15 May 2013
THE ARTS OF THE EDO PERIOD
Prof. Marie Conte-Helm
During the period of the Tokugawa shogunate (1615 – 1868), the arts of Japan gained in richness and diversity. With the rise of the merchant class and growth of cities such as Edo (modern-day Tokyo), a new vitality was injected into traditional forms and an emerging middle class culture gave rise to new developments in the visual and performing arts. This lecture will consider the arts of the period including architecture, painting, woodblock prints and textiles, as well as lacquerware and netsuke. It will provide a snapshot of both aristocratic and popular taste during the period.
17 April 2013
BENEATH THE CITY STREETS: LONDON’S UNSEEN HISTORY
This lecture takes a fresh look at the history and development of London from the Roman Period through to modern times. Using a mixture of well known locations, years of research and the lecturer’s unique insight into London gleamed from his career at Scotland Yard; members will be left with a deeper appreciation of how London has grown over the centuries. One or two ‘secrets’ may be included!
20 March 2013
Who’s Got Our Paintings
There are over 250,000 oil paintings throughout the United Kingdom owned by the general public. A quarter of a million may be on display and considered to be the treasures of the nation, but others are forgotten in corridors, ignored in committee rooms and buried in stores. The Public Catalogue Foundation is a charity established to create a comprehensive catalogue of all these paintings and this talk covers some of the preparation work, the in depth sleuthing to find forgotten pictures, meticulous cataloguing and imaging to provide us all with access to this cornucopia of the nation's wealth.
20 February 2013
The Anatomical Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
Apart from his skills as a painter Leonardo da Vinci was an acknowledged scientist. Human anatomy was one of his interests and he subscribed to the hypothesis that man was a microcosm of the universe and if the form and function of man could be explained then the universe would be better understood. This talk explores the way in which Leonardo acquired his knowledge of anatomy from experience via extrapolation to human dissection. It is illustrated with examples of his drawings and reflects the extraordinary accuracy of his findings.
16 January 2013
‘Once Upon a time’: Children’s Books through the Ages
Children's literature has only been recognised as a distinct genre for about 200 years. Its development is a fascinating story, echoing the recognition of childhood in its own right, not merely as a preparation for maturity. As social and historical changes were reflected in attitudes towards them, more and more books for children were written which heralded the rise of the children’s illustrator. The 19th century was the first 'Golden Age' when Lewis Carroll blazed a trail of astonishing originality. The talk explores the milestones before and after this 'Golden Age'.
Visit Elizabeth Merry's website
12 December 2012
Beau Brummell: A Life as Art: dandyism and the birth of London’s West End
Beau Brummell's ascendancy to unprecedented fame and fortune in Regency London has made his name a byword for style, profligacy and wit. He cut a dramatic swathe through late Georgian society form his early years as favourite to the Prince of Wales to his final precipitous fall into poverty, incarceration and madness. Examining the interplay of fame, wealth, sexuality and fashion, Beau Brummel is a story of the modern age as much as his own.
Visit Ian Kelly's website
- Fashioning London – Christopher Breward (Berg 2004)
- The Rise & Fall of a Regency Dandy – T A Burnett (Murray 1981)
- George IV – Christopher Hibbert (Penguin 1972)
- Courtesans – Katie Hickman (Harper Perennial 2003)
- The Age of Napoleon – Alistair Horne (Modern Library Edition 2004)
- Lascivious Bodies – Julie Peakman (Atlantic Books 2004)
21 November 2012
Great Tarts in Art: High Culture and the Oldest Profession
A mixture of art-historical analysis and scandalous anecdote, this lecture takes a light-hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages, by examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It also charts the complex and ambiguous attitudes of art and society towards the numerous working girls at the lower end of the scale from the 17th-20th century.
17 October 2012
Murder and Modernism: Walter Richard Sickert and the Camden Town Group
The Camden Town Group was an innovative circle of painters united by their desire to paint works of a modern character. This lecture introduces the core members of the group, led by Walter Sickert, and tells the story of their brief but significant association. Key themes addressed within their work are examined: urban life, popular entertainment and the lower social classes, as well as Sickert’s infamous series of paintings inspired by the notorious Camden Town murder.
19 September 2012
Helms, Hatchments & Hedgehogs: an introduction to everyday heraldry
Heraldry is all around us not only when we visit country houses, cathedrals and castles, but also in out towns and villages. The Royal Arms appear on newspapers, passports and outfits of sporting heroes. Councils display their arms on their offices and vehicles and school uniforms, college gateways and almshouses often depict the arms of their generous benefactors. This talk is a straight introduction to what is often dismissed as an esoteric subject.
Visit Chloe Cockerill's website
- Simple Heraldry – Iain Moncrieff & Don Pottinger (Nelson 1972)
- The Complete Book of Heraldry – Stephen Slater (2002)
- Heraldry for the Local Historian & Geneologist – Stephen Friar (1992)
- A New Dictionary of Heraldry – Stephen Friar (1987)
- Burke’s General Armory 1884
18 July 2012
The Ancient Olympic Games and the True Olympic Spirit
Dr Steve Kershaw
None of the astonishing ancient Greek archaeological sites has quite the appeal to the modern imagination, or is more important to understanding ancient Greek culture, as the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia. This talk will examine the religious aspects of the ancient Olympics, the concept of 'sport', athletics as an inspiration for art, the mythical/historical origins of the Olympics, and provide an overview of the ain events of the ancient festival.
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20 June 2012
Dr Paula Nuttall
This lecture is both about Botticelli, one of the best loved artists of the Florentine renaissance, and about Florence itself. It puts his paintings in context, showing how they reflect the society for which they were made. From the golden age of the Medici to the religious fervour of Savonarola, the paintings are not only stunning works of art, but visual testimony to one of the most eventful periods in Florence’s history.
16 May 2012
Lee Miller and Roland Penrose at Farley Farm
The story of Roland Penrose, British Surrealist artist and biographer of Picasso and Lee Miller, the American Surrealist photographer, seen through the eyes of their son Antony Penrose. We look at how their early lives formed their motivations and how they strove to use art to make the world a better place.
18 April 2012
Art and the Garden: Setting and Symbol
Dr Twigs Way
Gardens and plants appear in paintings of all periods and cultures. Concentrating on European art, this talk will analyse the role that gardens and plants have to play in furthering our understanding of the 'story' of a painting. From the still lives of the Dutch 16th and 17th century, to the pre-Raphaelite 'medieval' garden and the Victorian genre painting, all will be revealed by asking 'why is that garden there?'
21 March 2012
The Great Twelve: an Introduction to the Senior Livery Companies of the City of London, their Medieval Origins and their Role in Modern Society
Livery Companies originated when medieval merchants banded together to form guilds or fraternities. They were probably in existence before the Norman Conquest and were to be found not only in London, but in other parts of the country and on the continent. Fenella Billington is a Liverywoman of the Worshipful Company of Skinners of London.
15 February 2012
Dickens Revisited 1812 – 2012
2012 is the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, who is arguably the most celebrated Victorian novelist. His own life story is as colourful and eventful as many of his imaginary characters. This reflective and celebratory lecture will demonstrate how his legacy endures, even after 200 years. One could say that Dickens is to literature as Darwin is to science……
18 January 2012
The Big Apple: the Architecture of New York City
New York City, particularly the island of Manhattan and its approaches, fires the imagination through its imprint on literature, drama and film. Its significance in the history of the United States is as a great port, the destination of immigrants and home of a remarkably polyglot community. Visiting New York is an unforgettable experience.
14 December 2011
The Ox and the Ass: Silent Watchers at the Crib
Hilary Hope Guise
Have you ever wondered why every Nativity scene and every school play has to have an Ox and an Ass? Are they there just to add authenticity to Christ’s lowly birth in a stable, or could they have a longer history of meaning? This lecture sets out to find out more.
16 November 2011
St Ives: the Artists and the Community
This lecture presents a completely new perspective of the St.Ives artists’ colony.
It looks at the way of life of the artists, their friendships with distinguished writers, photographers and musicians and their inter-relationship with the local community. It is illustrated by paintings of fisherfolk, old photographs and caricatures, so giving us a unique portrait of a 19th century rural art colony.
19 October 2011
Giotto: the Founder of Modern Art
Alice Foster will talk to us about Giotto (c.1266-1337) who was chiefly responsible for changing the style of Western art, especially concerning the depiction of the figure. He rejected an iconic portrayal in favour of a more naturalistic one, which was set in three-dimensional space. The lecture explores these ideas, illustrated by the frescoes at the Arena Chapel, Padua, painted 1305-11.
21 September 2011
The History and Art of the Catacombs
We will look at the origins of the Catacombs of Rome and the extraordinarily varied art that adorns them. Some of the oldest symbols of Christianity can be found there, from the iconic fish to the mysterious praying female figures, each one exquisitely executed in frescoes and sarcophagi carvings.
20 July 2011
Wren’s City Churches
Christopher Wren shows the most amazing range of mind, solutions and influences, in his designs for the 52 new City Churches, built after the Great Fire of London of 1666. How did he oversee the construction of so many and who helped him? How were they funded and why are they so different?
15 June 2011
In her talk on Aboriginal Art Rebecca Hossack traces the genesis of the oldest continuous artistic tradition of the world. She shows examples of paintings from different aboriginal countries and explains the meaning and how to read the symbols and signs as well as talking about the aboriginal peoples’ deep reverence for the land and all that comes from it.
18 May 2011
Music Inspired by Paintings & Paintings Inspired by Music
It has long been recognised that the worlds of the visual and aural arts link with extraordinary power when one medium inspires the other. The lecture which spans over 600 years of the art, analyses and discusses a range of key works. The presentation includes digital images, video, recorded music and live examples sung and played at the piano.
20 April 2011
Hidden Art Treasures from the Silk Road: Bezeklik Frescoes, Dunhuang Scrolls and the Unique Bactrian Gold Hoard
The “Silk Road” which linked Imperial Rome and distant China (5000 miles) was once the greatest trade route on Earth. Along it travelled precious cargoes of silk, gold, jewels, ivory, carpets, porcelain as well as revolutionary new ideas. The remarkable stories of the “hidden art from the Silk Route” are all in this new lecture.
16 March 2011
Art and the English Bible
To mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, or ‘Authorized Version’ (1611), Michael Wheeler, a well known writer on the Bible and the Arts, offers a lively and wide-ranging lecture on painters and illustrators of the English Bible.
16 February 2011
Women in Japan: Not just a Geisha
This lecture will address the cultural stereotypes of women in Japan as depicted in prints and paintings from 6th century to the present, and compare this with the reality of women’s roles and changing circumstances through various historical periods including the current era.
19 January 2011
Northern Lights: Danish Art and Design c.1800-1960
During the 19th century the Scandinavian countries emerged as a powerful force on the European art scene – from Denmark we have Bertel Thorvaldsen, who rivalled Canova, Vilhelm Hammershoi, the Danish Vermeer, the Skagen group who adopted en plein air painting, and Georg Jensen, who is now recognised as the greatest silversmith of the 20th century.
8 December 2010
Father Frost and Old New Year: Russian Christmas
This lecture explores the rich tradition of religious and folk customs associated with Christmas in Russia, and shows how they are reflected in the Russian arts, with musical illustrations. It also discusses the secular Christmas celebrations introduced to Russia by Peter the Great, how they were transformed by Stalin during Soviet times, and what Christmas means to Russians today.
17 November 2010
David Hockney: A Certain Generosity of Spirit
This lecture explores the intriguing work of one of Britain’s best known artists, one whose work is instantly recognisable and speaks directly to us of the joys and challenges of being alive. We will share the journey of his life from Bradford to London; to New York and Los Angeles and back to Yorkshire.
20 October 2010
Medieval Splendour: The Mosaics of San Marco, Venice
This lecture will explore the making of the stunning mosaics of the Basilica of San Marco, Venice, and their meaning, especially the unique rendering of the story of the Evangelist Mark, the city’s patron Saint.
15 September 2010
Jennie Churchill: Winston’s American Mother
Jennie Churchill was said to have had two hundred lovers, three of whom she married. But her love for her son Winston was the great love of her life as well as her most creative project. She was his advisor, tutor, networker and social secretary. Above all, it was Jennie who gave Winston faith in his own destiny to become the great British leader the country needed in 1940.