Thoughts from our Volunteers

Our volunteers are instrumental in the smooth running of the exhibitions at Two Temple Place, acting as gallery stewards, keeping our visitors informed and the artworks safe. Working during the exhibition period allows for the volunteers to really get to know the exhibition content and expand their view on a topic which they may already have an interest in or something they are completely new to. A few of volunteers have shared their thoughts on Unbound below.

Helen: Before Unbound, I had no preconception of women as collectors, and was astonished and greatly impressed by all of them and what they deemed interesting enough to preserve.

I loved Olive Matthew spending her pocket money on collecting from an early age and her limit of £5 on any item - by today’s values she got some real treasures.  I was full of admiration for the   extraordinary vision and philanthropy of Edith Durham, as well as her eclectic choices.

The exhibition expanded by view of Textiles 100%. I’ve always been aware of fabric design in fashion and household wares, but not in the same depth as what was described in the exhibition.

Marion: Prior to the exhibition, the only female Collector I had heard of was Enid Marx, my having visited Compton Verney and the exhibition at the House of Illustration.  I particularly loved the embroideries, especially those of Louisa Pesel, someone I need to learn more about now. The breadth of the exhibition was amazing; so many different items, styles and periods. 

Unknown maker, Border Fragment 19th Century, Embroidered cloth. © Leeds University Library, University of Leeds

Anna: I really enjoyed my first ever volunteering experience at Two Temple Place not only for the luxury of spending so much time within the architecture of this beautiful building but also for being immersed in the world of female collectors that were represented by the Unbound exhibition. Being a collector myself and an interior designer, it was a feast to my eyes. I particularly enjoyed learning how these women approached collecting in different ways, not necessarily from the same angle. They all had stories to tell which added even more value to the exhibits that were displayed. I cannot think of a better space where such exhibition could have taken place. Two Temple Place has such a gorgeous interior, no surprise that it seemed like each room was complimenting the textiles and other objects from the exhibition. 

Bradford Khaki Club, Altar Frontlet for Bradford Cathedral, 1918, Embroidery. © Bradford Cathedral. Photography by Richard Eaton Photography.

Grethe: I have been a volunteer since the first one in 2011 so have experienced many different types of exhibits. I must admit that the ones that particularly appealed to me have been the ones with paintings, and in particular, The Newlyn Painters in 2013. But I have learned a lot from seeing so much artistic output. Textiles was a totally new area for me. I regret to say that I have never been any good at needlework etc so was rather ignorant of this area of art. What I particularly liked in this exhibition were the incredible embroidered garments from the Balkans. My favourite items however were two very different ones: the Spitalfields silk dress and the incredible art installation at the foot of the stairs.

Hiroyuki Shindo, Shindigo Space 07 2007, Hemp, Cotton, Polystyrene © The Whitworth, The University of Manchester. Photography by Richard Eaton Photography

Rob: This was my first year as a volunteer - something I would encourage everyone to do.- The combination of a fascinating building, a wonderful exhibition, superb staff, and the friendliness of other volunteers was unbeatable.
My favourite exhibits?  So many things.  At first it was the Albanian women’s sleeveless overdress - so elegant. Then the 18th century man’s court attire at the other end of the Lower Gallery.  I wished I could have worn it!  Upstairs the three embroidered hangings by Alice Kettle, Three Caryatids, the 1930s dining table - I have a space at home for that!


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