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February 2011


Banks, Burgundy and Piracy, the 15th Century Artists of Bruges

The lecture by the Rt. Revd. Dr. Christopher Herbert proved to be a fascinating view of the wealth generated in Bruges in the 14th and 15th centuries by the wool and textile trade, and the banking and church personalities of the day. The rich burghers of Bruges patronized artists such as Van Eyck and Hans Memling, and if not assured of a place in heaven, at least they could be certain of being featured in the front row of those worshipping the Christ Child in the wonderful altar pieces and other works of art. Dr Herbert also explained the symbolism in the paintings and that this was a period when art moved from the rather flat representations of medieval art, to works with exquisite detail and realism. His lecture ended by showing us this superb depiction of a young woman by Van Der Weyden.

New lecture programme

Our two lecture planners, Liz Pierce and Naomi Milne, have a wonderful selection lined up us in our year starting May 2011 and are already working on the year 2012/13. If anyone has any suggestions for a topic or a lecturer they would like them to consider for a special interest day or lecture, please get in touch with Now is the time to admit to a passion about misericords, the art of Bhutan or even kitsch! There is a lecturer for every imaginable subject; just ask.

Brief reminders

  • The new Programme Year from May onwards will have a start time of lectures at 7.p.m.
  • Let us know if you change your email address. You can do so on the Contact Us page of our website.
  • The April lecture takes place on Tuesday 19th April not as printed on your card.

Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition

Our April lecture on “Aestheticism: Beauty in Art and Design” very happily coincides with the opening of a new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum entitled “The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860–1900”. Anticipating an interest in this exhibition, Patricia Bywaters is planning a trip to London that will take place on 5th May; a flyer will be sent out around the time of the next lecture.

Sir William Blake Richmond, Portrait of Mrs. Luke Ionides.

If however you are interested in making an independent trip, please note the exhibition opens on 2nd April and runs to 17th July. It will feature paintings, furniture, ceramics, wallpapers, photographs and costumes by many designers and artists, among them Whistler, Rossetti, Leighton, Burne-Jones and William Morris.

The fashion and furniture in this portrait in the V&A epitomise the taste of the aesthetic movement and – interestingly for those who attended our January lecture – was purchased with the help of the Art Fund.


Visit to Docklands Museum

Our first visits flyer has gone out by email – which will save a considerable sum of postage – and if you have not received this, or if you are having trouble printing it, please email and we will try to help you. If you have email, and also receive the flyer in the post, please let us know so that we can save time, print and postage costs. Many thanks.


Any comments or queries about the contents of this Newsletter, or suggestions for future items, please email