Art News | Two Temple Place Gone Over the Law: Jazz Exhibition and Hanky Pankies | Art Week

Two Temple Place Gone Over the Law: Jazz Exhibition and Hanky Pankies

Share this




Two Temple Place is one of the hidden gems of London. It is an area where many barristers and lawyers are based and a building of the utmost beauty. Of Neo-Gothic style, completed in 1895, this stunning mansion was built for William Waldorf Astor, one of the richest man in the world by that time, as his London Estate Office.

Events programmed to complement an art exhibition can sometimes be rather dry – not in this case. The amusing Hanky Panky Cocktail Class run by the food Historian Tasha Marks was a highlight in a very cold London night. Of course, you are encouraged to drink the cocktail you have made while admiring the paintings and artefacts in the exhibition. Another event that caught my eye was the Listening to a Century of Jazz given by the curator Catherine Tackley. As informative as entertaining. As she says:

“This exhibition tells the story of the ever-popular jazz age in new ways, focussing on British depictions of jazz to understand what the music meant to artists, assessing the resultant image of jazz in the public sphere as well as considering how jazz was encountered in everyday, domestic environments. Above all, the exhibition links the music with the aesthetics of art produced in response to it, uniquely foregrounding the impact of jazz music on ‘jazz age’ art.”


One wonders why an exhibition on jazz, such a multicultural and permissive movement, is so rare. Marking 100 years since Jazz reached Britain, the show titled: Rhythm & Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain, is on until the 22nd of April with late openings on Wednesdays. Produced in partnership with The Arts Society, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this major exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.

Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea and then the sound of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live. The exhibition highlights how the new jazz sound in post-War nightclubs and dancehalls provided exciting and dynamic material for British artists. Bold depictions of lively dancers by William Roberts and Frank Dobson, will be displayed alongside the Harlem-inspired paintings for which Edward Burra, one of Britain’s foremost Modernist painters, was well-known.

For more information about the show and events, please visit their website on


Photo credit: William Patrick Roberts, The Dance Club (The Jazz Party), 1923, Oil on Canvas, 55.5 x 76cm, Leeds Museum and Art Gallery © Estate of John David Roberts. By permission of the Treasury Solicitor, courtesy of Bridgeman Images

Contact Information: 

Two Temple Place,

London WC2R 3BD

Add new comment