CHARLES STANLEY PEACH

(British 1858-1934)

 

Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem

 

Watercolor on board
24 x 33 ½ inches

Signed, lower left, C. Stanley Peach

 

Provenance:

Office of Stanley Peach and Partners
George W. Knox, Partner
By descent to his grandson
Richard Rawlings (until 2016)

                 

Stanley Peach was a British architect who specialized in industrial projects at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.  He worked with Hugh Roumieu Gough in London from 1882 before setting up on his own in 1884.  His firm Stanley Peach and Partners survives in London to this day.

Peach designed, power stations, tramway offices, and other commercial structures.  His printing works at 127 Stamford Street, London, now a residence of King’s College, is characterized by neo-Egyptian motifs, while his Centre Court for the Lawn Tennis Association at Wimbledon remains his best known work.  In central London he is celebrated for his construction of Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, with its Mannerist domed pavilion sitting atop an electric transformer station and a raised plaza functioning today as a welcoming public space.

Peach’s professional work gives little hint of his personal passion for research on the Temple of Solomon.  This great structure, also known as the First Temple, is described in the third chapter of the first book of Kings. Its shape, composition, design, dimensions, and materials are there precisely articulated and its role as part of a covenant between the Lord and Solomon recorded (I Kings 6:11-14):

And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

Peach’s reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple is recorded in two large-scale detailed plans, probably blueprints originally, now known only through photographs.  The more elaborate of the two bears the title “The Temple of David and Solomon at Jerusalem, 1000 BC, Compiled from Dimensions and Description in the Bible and Josephus.”  It consists oftwo half-plans – one showing the chambers at the level of the pavement, the other at the level of the altar dais and floor of the Temple, below which a longitudinal section of the structure is rendered. The second is a Ground Plan of the inner sections of the Temple.  According to family records, these were once accompanied by an unpublished manuscript by Peach dated January 27, 1910, titled “The Principles Governing Design and Construction of Ecclesiastical Edifices.”  As Peach understood that the design of Solomon’s Temple was divinely revealed, he believed that it should be the basis for all future ecclesiastical structures.

From these plans, directly based on the Biblical passages and supplemented by the description of the Temple found in the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Peach produced the present watercolor perspectival rendering. It is a magnificently conceived work on a grand scale, combining the author’s scholarly research with his own architectural expertise, to produce an evocative representation of how this most celebrated structure might have appeared at the time of its completion.  Great care has been taken to render appropriate decorative detail to the building, a convincing use of dramatic shadow against the bright Mediterranean sun,  the presence of attendees to the Temple, (both to demonstrate function and to suggest scale), as well as it situation appropriately atop the Temple Mount, within the walls of the city and high above the surrounding countryside.

The present watercolor is accompanied by two framed photographs of the plans cited above, both signed by C. Stanley Peach, and a photograph of what appears to be a preliminary study for the present work, dated 1910.