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RSVP to see the 'JOHN RUSKIN: THE POWER OF SEEING' EXHIBITION at the EXTRAORDINARY TWO TEMPLE PLACE (FREE ENTRY to the house and the exhibition). See exhibition details below. Two Temple Place is the site of Lord Astor's magnificient neo-gothic castle. We will meet first from 3.00pm at ALL BAR ONE, 6 Villiers Street WC2N 6NQ, which is very close to Charing Cross and Embankment Stations. We will head off to the exhibition venue at Two Temple Place at 3.30pm sharp. This is a joint event with Ken's Events. Click here (https://www.meetup.com/KENS-EVENTS-EXPLORE-LONDON-SECRETS/events/258761693/) to see who else is going . THE VENUE- TWO TEMPLE PLACE (see details of the exhibition below) At the end of October 2011 a new art venue opened to the public, housed in one of London's most extraordinary buildings! The venue is one of London's hidden architectural gems, an extraordinary neo-Gothic mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on Embankment. It opens up one of London's very special, and almost unknown, places to the public. Built to elaborate specifications by William Waldorf Astor, later first Viscount Astor, in 1895 as his residence and estate office on reclaimed land following completion of the Victoria Embankment in 1870, Two Temple Place offers a unique location in the heart of central London, overlooking the River Thames. Exterior is portland stone, interior is a testament to the skills and expertise of some of the finest sculptors of the nineteenth century, and the building combines the grandeur of a state occasion with the intimacy of a party in a private house. John Loughborough Pearson, a pre-eminent figure in his profession, was the architect chosen by Lord Astor to build Two Temple Place. Unfettered by consideration of finance and emboldened by the full liberty of expression granted to him and materials and craftsmen of the highest quality at his disposal, he was able to create a building worthy of its distinguished owner. From the gilded weather vane in beaten copper of Columbus's caravel, the Santa Maria (pictured), perched high above the house to the meticulously carved stonework, the grilles and screens of ornamental ironwork, Two Temple Place embodies much of the outstanding workmanship and architecture of the late-Victorian period. The enchanting bronze lamp standards (pictured) flanking the base of the balustraded entrance steps, playfully representative of the marvels of electricity and telephone in the shape of two small boys, are a foretaste of the riches within. The staircase hall (pictured) illustrates the original owners love of literary characters to great effect. Access to the first floor appears to be guarded by Thomas Nicholls' resplendent mahogany carvings of the main protagonists in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers perched imperiously atop the seven newel posts of the main staircase. Panelled in oak, complemented by a chimneypiece in paonazzetto marble and a floor of marble, jasper, porphyry and onyx laid in geometrical patterns, the hall itself is overlooked by a gallery of a further six statues with American literary associations, a frieze in rilievo of eighty-two characters from Shakespeare's Othello, Henry VIII, Antony & Cleopatra and Macbeth and ten pillars of solid ebony. The Great Hall, designed in the Renaissance style but essentially Tudor in plan, leads directly off the gallery and the room extends the whole length of the building on the river front, standing 35 feet high to the ridge and open to the roof, which is of hammer-beam type and a spectacular example of modern Gothic timber work, being all of richly carved Spanish mahogany. The east and west stained glass windows represent Swiss landscapes at 'Sunrise' and 'Sunset' and are the work of Clayton and Bell. The walls are immaculately panelled in irreplaceable pencil cedar and surmounted by a frieze in which a further fifty-four portraits of the heads of characters famous in history and fiction, have been modelled, carved in low relief and then gilded by the sculptor Nathaniel Hitch. The Lower Gallery on the ground floor (opposite). Two Temple Place is the the first London venue to specifically showcase publicly-owned art from UK regional collections and will bring the UK's regional riches to the capital city, emphasising not only the great cultural wealth of London, but that of the UK as a whole. The EXHIBITION : 'JOHN RUSKIN: THE POWER OF SEEING' Artist, art critic, educator, social thinker and true polymath, John Ruskin [masked]) devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge. To mark the bicentenary of his birth, a new exhibition produced by Two Temple Place, Museums Sheffield and the Guild of St George, will celebrate the legacy and enduring relevance of Ruskin’s ideas and vision. John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing will bring together over 190 paintings, drawings, daguerreotypes, metal work, and plaster casts to illustrate how Ruskin’s attitude to aesthetic beauty shaped his radical views on culture and society. The exhibition will showcase significant objects from Sheffield’s Guild of St George Ruskin Collection whilst also drawing on the rich collections of both regional and national public museums and galleries, including, The Ashmolean; Calderdale Museums; The Fitzwilliam; Gallery Oldham; The Ruskin Library, Lancaster; Leeds Museums and Art Gallery; Tate; Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and the William Morris Gallery. Newly commissioned works including site-specific installations by Timorous Beasties and Grizedale Arts, a new moving image piece by Dan Holdsworth and contributions from artists Hannah Downing and Emilie Taylor will also feature, exploring Ruskin’s contemporary legacy. While enjoying the artwork, visitors will notice the impressive architecture of the building and it’s well worth spending some time exploring the elaborate interior of this Victorian mansion. This exhibition is a hidden gem. After our visit to two Temple Place, we will continue the socialising and perhaps a drink and a meal (optional) at a local bar /restaurant. Please note that this is a joint event with Ken's Events. Today's Event is Free for holders of the Ken's Events Membership Card However please note that although it is free to enter the gallery there is a £3 nominal meetup organisers contribution for this event for guests of members and those who do not yet hold the Ken's Event Membership Card. You are recommended to take out the Ken's Event Card to avoid the meetup organisers contribution. All Ken's Events and London Art Comedy & Culture Group events are subject to a disclaimer. Please click here (http://www.meetup.com/LONDON-MEETUP-SOCIAL-GROUP-KENS-EVENTS/pages/KEN%27S_EVENTS_DISCLAIMER/) to view disclaimer. When you arrive at the venue look for the 'KEN'S EVENTS' Flag/Sign pictured below. Please post no pre-event messages or comments unless you are posting something relevant for the whole group.