A building that is closed to the public for most of the year has opened its doors for a few months, to put on a display that is almost overshadowed by the opulence of the building itself.


A collection of ancient Egypt shows off a broad section of life and death in that distant world, with gold and paint and of course, lots of stone.

The modern glass cases containing these treasures are themselves laid out within another of England’s treasures, the astonishing interior of Two Temple Place next to the Thames.

Recently restored, it is only open to the public for this is now-annual exhibition, so this is a chance to both see a goodly display of egyptological wares, but to also admire the over the top decor of the building.


Rare surviving imagery on exquisite painted coffins, decorated funerary masks, delicate figurines and beautifully carved reliefs emphasise the importance of body image. Meanwhile jewellery, mirrors, hairpins, scent bottles and makeup provide an insight into some surprisingly familiar daily routines and the ever changing styles of the time.


Although often collected at the same dig, when bought to the UK by the Victorians, they were deliberately scattered to regional museums so that the local people could share in the educational benefits of such discoveries without having to come to London.

The objects on display here have come together from 7 museums around the country, so they are not something that Londoners can just wander down the road to a local museum and see next year.

At the top of Two Temple Place’s grand staircase are some boards explaining how the objects ended up in the UK, and the 7 museums that house them.

As it happens, there are 200 ancient Egyptian collections in the UK, although not all are open to the public.

Two Temple Place is open to the public, but only until 24th April.

Entry is free, and opening times are:

  • Sun: 11am-4:30pm
  • Mon: 10am-4:30pm
  • Tues: Closed
  • Wed: 10am-9pm
  • Thur: 10am-4:30pm
  • Fri: 10am-4:30pm
  • Sat: 10am-4:30pm

Two Temple Place is around the corner from Temple tube station. [map link]



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  1. EBGB says:

    Both the exhibitions I’ve been to here have been superb, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to this one.

    Question: Have they reversed their slightly bonkers decision of last time to lend copies of the catalogue to use on the way round? You could barely see the staff behind unsold copies, which was a terrible pity, not least because it was very good, & an excellent aide memoire for non-London museums worthy of visiting. I bought several copies to give away on that basis.

  2. Andrew says:

    Frankly, I think this was a bit weaker than their previous exhibitions, but still worth a visit nonetheless, not least for the building. The Cornish art exhibited a few years ago was excellent.

  3. John Simmons says:

    My friend and I happened across this exhibition when we arrived early for the recent Aldwych Undergound Station tour and wandered round the block to kill half an hour.
    We did the tour and then back there – a very interesting exhibition in a superb building! Cheap hot drinks too!

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