Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A Busy Saturday with Fake Tudors and real Egyptions and Master Wm. Shakespeare

I had a very busy few days over the weekend, starting on Friday, with a work-related course. The course took place in London, and started at 9 a.m., which meant that I had a very early early start, having to get up at 5.30 in order to get a train just after 7. I am still undecided as to whether the curse was worth it, but it did mean (as I decided that going home on Friday night and back to London on Saturday morning would just be silly ) that I unexpectedly had Saturday morning in London.

I had, ages ago, booked to see Cymbeline at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse at the Globe, and (later but still some time ago) arranged to meet up with my friend A to see the new production by the Jamie Lloyd Theatre Co. of Kit Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus', but the first of those wasn't until 2:30,so I had the morning to fill...

I did consider going to visit Bagpuss and the Clangers but then I saw that there was an exhibition on at Somerset House as part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, so  I decided to go there instead.

En route to Somerset House I found myself passing Two Temple Place, so decided to pop in to see their 'Beyond Beauty: Transforming the body in ancient Egypt' exhibition.

The exhibition was interesting, including some ancient textiles, as well as masks and other funerary artifacts, not to mention some interesting background information about early Egyptologists.

However, for me, the exhibition was outclassed by the setting. Two Temple Place is an extraordinary building! 

It was, apparently, built for William Waldorf Astor in 1895, primarily for use as his estate office, rather than as a home, but it was built in a Tudor / Renaissance  style, packed with wood panelling, hammer beams, carved wood friezes, bronze panels and more.

There is a large central hall, with galleried stairway, stained glass ceiling and marble floors. And two huge stained glass windows (by Clayton & Bell) 

A fascinating place!

I then moved on to Somerset House, and visited their exhibition. It was small, and consisted of a number of documents associated with Shakespeare, including copies of the evidence he, and another person, gave (for a law-suit brought against his landlord in relation to a a marriage portion (or 'porcion', as the clerk wrote), which includes Shakespeare's signature, copies of evidence given in connection with a  politically sensitive performance of 'Richard II', books recording plays performed, and grants of cloth to Shakespeare and his men as part of the coronation parade and finally, Shakespeare's will!

It's an interesting, if small, exhibition.  I'm glad I went. 

No comments: