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Age of Jazz’ at Two Temple Place, including lunch and a visit to the Middle Temple Church

Thursday 22nd March 2018               

The journey down to London started promptly and despite the usual congestion there was nearly an hour of free time before lunch. This provided an opportunity to visit the historic Temple Church, built by the Knights Templar, who protected pilgrims to the Holy Land during the Crusades. Modelled on the circular shape of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the church houses an interesting collection of effigies, some of which are alleged to be early Templars. There was also a moving exhibition on the first world war.

Lunch was enjoyed in Middle Temple Hall with its spectacular Elizabethan double hammer beam roof and elaborately carved screen and balcony. Our group, seated at four enormous tables, was served a set lunch while the surrounding judges, barristers and their pupils collected their meal from the buffet.

After lunch it was a short walk to Two Temple Place for both a tour of the building and to see the current exhibition. Built between 1892 and 1895 by John Loughborough for William Waldorf Astor at a cost of £25,000 (around £25 million in today’s prices) the house features fine wood carvings.  They include statues representing characters from literature, one of Astor’s passions. The building’s own Great Hall was influenced by that at Middle Temple, and is completed by a fine hammer beam roof.

The current exhibition Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain, is sponsored by The Arts Society in conjunction with the ‘Bulldog Trust’ and curated by Catherine Tackley, Professor and Head of Music at the University of Liverpool and one of the UK’s leading authorities on jazz. It is a high point in the The Arts Society’s Golden celebration year and brings together paintings, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz soundtrack, to examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.

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