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30.03.2015
14:56

Freud Museum

Address:

20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, NW3 5SX

Phone:

020-7435 2002

Website:

www.freud.org.uk

Opening times:

Wed–Sun 12:00–17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Finchley Road

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Shop

In June 1938 Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the father of psychoanalysis, was forced by Nazi oppression to leave his native Vienna. An anglophile, with a son already living in St John’s Wood, he bought this relatively modern (1920s) house on a quiet tree-lined street of Victorian red-brick mansions in an area popular with Jewish refugees. After his death from cancer of the jaw in September 1939, his wife Martha and daughter Anna continued to occupy the house, keeping it much as it had been left by Freud. On Anna’s death in 1982, it was decided to open the house as a museum, which welcomed its first visitors in 1986.

Ground floor

In a sense, Freud himself was the first curator of the museum. In preparation for his arrival, the contents of his Viennese home were rearranged here as accurately as possible by his faithful housekeeper. The main room on the ground floor was his working library, where he completed Moses and Monotheism, began his Outline of Psychoanalysis, and continued to see patients until two months before his death. Along with the famous couch, given to him in fact before his development of the ‘talking cure’, while he was still a research neurologist, the centrepiece of the room is his desk and chair. The latter was purpose-built for Freud’s peculiar reading posture—he liked to study books with one knee slung over a chair arm—by architect friend Felix Augenfeld, with arms designed to double as leg rests. His large desk supports a massed array of Greek, Egyptian, Asian and Chinese statuettes and figurines. These form part of his extensive and important private collection of antiquities, carefully positioned in glass cabinets and in every available space around the room. They include Egyptian gods, goddesses and mummy masks, Bodhisattvas and Chinese buddhas (one a rare walking penitent), as well as Greek and Roman sculpture. (There are no explanatory labels because of the need to maintain the display exactly as it was known to the great man.) A small statue of Athena was the mascot of the family’s emigration to England, sent ahead for safe-keeping to Princess Marie Bonaparte in Paris before they left Vienna. While many of the sculptures are exceptional pieces in themselves, what makes them doubly interesting is their meaning for Freud: as Marina Warner says in the preface to the museum guide, they represent the ‘tools of thought’.

On a table at the foot of the couch, itself covered by a Qashqa’i carpet, is the Freud azmalyk, one of only 12 in existence, a five-sided Turkoman rug woven by the nomadic Tekke tribe to cover the leading camel in a wedding procession. Many of these Oriental furnishings were obtained by Freud’s brother-in-law. The other room on the ground floor contains Anna Freud’s collection of 19th-century Austrian peasant furniture, the most complete of its kind outside Austria: stout wooden bridal chests, wardrobes and cupboards decorated with exuberant floral patterns. Beyond is the gift shop in the loggia, transformed into a conservatory by architect son Ernst Freud, father of Clement and Lucien.

Upper floor

Up the wide staircase from the hall, filled with natural light in a way that put Freud in mind of a palace, the stairwell is hung with screenprints specially commissioned for the museum by Patrick Caulfield, Cornelia Parker, Claes Oldenburg and other contemporary artists. Pride of place on the landing goes to a portrait sketch of Freud made from life by Salvador Dalí in 1938. Nearby, two paintings by the Wolfman (Russian aristocrat Sergei Pankejeff) depict the dream that gave the artist his name, showing wolves perched on the branches of a leafless tree. In celebration of the centenary of the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams (1999), ‘interventions’ in the form of printed excerpts have been positioned at significant points around the house, encouraging visitors to explore some of the major themes of Freud’s work.

Of the three rooms open to visitors on the first floor, the largest is given over to Anna Freud and her own pioneering work in child psychoanalysis. She started the renowned Hampstead Child Therapy courses in 1947, opening a clinic in Maresfield Gardens five years later, now called the Anna Freud Centre. Standing in the corner is her loom, which she herself found to be of great therapeutic value. The other rooms are given over to temporary exhibitions relevant to the Freuds, and two 20-minute videos on a loop: one concerning the history of the house followed by a rare recording of Freud's own declaration of purpose, and the other an intriguing collection of home videos from the Freuds’ days in Vienna, narrated by Anna. The museum still contributes to the advancement of the cause of psychoanalysis through conferences and archival research.

30.03.2015
14:54

Foundling Museum

Address:

40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ

Phone:

020-7841 3600

Website:

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Opening times:

Tues–Sat 10:00–17:00; Sun 11:00–17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Russell Square/King’s Cross

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Café and shop

The Foundling Museum is a remarkable institution which records the foundation, history and continuing work of the Foundling Hospital, a charitable home for illegitimate children established in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram (1668–1751). A humble Dorset man, Coram was a master mariner who had arrived back from the American colonies to be appalled by the plight of the abandoned, orphaned and destitute children on the streets of London. In 1739, after 17 years of relentless campaigning among the titled, wealthy and influential, Coram persuaded George II to grant a Royal Charter to open ‘A Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children’. An entirely secular organisation, the first of its kind, it was funded through private donations and subscription.

History of the Hospital

The Hospital opened in 1741, in temporary premises in Hatton Garden. On its first day it was open for the receipt of children until full, 18 boys and 12 girls being accepted. All Foundling children were baptised on admission. The first child was named Thomas Coram, and the first girl Eunice Coram, after Captain Coram’s wife, who had died in 1740.

In 1742 the foundation stone of the Hospital’s permanent buildings was laid in Lamb’s Conduit Fields, present-day Coram Fields. Consisting of three wings around a courtyard—the west wing for boys, the Governor’s Court Room and a Picture Gallery, the east wing for girls, and a central chapel—the Hospital was designed by Theodore Jacobsen, an amateur architect and one of the Hospital’s governors. The chapel was begun in 1747. In 1749 Handel, who became a Hospital governor, conducted a concert there to raise funds for its completion, for which he composed the Foundling Hospital Anthem. Fundraising musical concerts became a feature of the Hospital’s calendar, with Handel conducting annual performances of the Messiah. A terracotta bust of him by Roubiliac is in the collection.

Further social fundraising events included ticket sales for Ladies’ Breakfasts, and opportunities to visit the Hospital, admire its buildings, inspect the children and view its art collection. The latter was an important component of the Hospital. The ornate Governor’s Court Room and Picture Gallery contained fine paintings and works of art by leading contemporary British artists, principally Hogarth and his circle, presented to the Hospital from 1746, many of which remain in the museum today. In return for their philanthropy, the Hospital offered to artists a means by which to promote the talents of the native school through public exhibition of their work (the Foundling offered the first public exhibition space in the country). A number of artists were elected governors, and these formed a separate committee which met annually, ‘to consider of what further Ornaments may be added to the Hospital’.

Coram, a bluff and forthright man, was ousted from the Board of Governors soon after the Hospital’s foundation. He made frequent visits to the Hospital however, was godfather to over 20 Foundlings, and was buried under the altar of the chapel. In 1926 the Governors decided to move the Hospital to the cleaner air of the country, first to Redhill, then to Berkhamsted. The original building was sadly demolished, but several of the finer rooms were carefully salvaged and re-erected within the Hospital’s new headquarters at 40 Brunswick Square, completed in 1938. Opposite the new building the Hospital’s old site, Coram Fields, became a playground for children. In 1953 the Hospital ceased to operate as a school for abandoned children, and the policy of placing children in foster homes was adopted in its place. The charity was renamed the Thomas Coram Foundation; in 1999 it became Coram Family, its headquarters in the building adjoining the museum. The museum and its collections became a separate museum trust in 1998, and after an extensive renovation programme opened as the Foundling Museum in 2004.

 

The Building and its Exhibits

On the ground floor is the exhibition Coram’s Children, which explains the origins and history of the Foundling Hospital, and the social conditions of 18th-century London. The Hospital originally had official appointment days for receiving children, with desperate queues forming outside the gates with more children than could possibly be accommodated. A ballot method was introduced instead. On reception days mothers drew a ball from a bag, its colour deciding the fate of their child. Careful records were made of each child admitted, as well as identifying keepsakes which could be used to reclaim children. Several of these touching Foundling tokens are on show: metal tags with names, ribbons, buttons, lockets and even a hazelnut shell. Handel’s annotated musical score for the Foundling Hospital Anthem, based on Psalm 41, ‘Blessed is he that Considereth the Poor’ is displayed, as is a modern scale model of the original Hospital building and original admissions registers. The Committee Room was where mothers were interviewed before being submitted for the ballot process. Pictures include 19th-century scenes with charitable themes and Hogarth’s great March to Finchley, the scene set in the Tottenham Court Road in the winter of 1745, where a band of guardsmen is moving off to Finchley before marching north against Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebels. The King’s Head tavern has been commandeered by the notorious brothel-keeper Mother Douglas. Hogarth sold the picture by lottery; 167 of the unsold 2,000 tickets were donated to the Hospital, which won the picture. Set into panelling above the chimneypiece is George Lambert’s Landscape with Figures, his Hospital presentation picture. The Staircase is the original 18th-century boys’ wing oak staircase, originally fitted with a rail and spikes to stop the boys sliding down. Hung on it are paintings with sentimental and moral subjects; portraits of governors; and Benjamin West’s Christ Presenting a Little Child, the Hospital chapel altarpiece. On the first floor landing is Andrea Casali’s Adoration of the Magi, the 1750 altarpiece which West’s replaced in 1801.

The Picture Gallery was the principal 18th-century visitor attraction. Here important full-length portraits of governors and other Hospital figures hang, principally Hogarth’s Captain Thomas Coram (1740), a masterpiece of British art, which Hogarth presented to the Hospital. Coram is shown seated on a dais, with columns behind, holding the seal of the Hospital’s Royal Charter: the composition is redolent of traditional Baroque pomp, and yet Coram appears wigless and ruddy-cheeked, a direct realism contrary to expected polite decorum. Other portraits include Ramsay’s Dr Richard Mead, the internationally famous physician, scholar and collector, and Hospital governor, with a statue of Hygieia, goddess of health, in the background; Hudson’s Theodore Jacobsen, shown holding architectural plans and elevations of the Hospital; and George II by Shackleton. In the Foyer are seapieces (many Foundlings followed naval careers) including a monochrome preparatory sketch for Copley’s enormous Siege of Gibraltar (Guildhall Art Gallery).

The
Court Room, where the Board of Governors met and where select social entertaining took place, was the most elaborately decorated room in the 18th-century building, carefully reconstructed in 1937. The spectacular Rococo plasterwork was the free gift of the plasterer William Wilton, the marble chimneypiece, by John Devall, was donated by him in 1747, and its marble relief overmantel, Charity, is by Rysbrack. The four large biblical paintings are Hagar and Ishmael by Highmore; The Little Children Brought before Christ by James Wills; The Finding of the Infant Moses in the Bulrushes by Hayman; and Moses Brought before Pharoah’s Daughter by Hogarth, all of them appropriate themes for a charity caring for abandoned children. The landscape roundels between them, set into plasterwork surrounds, were installed in 1751 and show views of London charitable foundations by leading British landscape artists: the Foundling Hospital is by Richard Wilson and the Charterhouse by the 21 year-old Thomas Gainsborough.

The Gerald Coke Handel Collection on the second floor is a scholarly resource with manuscript musical scores and a library. Next door visitors can sit in leather winged armchairs with built-in audio systems which play a selection of Handel’s music (but disappointingly not the Foundling Anthem).

30.03.2015
14:51

Forty Hall & Estate

Address:

Forty Hill, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 9HA

Phone:

020-8363 8196

Website:

www.fortyhallestate.co.uk

Opening times:

Tue–Fri 11:00–17:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-17:00

How to get there:

Train: Turkey Street (from Liverpool Street) then a 20-min walk
Bus: 191, W10 to Forty Hill roundabout

Entry fee:

Free

Additional information:

Café, open Oct–March 11:00–16:30

This notable Caroline mansion of red brick was built 1629–32 for Sir Nicholas Rainton, a wealthy haberdasher, Lord Mayor of London and President of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The architect is not known, although a case has been made for Edward Carter, Chief Clerk of the King’s Works, colleague and successor of Inigo Jones as Surveyor-General. The hipped roof is of particular interest, being advanced for its time and an important early example of this popular style. On Rainton’s death in 1646, the estate passed through several owners, being purchased by Major Henry Bowles, MP for Enfield, in 1895. Internal alterations were carried out around this time. In 1951 Forty Hall was sold to Enfield Council by Derek Parker Bowles.

Surrounded by attractive informal gardens, which include one of the most ancient cedars of Lebanon in the country and an avenue of limes planted in the 18th century, the house still appears externally much as it did when built. In the grounds some few remains have been found of Elsyng Palace, a Tudor royal manor and hunting lodge, where in 1547, in the presence of Princess Elizabeth, Edward VI received the news of the death of his father Henry VIII and of his consequent accession.

The Entrance Hall has good Rococo plasterwork of c. 1787, with medallions representing the Seasons. The fine carved panelling on the early 17th-century Hall Screen is an outstanding survival from the original house. The Dining Room and Drawing Room retain their original fireplaces, panelling and plaster ceilings with bold strapwork decoration. In the Rainton Room is a fine portrait of the original owner of the house, ascribed to the great Civil War-era portraitist William Dobson. Of the four rooms on the first floor, two keep their original elaborate plaster ceilings (one of them dated 1629). One of the rooms contains a Childhood Gallery displaying local toys, clothes and cribs from the 19th century to the 1940s. Temporary exhibitions are also mounted here.

30.03.2015
14:47

Florence Nightingale Museum

Address:

St Thomas’s Hospital, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7EW

Phone:

020-7620 0374

Website:

www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

Opening times:

Mon–Sun 10:00–17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Waterloo and Westminster

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Shop

Hidden away beneath the modern blocks of St Thomas’s Hospital, this small museum describes the life and work of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) and preserves a memorial collection of ‘Nightingalia’, formerly the pride of the Matrons of St Thomas’s. The museum opened here in 1989, on the site of the pioneering nursing school that Nightingale founded in 1860. As the ‘lady with the lamp’ who cared for the sick and wounded in the Crimea (1854–56), she became a reluctant legend in her own lifetime. The marble bust which heads the display was one of the very few portraits of herself that she ever allowed to be taken from life, and then only because it had been commissioned by the soldiers who had been her patients. Nightingale’s careful control of her own image also played an important role in securing the political influence that would enable her to contribute to a complete transformation in the status of nursing, eventually providing many women with a new means of achieving economic independence.

Nightingale’s own considerable fortune was provided by the will of her great-uncle Peter, a prominent Whig and supporter of Parliamentary reform. Born during her parents’ three-year honeymoon, she was christened Florence after her birthplace. Her sister, older by one year, was called Parthenope, the Greek name for Naples. To each other, they became Pop and Flo. Some sketches by her sister of the young Nightingale and their family home are shown here. Unusually, their father William educated the girls himself, elucidating the finer points of mathematics, algebra, Euclid, philosophy and statistics. This last proved particularly useful to Nightingale’s improvements in hospital administration. She would eventually be the first female honoured with membership of the Society of Statisticians.

Florence Nightingale regarded her career as a vocation. Aged seventeen, while walking in the garden at home, she experienced a calling from God, and a further adumbration of her purpose in life came during a visit to Kaiserswerth on the Rhine, a Lutheran institution for the help of the poor, founded in 1825. Her decision to become a nurse appalled her family, at a time when the secular side of the profession was best characterised by the likes of Sarah Gamp in Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit. When the horrors of the Crimea were reported in the Times, Nightingale gathered together a disparate team of 38 ladies in four days, all prepared to endure the terrible voyage out to the military hospital at Scutari. Three times as many men were dying from disease as from wounds received in battle. Her first order upon arrival was for 200 scrubbing brushes. Nightingale also called upon the services of the ex-chef of the Reform Club, Alexis Soyer, transforming her patients’ diet. Her celebrity upon her return is demonstrated here by a variety of contemporary china figurines cast in her image; her mission by new designs for hospital wards, the foundation of the nursing school and development plans for district nursing and midwifery. Some of the furniture and a harpsichord from her house at 10 South St, Mayfair, from where she orchestrated her campaigns, can be seen. Also displayed are her black bodice and matching skirt from 1859. In that year she self-published Suggestions for Thought to the Searchers after Truth, still in print today. Frequently unwell herself throughout her long life, she remained unmarried and died at her home in 1910, surrounded by a colony of cats. The exhibition concludes with her pet Little Owl called Athena, rescued from the Parthenon and kept in her pocket, now stuffed and mounted in a glass case. It died, much to her distress, the day before she set out for the Crimea.

30.03.2015
14:44

Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum

Address:

The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 6ST

Phone:

020-8312-7103

Website:

www.firepower.org.uk

Opening times:

Tue-Sat 10:00-17:00

How to get there:

Station: Woolwich Arsenal (from Charing Cross)

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Café and shop

The museum of artillery was founded in 1776 by Lt Gen. Sir William Congreve as a teaching collection, known as the Royal Military Repository. His son, Col. Sir William Congreve, succeeded his father as Superintendent of the Military Machines at Woolwich, and managed to have the collection installed in the Rotunda (viewable by appointment), a strikingly original building by John Nash (1820). Modelled around the huge tent designed for the meeting of the allied sovereigns at Carlton House Gardens in 1814, and built to celebrate Wellington’s victory at Waterloo the next year, the Rotunda remained the museum’s home until early 2001, when the museum moved into the buildings of the Royal Ordnance Factory at the Royal Arsenal. The Royal Artillery Regiment was founded here in 1741.

The approach to the museum passes an impressive variety of 18th-century buildings, including the Royal Brass Foundry (1717) and Verbruggen’s House (1772). The latter was purpose-built by The Ordnance Board for Jan Verbruggen, Master Founder, his two daughters and son Peter. During the Second World War it housed the Ordnance Committee and also the Ordnance Board. Dial Square, with its imposing archway designed by Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor c. 1717–20, one of the earliest of their collaborations to survive, was also the birthplace of Arsenal Football Club, which started life in 1886 as the Dial Square Football Club, a team composed of workers in the gun machining factory. The modern Firepower! museum is housed further down No. 1 Street, the Royal Arsenal’s processional avenue down to the river, in the former Paper Cartridge Factory: early 19th-century buildings where the majority of workers would have been women.

The Museum

The displays are introduced by a 15-minute presentation called Field of Fire, an audio-visual display in a large, darkened auditorium that gives visitors a loud and vivid impression of gunners and gunnery in action. The History Gallery, on the balcony level overlooking the main hall, describes the development of artillery pieces from the trebuchet through cannons and mortars to the Maxim machine gun. In 1240 gunpowder was rediscovered by the English monk Roger Bacon, possibly while working with texts captured from the Arab world. He concealed his dangerous secret in code—nevertheless, an explosive combination of saltpetre, nitrate, sulphur and charcoal was in use by the end of the same century. Bacon’s exact formula remained undeciphered until the 20th century, when Lt Col. Hime broke the code.

Some of the earliest guns in the collection are displayed here: a pair of Chinese t’ungs, small short-range pellet-firing weapons, one of them dated 1409, and the Bodiam Mortar. This early siege weapon, dating from the 15th or 16th century, was unearthed in the moat of Bodiam Castle, Sussex. The oldest English piece in the collection, it was designed to fire incendiary bombs or showers of small stones. A falconet from the English Civil War, one of the lightest pieces of field artillery in use in the 17th century, is mounted on its original carriage. Nearby, the three-pounder Galloper gun, from 1756, was designed to be pulled by one horse. The story continues with a six-pounder from 1796, typical of those used in the Peninsular War, and replaced by the nine-pounders used at the Battle of Waterloo, up to an early British Maxim machine gun. Made in London in 1895, it is the kind that was sold to the Boer Republic in 1899–1902.

A unique survivor on display here is the Gatling gun, dated 1865, manufactured by Colt. Both weapons make an appropriate introduction to the exhibition on the First World War, recounting the key role played by the Royal Artillery in that terrible war of attrition.

On the ground floor, the Gunnery Hall is home to a formidable collection of retired artillery pieces: a rare World War Two British 18-pounder Mark II, donated by the Jordanian Army, of the type used in France by the British Expeditionary Force in 1940; a Maxim Sokolov machine gun M1910, used by the Russian army against Japan; anti-tank and self-propelled guns; a Thunderbird missile launcher Mark 6, 1960, the first guided anti-aircraft missile system used by the Royal Artillery; and a Rapier anti-aircraft missile system from 1985, used in the Falklands and the Gulf.

Across No. 1 Street, the East Wing Gallery houses a collection of trophy guns, including a superb French 12-pounder presented to Queen Victoria by the Emperor Louis Napoleon. The Cold War Gallery tells the story of the regiment from 1945 to the present day, using an impressive collection of tanks, armoured cars and self-propelled guns.

30.03.2015
14:26

Fenton House (National Trust)

Address:

Windmill Hill, Hampstead, NW3 6RT

Phone:

020-7435 3471

Website:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fentonhouse

Opening times:

Wed–Sun 11:00-17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Hampstead

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Some disabled access

This handsome red brick William and Mary house, one of the best late 17th-century houses to survive in London, stands at the very top of Hampstead in one of the most attractive parts of the ‘village’. From 1936 until her death in 1952, it was the home of Lady Binning, who bequeathed it to the National Trust. Lady Binning was the beneficiary of George Salting (1835–1909), a celebrated 19th-century connoisseur-collector. Though the finest items from his collection are now in national museums, something of his eclectic taste can still be felt here; the array of Chinese blue and white porcelain is especially striking. Also on display here is the important Benton Fletcher Collection of early musical instruments, given to the Trust in 1937, thus narrowly avoiding destruction in the wartime bombing of Old Devonshire House, Bloomsbury, where it had previously been housed. Music students often play the instruments, and it is a memorable experience to visit this airy house and beautiful garden, and to hear from a distant room the evocative sound of a harpsichord or spinet.

Little is known for certain about the early history of the house. It stands on manorial land which between 1682 and 1690 passed through the hands of four different lords, the last of them only six years of age. It was probably built by William Eades, the son of a master bricklayer, apparently without the help of an architect. In the early 18th century it was bought by Joshua Gee, a Quaker linen merchant who went into partnership with George Washington’s father, importing pig-iron from Maryland. Gee was also the acclaimed author of The Trade and Navigation of Great-Britain Considered (1729); his initials and those of his wife, Anna Osgood, are worked into the handsome wrought iron gates at the south entrance from Holly Hill. By 1786 the place was called Clock House. Six years later it was bought by Philip Fenton, son of a coal merchant from Yorkshire, whose family owned it until 1834. During their time here, the Regency loggia between the wings on the east side, which now forms the main entrance to the house, was added. Otherwise the house appears externally much as first built.

Tour of the House

The Hall, with original 17th-century panelling, contains an oval portrait of Philip Fenton’s son James. There is also the right-hand part of a diptych by Adriaen Isenbrandt, A Donor with St Christopher, part of Salting’s collection. Thirteen paintings by Sir William Nicholson (best known for his woodcut portrait of Queen Victoria) are on loan to the house from Ramsden Hall, Essex. Two can be seen here.

The
Dining Room occupies the whole of the south front, originally two separate rooms, one of them a morning room. Refurbished—as was much of the house—in 1973–74 by John Fowler, the man whose taste, together with that of Sybil Colefax, shaped what we now think of as the ‘English country house style’, the room now displays the rest of the Nicholson paintings. These include the Jewelled Bandalore (1905), showing a sombre woman in a feathered hat dangling an 18th-century forerunner of the yo-yo, and Hawking (1902), which shows the artist’s more famous son Ben (who later married Barbara Hepworth) as a young boy, dressed in a kilt with accompanying greyhound. Another portrait, Nancy in Profile (1912), depicts Nicholson’s daughter, who after a brief marriage to the poet Robert Graves went on to make a name for herself in textile design. Other paintings are characteristically muted still lifes and his forceful South Down Landscape Sunset 1912. Winston Churchill cited Nicholson as the formative influence on his own painting. Also in this room is the largest harpsichord in the collection, a Shudi and Broadwood of 1770. Burkat Shudi, a Swiss emigré who enjoyed the patronage of both the Prince of Wales and Handel, took on John Broadwood as his apprentice in Soho in 1761.

The Porcelain Room (which also provides a good view of the garden) contains some of the finest figures produced by English and continental factories in the 18th century. The former are displayed in the left-hand alcove: porcelain from Bow, Chelsea and Derby, a rare Longton Hall figure of a harlequin (c. 1755) and a remarkable Bristol set of the ‘Rustic Seasons’ (c. 1773–74). In the right-hand alcove early Meissen figures by master-modeller J.J. Kändler, including harlequins designed to decorate the table at the Dresden court of Augustus the Strong, can be compared with a Scaramouche modelled by F.A. Bustelli for the Bavarian Nymphenburg manufactory, and other pieces by J.C. Ludwig von Lücke for Höchst, near Frankfurt (c. 1752). On the walls hang bird and flower paintings by Samuel Dixon (d. 1769), his so-called ‘basso relievos’, which use an unusual method of applying gouache to embossed paper. They appear in their original black and gold frames.

The Oriental Room, formerly Lady Binning’s library and little altered since her time, takes its name from the collection of Song- and Ming-dynasty porcelain displayed here, mostly in a mahogany glazed cabinet in Chinese Chippendale style. On the mantelpiece stand translucent blanc-de-Chine Dehua joss-stick holders in the shape of Dogs of Fo, from the Kangxi period (1662–1722). An alcove closet contains a curious collection of Qing dynasty (1644–1911) snuff bottles in porcelain, glass and hard stones.

Upper Floors

The Rockingham Room takes its name from the china now displayed here. Rockingham ware was produced on Lord Rockingham’s estate near Manchester between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. By the fireplace hangs an early print of Dürer’s The Sea Monster (c. 1525). The harpsichord in this room is a Shudi single-manual (i.e. an instrument with a single keyboard) of 1761 that once belonged to the pianist Fanny Davies, a pupil of Clara Schumann. In the small closet is the oldest instrument in the collection, an Italian virginal of 1540, signed Marcus Siculus, with stencilled decoration, the keyboard boxwood with ebony accidentals.

Next door is the Blue Porcelain Room, formerly Lady Binning’s bedroom. The Chinese blue and white porcelain is of the Kangxi period (late 17th–early 18th centuries), of the type later successfully copied by the Delft factories. The double-manual harpsichord of 1777 by Jacob and Abraham Kirckman, Shudi’s main rivals, features a ‘nag’s head swell’, a curved lever used for opening part of the lid. It was developed after the invention of the piano—which could create crescendos and diminuendos—in order to make the harpsichord suitable for the new musical scores, which called for changes of dynamics.

The main room on this floor is the
Drawing Room. Though also redecorated by Fowler, it is more of a piece than some of the other rooms, the satinwood Sheraton-style furniture and display cabinets having been specially commissioned by Lady Binning. In the alcove to the right of the fireplace is a landscape drawing by Jan Brueghel; between the windows an Elizabethan sweet purse embroidered with silver, gold and pearls. Either side of the chimney breast are alcoves displaying outstanding examples of Worcester porcelain. The hexagonal pink-scale vase and cover, with unusual decoration of birds and chinoiserie figures, is the most important English piece in the house. A pair of tea bowls depicts scenes from Aesop’s Fables. Meissen porcelain on display here includes an early grotesque teapot and cover modelled by J.J. Irminger and a fine pair of parrots on ormolu bases. Also here is a very important pair of Frankenthal court dancers, sometimes called ‘Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour’, in the guise of Acis and Galatea.

Across the landing, the Green Room, formerly a bedroom and dressing room, has been redecorated by interior designer David Mlinaric. There are Staffordshire figures on the mantelpiece. A Dutch cabinet displays a pair of ceramic hares from the Plymouth factory (c. 1768) and two Bow dogs of a type known as the ‘Dismal Hounds’ (c. 1758). In the closet alcove hangs Psyche, a Persian Cat (1787) and A Terrier, both by Francis Sartorius.

Leading up to the attic from the landing, the
Service Staircase is hung with a series of engravings by Houbraken and Vertue made for Thomas Birch’s The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain (1743). At the top hangs G.F. Watts’ Neptune’s Horses (1888–92), inspired by the waves at Sliema in Malta. On the attic landing stands a French or Italian late 16th-century buffet, carved with representations of the river god Tiber and the infants Romulus and Remus. On it stands a Rhenish bellarmine wine-jar: the mask of the bearded man on this and all other ‘bellarmines’ represents Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine (1542–1621), opponent of Protestantism and of the divine right of kings.

The Attic Rooms (those on the southeast and southwest side give superb long-distance views towards the landmarks of central London) display the rest of the Benton Fletcher collection. In the southeast room is a single-manual harpsichord by Jacob Kirckman from 1752, rare in having only two sets of strings, as well as an 18th-century hurdy-gurdy and small 19th-century archlute. In the southwest room is a German clavichord, a painted Venetian virginals, and a single-manual harpsichord made by Thomas Culliford in 1783.

In the northwest room is a double-manual harpsichord by the Kirckmans from 1762, a 1925 Arnold Dolmetsch clavichord, and a spinet rescued by Fletcher from a leaking outhouse in Wales. In the north room the Hatley virginals (1664) can be seen (and like many of the other instruments, sometimes also heard). With traditional flower and fruit decoration, it is one of only ten English virginals to survive from before the Great Fire of London, and the earliest English instrument in the collection. Also in this room is a 1774 Broadwood square piano. In the northeast room stands a grand piano (1763–78), at one time attributed to Americus Backers, the inventor of the revolutionary escapement which came to be known as the ‘English grand action’. Though the piano is now known not to be by Backers, it is still of a very early date. There is also a Broadwood piano from 1805, of the type given to Beethoven a decade or so later.

30.03.2015
14:22

Fashion and Textile Museum

Address:

83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF

Phone:

020-7407 8664

Website:

www.ftmlondon.org

Opening times:

Tues–Sat 11:00–18:00, Sun 11:00-17:00

How to get there:

Tube/Station: London Bridge

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Founded in 2003 by fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, this small museum of contemporary fashion and textiles mounts two or three special exhibitions each year. The designer has cited the success of her 1999 San Diego exhibition ‘Fashion Is’ as germane to the museum’s inspiration as a forum for the display, study and practice of contemporary garment design. The centre showcases a programme of changing exhibitions exploring elements of fashion, textile and jewellery as well as courses for creative students and businesses.

Situated in the heart of fashionable Bermondsey Village, in a fantastic building designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the FTM aims not just to display and collect items relating to fashion, jewellery and textile design, but to offer inspiration to a new generation of creatives. Now redeveloped and operated by Newham College, the museum is a hub of learning, ideas and networking for the fashion and jewellery industry.

30.03.2015
14:19

Fan Museum

Address:

12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ER

Phone:

020-8305 1441

Website:

www.thefanmuseum.org.uk

Opening times:

(Museum) Tues–Sat 11:00–17:00, Sun 12:00–17:00 (Orangery for afternoon tea) Tues and Sun from 13:45, Fri and Sat from 12:30

How to get there:

Station: Greenwich (from Charing Cross); DLR to Cutty Sark

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Afternoon teas, Tues and Sun only. Shop

This small museum, which occupies two 1721 Georgian town houses, is dedicated to the history of the fan and fan making. It was the brainchild of Hélène Alexander, whose own collection forms the heart of the museum’s over 3,500 items. The collection ranges from the 11th century to the present day and includes fans from all over the world, from India, China and Japan as well as Europe. There is a fine representation of 17th-century French fans from the court of Louis XIV, elaborately painted on vellum, as well as intricate lace fans, a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century European fans, a c. 1889 fan painted by the British artist Walter Sickert, and other rare examples. The collection is shown through a series of exhibitions (three a year) which highlight the ceremonial, social and fashionable use of fans as well as different craftsmanship techniques. The mural-decorated orangery, which is open for afternoon tea, overlooks a Japanese-style garden with a fan-shaped parterre and small pond.

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.

Latest

National Maritime Museum
Wimbledon Windmill Museum
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
Wellington Arch (English Heritage)
Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)
Tate Modern
Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
St Bride’s Crypt Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
Ragged School Museum
The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery
National Army Museum
Musical Museum
World Rugby Museum
Museum of the Order of St John
Museum No. 1 (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
Marianne North Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
Mall Galleries
Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
Kenwood House (English Heritage)
Kensington Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Keats House
Jewish Museum
Jewel Tower (English Heritage)
Jerwood Space
Imperial War Museum
ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts
Hunterian Museum
Horniman Museum
HMS Belfast (Imperial War Museum)
Hayward Gallery
Handel House Museum
Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
Ham House (National Trust)
Guildhall Art Gallery
Guards Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy
Geffrye Museum of the Home
Fulham Palace
Freud Museum
Foundling Museum
Forty Hall & Estate
Florence Nightingale Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum
Fenton House (National Trust)
Fashion and Textile Museum
Fan Museum
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Eltham Palace (English Heritage)
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dr Johnson’s House
Dennis Severs' House
Danson House
Cutty Sark
Contemporary Applied Arts
Chiswick House (English Heritage)
Chelsea Physic Garden
Chartered Insurance Institute Museum
Charles Dickens Museum
Carlyle’s House (National Trust)
Camden Arts Centre
Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum (Imperial War Museum)
Burgh House - The Hampstead Museum
Buckingham Palace
Brunel Engine House
Brunei Gallery SOAS
British Optical Association Museum
The British Museum
The British Library
Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee
Black Cultural Archives
Museum of Childhood (Victoria & Albert Museum)
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Benjamin Franklin House
Ben Uri Gallery - The London Jewish Museum of Art
Barbican Art Gallery
Banqueting House (Historic Royal Palaces)
Bankside Gallery
Bank of England Museum
All Hallows Undercroft Museum
Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum

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