Heiresses, pious widows and royal confidantes - 400 years of formidable women at Temple Newsam

MEMBERS of the Gainsborough and District Decorative and Fine Arts Society enjoyed a lively lecture at the Trinity Centre after the summer break with James Lomax, recently retired curator of Temple Newsam who talked about the restoration of this great Jacobean house acquired by Leeds Corporation in 1922.

Its contents regrettably were dispersed and over the last 20 years some of its fine furniture and over 200 pictures have been re-acquired and returned to their original positions.

Temple Newsam began life with the new money of Sir Arthur Ingram when he bought the property in 1622. The house continued in his family well into the 20C surviving through long lines of brothers and wealthy marriages; each generation re-interpreting rather than destroying the past. The external house remains largely as built and the interiors commissioned with fabulous decoration by the formidable women - Viscountess Irwin, Lady Hertford, Mrs Meynell Ingram to name but three - who dominate the Temple Newsam story.

The next meeting of the Society will be on October 6 when Linda Smith will speak on ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ The Representation of the Working Classes in Art.

Visitors are always welcome. Membership details from Mrs Barbara Jones on 788568.

An excellent light lunch can be booked with Rachel before the lecture on 838780. Hot drinks are served at 3.15 pm.