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Past Lectures


Tuesday, 21st June 2016 after our AGM
Twentieth Century Sculpture
Linda Smith

This lecture traces the development of sculpture in the twentieth century, from large lumps of marble at one end to unmade beds at the other, and explains how and why this trajectory happened. Key developments like Cubism, Primitivism, Surrealism and Pop Art all affected sculpture, and are carefully explained with a wide range of illustrations.

Linda makes a welcome return after two our most popular lectures. She holds two first-class degrees in Art History and is an experienced guide and lecturer at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Fiona Banner, detail Harrier and Jaguar.
Fiona Banner, detail Harrier and Jaguar.
Tuesday, 24th May 2016 (Please note date)
The Musical and Cultural Life of Shakespeare’s England
Jeremy Barlow

This lecture is to recognize the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare; it portrays not only the high art of court masques, music-making and dancing among the gentry and nobility, but also the broadside ballads, country dances and theatrical jigs of popular culture. It also examines Shakespeare’s use of music in his plays and we will hear recorded examples.

Jeremy is a performer and writer on music. Two recent books include 'The Enraged Musician: Hogarth's Musical Imagery' and 'The Cat and the Fiddle: Images of Musical Humour from the Middle Ages to Modern Times'. He contributed numerous entries to the 'Oxford Companion to Shakespeare', and has made many CDs.

Capability Brown and his Rivals
Joris Hoefnagel, detail Fête at Bermondsey
c 1569
Tuesday, 19th April 2016
Capability Brown and his Rivals
Dr Patrick Conner

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was Britain's greatest landscape gardener. From humble beginnings he rose to the peak of his profession and transformed many of the country's finest estates, including Blenheim, Longleat, Chatsworth, Stowe, Moor Park and Sheffield Park. Under Brown's direction massive quantities of earth were moved as he created lakes, hills and sweeping lawns, superseding the straight avenues and formal patterns of his predecessors. Lodges, bridges and temples were added to his landscaping. Patrick will contrast Brown with William Kent and Humphry Repton; Brown worked with the former at Stowe, and Repton became Brown's leading follower.

Patrick has been Keeper of Fine Art at the Royal Pavilion, Art Gallery and Museums, Brighton, and is now Director of the Martyn Gregory Gallery, London. He is the author of several books including 'Savage Ruskin'.

Capability Brown and his Rivals
Tuesday, 15th March 2016
Bringing Back the Needle: the Story of an Obelisk
Clive Barham Carter

'Cleopatra's Needle' is a remarkable monument – older than London itself and the product an ancient and mysterious civilisation. This lecture looks at the origins of the Needle and tells the story of its adventurous journey to England, brought here through great hardship by private philanthropy, and the genius of British engineering. In spite of this, there was a brisk dispute about its siting on the Embankment.

Clive studied Egyptology at Cambridge and spent a season excavating at Saqqara; he is a member of the Egypt Exploration Society. He has been a school teacher for 30 years, and now lectures for NADFAS and similar groups.

Bringing Back the Needle: the Story of an Obelisk
Tuesday, 16th February 2016
The Golden Age of Venetian Glass
Jane Gardiner

We will look at the early history of glassmaking in Venice and the stylistic development of the glass produced there from the late 15th century to the late 17th century, seen through both objects and through paintings. The desire for luxury objects in the Renaissance and the fashion for fine glass drinking vessels will be examined, and the gradual spread of glassmaking skills to other parts of Europe.

Jane has an MA in the History of Art from the University of London and trained at the V&A. She was Senior Lecturer at Sotherby's for 17 years and became a Deputy Director there. She lectures for numerous bodies including the V&A, the National Trust, the Art Fund, and l'Institut d'Etudes Supérieures des Arts in Paris.

The Golden Age of Venetian Glass The Golden Age of Venetian Glass
Tuesday, 19th January 2016
The Art of Snow and Ice: How Artists Transformed the Winter Landscape
Sue Jackson

The bleak midwinter held little appeal to the artists for many centuries until Bruegel's Hunters in the Snow in the 16th century. From pristine backdrop to the tempestuous snow storms of Turner, and the work of the Impressionists, the ability of artists to convey snow as a symbol of peace but also of grandeur and terror will be examined.

Sue is a history graduate and a Fellow of the Hugenot Society of Great Britain; with a background in art and art history she leads visits to many of London's most important galleries and lectures for the National Trust and NADFAS among others. She is also a Freeman of the City of London.

The Art of Snow and Ice
Tuesday, 8th December 2015
The History of Christmas Shopping
Dr Claire Walsh

By the late nineteenth century Christmas had been transformed from a simple domestic affair, and shopping for the Christmas day meal, to the introduction of Christmas present shopping. The Christmas period became commercialised and expanded from a few days to a six week period within a matter of years. By the early 1900s the shopper's ruthless drive for a bargain and an ability to "shop 'til she dropped" was the target of Punch's wit.

Claire gained her doctorate at the European University Institute in Florence, and has lectured at the V&A, the Courtauld Institute and Museum of London. She has also lectured widely in Europe, the USA, including Yale and the Huntingdon, and in Canada.

Peter the Great: ‘The Blaspheming Bear’
Tuesday, 17th November 2015
Facing up to Goya – Portraits by Goya
Gail Turner

Goya designed tapestries, produced hundreds of etchings, and political works on a broad canvas, but in his powerful and original portraits he turns his critical eye on to his contemporaries. His sitters came from many walks of life: politicians, aristocrats, actresses, bullfighters, as well as friends and relations and the extraordinarily unattractive members of the Spanish Royal Family. How did he manage to get away with such daring and provocative work?

Gail is an historian, art historian and painter who lectures regularly for The Art Fund, Cambridge University International Summer Schools, the Courtauld Institute and the V&A, among others. She has lectured in the Prado and Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. This lecture will help us appreciate the National Gallery exhibition of Goya's portraits, which the Society will visit

Facing up to Goya – Portraits by Goya
Tuesday, 20th October 2015 after the AGM
Edward Seago - Landscape Perfectionist and Royal Favourite
Anthony Russell

‘Ted’ Seago’s landscapes personify a respect for the traditions of British landscape painting as well as impressionism. In Britain, he was part of a remarkable post-impressionist flowering that included artists such as Sickert and Augustus John.
His exhibitions would sell out on the first day, but you won’t find his paintings in Tate Britain. This lecture compares his work with those masters he most admired and asks whether he should now be considered a great master of British art.

Anthony is a cultural historian, writer and artist; he combines painting with tour lecturing and assisting the British Museum with outreach events. The lecturer’s father, artist Rodney F Russell, was a friend and lifetime admirer of Seago.

Edward Seago, Summer on the Norfolk BroadsEdward Seago, Summer on the Norfolk Broads

Edward Seago,
Summer on the Norfolk Broads
Tuesday, 15th September 2015
The Sumptuous World of Indian Textiles: from Punjab to Bengal and the Coromandel Coast
Jasleen Kandhari

We will discover the regional variations of Indian textiles from the Punjab and Gujarat to Bengal and Coromandel Coast, and look at the materials, production techniques and designs like the Boteh or Paisley motif in Kashmir shawls and the stylistic influence on Norwich Shawls. This lecture will coincide with the major exhibition, The Fabric of India at the V&A, which opens in October 2015.

Jasleen is a lecturer and tutor of Indian and Asian Art and textiles at Oxford's Department for Continuing Education, the Ashmolean Museum and Morley College. She has extensive lecturing experience at museums, universities and art societies, including the British Museum, British Library and V&A among many others.

The Sumptuous World of Indian Textiles
Tuesday, 16th June 2015
Why did Laura Knight become so famous?
Timothy Wilcox

Laura Knight rose from an impoverished background to become the first women ever elected to the Royal Academy and the first painter to be made a Dame. She was a War Artist in both world wars and was part of the generation that saw women gain entry to formerly male professions. Timothy looks at her long and highly varied career and her friendships with many leading artists, performers and writers.

Timothy Wilcox read modern languages at Cambridge and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and has been a curator at the V&A and worked in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. He has curated numerous exhibitions including for Tate, The Lowry, Dulwich Picture Gallery and elsewhere.

Why did Laura Knight become so famous?
Tuesday 19th May 2015
The Punch and Judy Show - a Subversive Symbol of Commedia Dell’Arte to the Present Day
Bertie Pearce

Mr Punch is the most famous puppet character of all time and his irreverence gave Punch magazine its title. He appeared in England in 1662 – a descendant of the Italian clown Pulcinella of the Commedia Del-Arte tradition. His anarchic vitality and slapstick dispenses with political authority, and he has inspired opera, ballet and rock music.

Bertie, who has entertained us before with his lecture on the History of Magic, returns to talk about The Punch and Judy Show. He has a BA (Hons) in Drama and a diploma Internationale from the Ecole Internationale du Théatre Jacques Lecoq. He is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. He has lectured to numerous bodies and toured the world with a magic cabaret show.

The Punch and Judy Show

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