(*Throw the book at him)

Above: Guildhall Yard on Thursday, 24.6.21.

(…On Thursday, I found myself following two officers of the City of London Police along Basinghall Street, London EC2. From the general direction of the Guildhall Art Gallery, where I was heading for the Noel Coward exhibition, came the sound of aggressive shouting, and a business owner standing in the sunshine on his doorstep raised a worried eyebrow at them. One went ahead to peer along Guildhall Buildings, then commented briefly: “Ah, the military.”…)

From: cityofLondon.gov.uk:

“The first Guildhall Art Gallery was built in 1885 to display the City of London Corporation’s growing art collection. The project was inspired by the success of new galleries supported by local authorities in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. It aimed to cater to an ‘increased taste for Art’ evident in Victorian society. Under the dynamic leadership of its first Director, Alfred Temple, the Gallery ran a series of popular and influential exhibitions and expanded its collection of contemporary 19th century paintings…

(Wikipedia): “Sir Alfred George Temple FSA (27 October 1848 – 8 January 1928) was the director of the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, England, from 1886 to 1928.Temple was born in London and educated at Denmark Hill Grammar School. He joined an underwriting firm as a junior clerk, but was sacked two years later for *throwing a ledger at a senior clerk.

Six months later he joined the Town Clerk’s Department of the City of London Corporation, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-uncle, who had served the Corporation for a total of 85 years between them.He took evening classes at the Lambeth School of Art and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), and when the Corporation established the Guildhall Art Gallery in 1886, Temple was appointed its first director, a post he held until his death. He built up the collection into one of the best in England and also wrote many books and articles on art.Temple was knighted in the 1920 New Year Honours.He died at his home in College Road, Dulwich, South London, and was buried at nearby West Norwood Cemetery.

…The Victorian gallery was almost entirely destroyed by fire during a severe air raid of the Second World War on 10 May 1941. Large parts of the collection had been removed to underground storage in Wiltshire, together with those of other London museums and galleries, but 164 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints and 20 sculptures were lost. A temporary structure was built on the cleared site in 1946 for use as a ceremonial venue and exhibition space. Selected pieces from the collection and art society shows went on display. The City organised two annual exhibitions, The Lord Mayor’s Art Award and the City of London Art Exhibition, in addition to a series of major loan exhibitions between 1952 and 1972 on topics including Canaletto in England, David Roberts, Samuel Scott and Sir James Thornhill.

In 1985 the City decided to redevelop the site and add a new Gallery on its lower levels. The architect was Richard Gilbert Scott, who had earlier worked on the Guildhall restoration and designed the new Guildhall Library and West Wing of 1974. In 1987 the remains of the original Gallery were demolished. Shortly afterwards the Museum of London Archaeological Service discovered the remains of London’s Roman Amphitheatre and the building was re-designed to incorporate this astounding piece of architectural history. The new Guildhall Art Gallery (Guildhall Yard, London EC2) finally opened to the public in August 1999 and the Amphitheatre in 2002. In late 2014, coinciding with the 15th anniversary of its re-opening, the Gallery underwent a re-hang, doubling the number of paintings on display and presenting a new curatorial selection.”

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