Lectures 2023/2024 New Membership Year 2023/2024 7/2/24 Nicholas Merchant Linley – The Continuing Tradition of English Cabinet Making David Linley has established himself as one of the leading furniture designers of our day. His furniture is inspired by the past, re-interpreted for the 21st century. Fortunately he is not alone and the craft of the cabinet maker flourishes in this age of mediocrity. In this fully-illustrated talk, prepared in conjunction with Linley, we examine his work, his style, his inspiration and how his work relates to the history of cabinet-making in Britain. In making this lecture it is interesting to discover that many of the parameters that governed the life of say, an 18th century cabinet maker still hold good to-day. The search for patrons, the marketing of the finished article, the construction of the furniture and the financing of the business all raise their heads just as they did 250 years ago.  6/3/24 Lois Oliver Boris Anrep and the National Gallery Mosaics Visitors to the National Gallery are often surprised to find at their feet mosaics featuring a host of famous characters, including Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, and Greta Garbo, even Lewis Carroll’s Alice and a Christmas pudding. This exuberant mosaic cycle was created by the Russian artist Boris Anrep between 1926 and 1952. A larger-than-life character, Boris Anrep was an intimate of the Bloomsbury Group and a close friend of Augustus John and Anna Akhmatova. His exploits included deeds of derring-do in occupied France, competing in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, and a colourful love-life.  This is an account of an extraordinary man and his work, by the author of Boris Anrep: The National Gallery mosaics. Astronomy detail Boris Anrep mosaic, The National Gallery Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 3/4/24 Dr Paul Roberts Palmyra – Bride of the Desert In this talk we look at one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, the fabled city of Palmyra, in the Syrian desert. Palmyra arose on a trade route that brought silk, spices and other luxuries across the desert from the east. Her wealth and power are displayed in gorgeous monuments, while her people, wealthy, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, are preserved in their hauntingly beautiful funeral portraits. Palmyra became so powerful during the Roman empire that its warrior queen Zenobia challenged Rome itself. We’ll see Palmyra’s meteoric rise and its dramatic fall, its rediscovery by English lords, its influence on art and architecture, and then its desecration by Isis. But we finish with the hope that beautiful Palmyra will rise again… 1/5/24 Julia Marwood Introducing the Scottish Colourists The Scottish Colourists are now acknowledged as one of the most talented, experimental and distinctive groups in twentieth century British art. Their love of Paris in the Belle Époque gave them an early understanding of developments in French modern art, from Manet and the Impressionists to Matisse and the Fauves. Their simple, vibrant and engaging works combine avant-garde influences with an art for art’s sake joie de vivre. This lecture introduces the lives of S J Peploe, J D Fergusson, G L Hunter and F C B Cadell and provides a taste of their joyful and uplifting work. 5/6/24 Ian Swankie Thomas Heatherwick – A Modern Leonardo? The past decade has seen the meteoric rise of this extraordinarily versatile British designer with his acclaimed Olympic cauldron, the iconic new London bus and designs for a spectacular new HQ building for Google. Over the last twenty years the Heatherwick Studio has used an intriguing combination of curiosity and experimentation to produce a vast range of solutions to design challenges around the world. This talk looks at the problems presented, and the wonderfully creative ways in which Heatherwick and his team have responded. Thomas Heatherwick glasshouses for the Bombay Sapphire distillery. A modern extension to Laverstoke Mill. Andrewrabbott Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 3/7/24 Susan Kay-Williams History of the Royal School of Needlework In 2022 the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) will celebrate its 150th anniversary. It was founded to keep hand embroidery alive and to offer suitable occupation to educated women who would otherwise have been destitute. Today it is a thriving centre of hand embroidery education to the highest level. This lecture, goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the last 150 years and the School’s changing fortunes including: being part of the ‘Kensington set’; the links with the Arts and Crafts and Aestheticism movements; the connection with the SAS; the move to Hampton Court Palace and the variety of commissions the RSN has undertaken from wedding dresses to Oscar gowns and from runway garments to ecclesiastical vestments.
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