Friends Visit Spencer House

Monday 1 July, 10.30am

The Palm Room, Spencer House
The Palm Room, Spencer House


Spencer House, built in 1756-66 for John, first Earl Spencer, is London’s only great 18th century private palace to survive intact. It was initially designed by the Palladian architect John Vardy, a pupil of William Kent, who was later replaced by James 'Athenian’ Stuart in 1758, resulting in fine Greek details in its interior decorations. In the 1780s Henry Holland made ambitious alterations in the interior. The House has a splendid terrace with magnificent views of Green Park.

After 10 years of restoration, by RIT Capital partners under the chairmanship of Lord Rothschild, the House has now been restored to the splendour of the 1780s and 1790s, recreating eight State Rooms. Interior pieces were copied from the originals, kept secure at Althorp, the family’s county seat, during the Blitz. Paintings, including five by Benjamin West have been graciously lent by Her Majesty the Queen. Sculpture and furniture have been brought in from the Royal Academy, Tate Britain and Temple Newsam. Vardy’s Palm Room, with its spectacular screen of gilded palm trees, is a unique Palladian setpiece, while the elegant mural decorations of Stuart’s Painted Room reflect the eighteenth century passion for classical Greece and Rome.

Else & Ludwig Meidner Exhibition at the Ben Uri

From 26 June until 2 September, the Ben Uri London Jewish Museum of Art will be launching its new premises (108 Boundary Road, St John’s Wood, NW8) with an exhibition of the works of the artist couple Else and Ludwig Meidner. This has been made possible by collaboration with the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, which houses the Ludwig Meidner Archive. While Ludwig Meidner’s (1884-1966) credentials as a major German Expressionist are well charted, the eventful career of his wife Else Meyer (1901-1987) is less well known and this chronological survey of around sixty paintings and works on paper will provide the opportunity to assess her contribution. German-Jewish in origin, the couple married in Berlin in 1927 and arrived as refugees in London in 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war. An introductory talk examining the complex issues of their enforced exile will be held at the Courtauld and further details will be published on the website.