Cotton To Gold: The Eclectic Collections Of Wealthy Industrialists

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 44 months ago
Cotton To Gold: The Eclectic Collections Of Wealthy Industrialists ★★★☆☆ 3
This rather macabre looking fellow is a 12th century Incan nobleman. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum
This rather macabre looking fellow is a 12th century Incan nobleman. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum
This devotional book of hours is one of several medieval books on display, all ornately decorated. Copyright Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
This devotional book of hours is one of several medieval books on display, all ornately decorated. Copyright Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
A series of woodblock Japanese prints are on display including many by Hirsohige and Hokusai (pictured). Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
A series of woodblock Japanese prints are on display including many by Hirsohige and Hokusai (pictured). Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
This view of Rachel's tomb sits alongside other Turner watercolours. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
This view of Rachel's tomb sits alongside other Turner watercolours. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
There are several ivory items in this exhibition including this intricately carved card case. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum
There are several ivory items in this exhibition including this intricately carved card case. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum
There are taxidermied birds aplenty including these robins and two imposing eagles. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum
There are taxidermied birds aplenty including these robins and two imposing eagles. Copyright Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

The news seems to be filled with oligarchs competing to have the biggest yacht or art collectors trying to outbid each other for a Monet, but during the industrial revolution it was the cotton magnates who had plenty of cash to spare and decided to use it collect everything from ivory artefacts to taxidermied birds.

These collections were then donated to museums in the North West, but are now on display in London. It's part of the programme at Two Temple Place to bring items from regional museums to London (some rare treasures from Cambridge travelled down last year).

The works in this show are diverse and include many spectacular collections, such as watercolours by Turner, an excellent selection of Japanese woodblock prints, rare coins and beautifully decorated medieval books.

There are also the rather bizarre additions like a very creepy collection of beetles and several stuffed birds, including two imposing eagles. Other highlights include a 4,000 year old tablet and literature from Judaism and Islam.

The selection is eclectic and fascinating, plus we love the idea of artefacts from regional museums coming down to the capital so Londoners get to see them too.

Cotton to Gold: Extraordinary Collections from the Industrial North West is on at Two Temple Place, WC2, until 19 April. Admission is free. While in the building don't forget to stop and appreciate the impressive central hall and staircase.

Last Updated 09 February 2015