here – I can feel it via your comment! The whole is extraordinary and so beautiful ... and so pleased you enjoyed the post.

Have you settled back in to Chicago yet – a time away .. it always seems to take a while to re-establish a routine ..

Glad you’re ready for the International Be Positive Day over at Sharon’s and Robyn’s .. and we must always be positive ...

@ Rosey – like you .. I’d love to have an office like that, that I could call my home!

Cheers to you all .. thanks for your visits ... see you on Tuesday .. Hilary

walk2write said...

I often have dreams of wandering about enormous houses, but none of them are as elaborately decorated as this one. I can imagine that the local craftsmen were pleased as punch to have some American money flowing into the area. They created a breathtaking work of art in that house. Fabulous, Ms. Hilary!

Sandy said...

WOW...that's beautiful and more. Making blog rounds after a-z, trying to keep the mojo flowing, lol
After A-Z still blogging

Annalisa Crawford said...

Beautiful stained glass.

Munir said...

I was just over at Lenny's blog. That kid is amazing.

Ciara said...

That's beautiful. I've been all over London. The Europeans have so much amazing architecture.

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

This is wonderful Hilary! I've missed your posts. Thanks for stopping by to welcome me back to blogging. Your comment didn't even go to spam this time like it has in the past :)

TALON said...

So cool, Hilary! What a gorgeous place!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ W2W - it is an amazing building - and it sounds like your dreams give you lots to think about as you explore the houses your mind finds. Perhaps this one will feature now?

England was still wealthy at the end of the 1800s ... the Wars hadn't started to decimate life - but I'm sure the men were grateful to be employed and it seems he was a considerate employer.

@ Sandy - Two Temple Place stands out doesn't it .. and well done on keeping the mojo going using the road trip route 66!

@ Annalisa - I'd love to be there when the light diffuses through and just absorb the colours as they move with the sun .. must be quite extraordinary ..

@ Munir - Lenny is, as you say, very wise ..

@ Ciara - we certainly have lots of hidden and secret places behind high walls, or stone buildings - so many we don't get to look at ..

@ Martha - lovely to see you here and I hope life is sorting itself out for you ...

@ Talon - it is as you say 'so cool' .. I can imagine a poem from you flowing through and around those windows ..

Thank you so much .. cheers Hilary

A Lady's Life said...

Beautiful home Hilary Love the stained glass too
:)

Morgan said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I wouldn't mind going to work there every day! The pictures are stunning. I love London--was there for a couple days a few years ago. Now I'm getting the traveling bug again!

Tina said...

Gorgeous place. Neat to learn the Astor connection, too. Love the fish sale painting! Looking forward to Cornish Heroes!
Tina @ Life is Good

Davina said...

Hi Hilary.

This place is incredible. I would feel a little like Alice in Wonderland if I set foot here. Love the rich colours and lighting chosen for the staircase. And the lower half of the gallery is stupendous -- so spacious and well lit. And of course, beautifully furnished. Bet a person could wander for hours and hours here, just admiring the decor and the architecture.

Karen Lange said...

The pictures are gorgeous! I'd love to visit sometime. So glad you shared! :)

Southpaw said...

That building is absolutely gorgeous! the staircase and the stained glass are breathtaking.

Elise Fallson said...

What an amazing place. The lavish furnishing and interior design is amazing. I also really like the "A Fish Sale" painting...would love to see it in person.

Tammy Theriault said...

amazing!! my parents took a trip to rome and took pics of the inside of many churches. this reminds me of them!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ A Lady's Life - it's glorious to behold isn't it ..

@ Morgan - I can imagine a dancer's story set in this kind of building .. and I do hope you can get to London again ..

@ Tina - isn't it amazing .. and the Astor story - history would be different if he hadn't settled here .. That Stanhope Forbes painting is just 'so Cornish' ...

@ Davina - lovely to see you .. and the thought of being Alice in a place like Two Temple Place would be fun wouldn't it ... it is quite a maze - we didn't see all of it!

@ Karen - delighted you enjoyed the tour!

@ Holly - good to see you .. it is just breathtaking - you said it.

@ Elise - I hope you can get to London sometime (short hop from Paris!) .. and I'll note where the painting normally resides in my Cornish Heroes post ..

@ Tammy - Rome has many wonderful buildings, with beautiful woodwork too ... glad the post brought back some memories for you.

Many thanks for your comments - on this a very difficult day for America - nature is so powerful. Hilary

Sean McLachlan said...

Yowza! That's quite a place. Too big to fee like home, though.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Have you ever been to Hearst Castle in California? It was built in 1919 by another very rich American, William Hearst. It's rather ostentatious, too. Not as much in good taste, from my point of view. I guess if I were super rich, I'd build and decorate with ornateness because I could. Though I think I'd rather grow a forest.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sean - it certainly was impressive

@ Su-sieee - no I've never seen Hearst Castle ...

I agree I'd rather grow a forest - though I did love this building ..

Cheers to you both - Hilary