THE STRAND CLUB
On a breezy November day we were privileged to visit Templewood in Frogshall to view the ceiling in the saloon and many of the paintings and furnishings now owned by Eddie Anderson and his family.
Eddie greeted us on the steps and told us of the origin of the frontage, with its lions and coat of arms, and we were then drawn into the hall and through into the saloon. This is the most beautiful room, lit by a stunning chandelier which came from Paris.
When Paul Paget inherited the house he decided that the plain walls and ceiling were boring so he had the walls decorated to look as if they were covered with pale green tiles – a very restful colour. He then embarked on the ceiling, deciding to depict his life. He worked with the painter to have the four seasons of his life in each of the four corners. Spring – his youth – is shown by a young man, sprawling amongst cricket bats and tennis rackets with several pretty young women looking on. Summer, autumn and winter are similarly depicted and the spaces between show Northrepps church amongst other beautiful images. His later life – winter – shows his achievements and interests; Templewood itself; the oldest house in London which he bought, saved from ruin and used as his offices; and St Pauls Cathedral where he was in charge of the fabric of the building. In 1963 he oversaw the cleaning of St Pauls and the image shows the pigeons flying away and turning into beautiful colourful exotic birds as they cross the ceiling.
In the centre surrounding the chandelier are two huge painted people. Facing the door as you go in is a woman with her arms outstretched in welcome, flanked by two men, one bearing a cornucopia spilling fruits and vegetables across the space and the other drinking from a large goblet and looking a little the worse for wear! This area is called and labelled “Hospitality”. On the other side of the chandelier is Diversity of Gifts – an image of a man showing a range of skills and attributes and encouraging the use of what we already have to improve our lives. The entire area was requested by Paul to show the two most important aspects of character he thought we could present to the world. Our photo shows this central part of the ceiling.
Eddie has a fund of stories about his home and the generations of people who lived in it. He introduced us to them all via their portraits both in the saloon and the entrance hall. He entertained us with the characters of Samuel Hoare and his architects and the opinion of a member of the local gentry, who was very scathing in her description of the new house – ” a quite pleasant salon surrounded by several wagons lit!”
It was all entertaining, fun, relaxing and very, very interesting. Eddie made us so welcome and enjoyed the tea and cakes we had laid on. Certainly after the members had also enjoyed them, there wasn’t much left!
Our thanks go to Eddie for allowing us in, for giving us a splendid time and for imparting such a great fund of information in an appealing, light-hearted way.
We will remember our afternoon in Templewood as one of the highlights of our year.
For more information about our club please contact Chris Wood on 01263 579433 or Jackie Hudson on 01263 720866. Our meetings normally begin at 2 pm in the Sports Pavilion in Overstrand and cost just £2 for visitors to cover light refreshments. Please come and see if you like us!