A visit to Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare

Not removed from Hampton Court docket Palace could be discovered a small temple, created by the actor David Garrick to honour William Shakespeare, and is alleged to be the world’s solely devoted shrine to Shakespeare. It’s fairly small, there’s not lots to see, it’s solely open sometimes, and is a little bit of a ache to get to — so naturally I needed to go to it.

David Garrick was a massively profitable actor and theatre supervisor who pioneered fashionable appearing, getting away from melodramatic and bombastic types in favour of extra naturalistic appearing.

His success led to wealth, which led him to purchasing a big villa close to Hampton Court docket Palace. A street separated it from the land he owned subsequent to the riverside, so he initially constructed a tunnel linking the 2, however later he determined to construct his temple to Shakespere.

It’s thought that he wished the temple, partly as a constructing to make use of on the riverside half of his property, but additionally due to his function in popularising Shakespere’s performs at a time once they have been considerably missed.

The temple/summerhouse was constructed round 1755/56 as a single octagonal room with a big lined entrance standing inside his riverside backyard. Inside stood a big statue of William Shakespeare that he commissioned particularly for the temple, which he full of Shakespeare mementoes.

Sadly, none of it stays because it was offered off after the dying of his widow in 1822.

The temple and grounds have been offered off individually to the principle home, and in 1932 was purchased by the native council. The temple fell into disrepair, was restored a few instances, most not too long ago in 1999, and is now open on Sunday afternoons in the course of the Spring to Autumn months.

A gaggle of native volunteers open up the temple at 2pm, and as I used to be already there, it did imply getting the temple to myself, plus three very attentive volunteers who made a variety of fuss over my go to, which is both beautiful, or not, relying on how fussed over you wish to be.

A substitute for Garrick’s authentic Shakespeare is within the authentic area of interest, this one on mortgage from the British Museum, and the remainder of the room is full of work referring to Garrick’s household and profession.

There are explanatory boards, however they’ve chosen to point out them in a cursive textual content that’s very traditionally correct for Garrick’s lifetime, but additionally fairly arduous to learn for contemporary eyes. It takes a good bit of focus to learn.

As a setting, within the spring afternoon with the flowers rampant over the garden and the bushes offering shade, it’s a pleasant setting for the temple. In an odd method, I want I had left it at that, because the go to contained in the temple felt barely like an anticlimax.

The Temple is open to the general public on Sunday afternoons (2pm to 5pm) till Sunday twenty ninth October 2023.

It’s free to go to, with donations appreciated.

For me, it was a modest stroll by Bushy Park from Hampton Court docket Palace (and again once more),however you possibly can catch buses that ply the route. It could have been simply that day, however the street was filled with visitors, so strolling wasn’t a lot slower than the bus I virtually stored up with alongside the route.

You can even get to it faster from the close by station at Hampton, however tends to solely have one prepare an hour.

This text was revealed on ianVisits


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