Exhibitions: Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, Jacob Epstein: the Rock Drill Period, 1973 Hayward Gallery, London, Vorticism and its Allies, 1974. Leeds City Art Galleries/Whitechapel Art Gallery, Jacob Epstein, 1987 Sacred and Profane. Drawings from the 1920s and 1930s by Edward Burra, Cecil Collins, Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, James Hyman Fine Art, London, 5 December 2003 - 24 January 2004 The Ben Uri Gallery, The London Jewish Museum of Art, Embracing the Exotic: Jacob Epstein and Dora Gordine, London 2006.
Literature: Richard Cork, Vorticism and Abstract Art in the First Machine Age, 1976, illustrated p.117. Richard Cork, Art Beyond the Gallery in Early Twentieth Century England, 1985, illustrated p. 95. Royal Academy of Arts, London, British Art in the Twentieth Century, 1987, illustrated p.33. Richard Cork, Jacob Epstein, Tate Gallery Publishing, 1999, illustrated p.19. Twentieth-century British Art, James Hyman Gallery, London, 2001, (cat. 1), illustrated p. 5. The Ben Uri Gallery, The London Jewish Museum of Art, Embracing the Exotic: Jacob Epstein and Dora Gordine, London 2006, frontispiece and illustrated p.20.
One of the Hundred Pillars of the Secret Temple is Epstein's most important early drawing. It provides a unique record of Jacob Epstein's plans to carve, with Eric Gill, an immense sculptural temple for a plot of land bordering Asheham House in Sussex in 1910. Richard Cork writes that "the only record of its likely appearance is a drawing he inscribed One of the Hundred Pillars of the Secret Temple, and the figures it contains prove that he wanted some of his columns to celebrate erotic multi-racial delight." (Cork, Art Beyond the Gallery, 1985). These columns must have been the key element of the temple design, for as Gill explained at the time: "Epstein and I have got a great scheme of doing some colossal figures together (as a contribution to the world), a sort of twentieth-century Stonehenge." (Eric Gill, letter to William Rothenstein, 25 September 1910). However, these plans were never realised and the chance to contribute to the interior of the famous London nightclub, The Cave of the Golden Calf, may well have provided Jacob Epstein with a chance to adapt these plans on a less lofty scale: "he could implement his frustrated ambition to make caryatids for a building dedicated to the gratification of the pleasure principle.'"(Richard Cork, Art Beyond the Gallery, 1985). Indeed Richard Cork writes that this drawing "is almost as direct in its celebration of sexual pleasure as Gill's extraordinary Ecstasy, which boldly represents the moment of copulation itself. Both men were determined to emancipate such subjects from the puritianism, hypocrisy and prurience of British society's attitudes towards the delights of the flesh, and their audacity was courageous indeed. But no less important was their adherence to the inspiration of cultures which lay far outside the approved Hellenic and Renaissance models." (Richard Cork, British Art in the Twentieth Century, 1987).