Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training.
Past Lectures May 5th 2021 World Famous Photographs; Images that shaped our future Lecturer: Brian Stater This lecture examines a series of iconic photographs that are embedded in our collective memory. They range from records of historic events, to fabulous portraits and scenes of emotional release and joy. The talk analyses the power of these images, traces the fascinating stories of how they came to be produced, and places them in the context of our appreciation of art. April 7th 2021 Lost on the Titanic. The Story of the Great Omar Binding Lecturer: Dominic Riley The Great Omar was the most fabulous, elaborate and opulent binding ever created. It was embellished with over one thousand jewels, five thousand leather onlays and a hundred square feet of gold leaf, and took a team of craftsmen over two and a half years to make. It went down with the Titanic. This lecture tells the story of the making of the fabulous Great Omar. It is also the story of the renowned bookbinding firm of Sangorski and Sutcliffe - who were known for their elaborate jewelled bindings - and the men that made this extraordinary book. It also tells the moving story of life after the tragedy, and of one young man in particular, who decided against the odds to recreate the binding, a venture which itself is mired in tragedy and which occupied him for the rest of his life. March 3rd 2021 “Now You See It, Now You Don’t” Lecturer: Bertie Pearce This is one of the quirkiest lectures you will ever hear. There is a universal delight in being deceived and in this lecture Bertie Pearce takes his audience on a whistle stop tour of art which fools, surprises and amuses the viewer. Beginning and ending with the Belgian surrealist, René Magritte, it encompasses Trompe L’eoil, Banksy, Bridget Riley, Arcimboldo and Escher to name a few. Hold on to your seats and get ready to be visually fried. February 3rd 2021 Edwin Lutyens, Architect to Dolls, Dukes and Dynasties Lecturer: Nicholas Merchant Here is an architect whose work, over a period of half a century, spanned the globe and the British Empire in particular. Born the tenth child of the erstwhile soldier, turned sporting artist, Charles Lutyens, Edwin was a godson of the famous Victorian artist, Edwin Landseer. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that with this background he should show from an early age an artistic bent. In his case this manifest itself in architecture. After a somewhat rickety start in the offices of Ernest George, Edwin set up on his own at the age of twenty. His friendship and encouragement by the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll was of immeasurable benefit and one sees when one looks at the list of Lutyens’ works that by 1897 (when he was 28) that his order book was full with commissions from the great and the good of those halcyon days before the first war. So it was to continue throughout his career. Aided by his marriage to Lady Emily Lytton and his friendship with Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life magazine, Lutyens’ career continued to prosper. January 6th 2021 A 21st Century Renaissance Chatsworth and the Devonshire Collection in the Modern Age Lecturer: Simon Seligman Since the 1950s, Chatsworth and its collections have undergone a renaissance under the leadership of first the 11th, and now the 12th, Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This lecture paints a portrait of Devonshire’s treasure house in the modern age, illustrating the extensive recent decorative and furnishing renovations in the house and the restoration of historic interiors, stone work and works of art. The lecture also includes work by modern and contemporary artists in the collection at Chatsworth including Lucian Freud, Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and David Nash, to Richard Long, Allen Jones, Michael Craig-Martin and Edmund de Waal. Click here for the Chatsworth web site. December 2nd 2020 “A Day in the Life of a Picture Restorer” Lecturer: Sarah Cove This lecture discuss the nature of oil painting materials, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and common problems associated with the ageing and deterioration of, and damage to, easel paintings. These can be on canvas, panel, board or paper in a range of mediums: oil, acrylic, egg tempera, or mixed media. Problems can involve natural deterioration and neglect, accidental damage, vandalism and even war – the most surprising event being a large hole caused by a Turkish cannon ball going through a picture in the 18th century!! Click here to read more about restoration. November 4th 2020 “Pompeii and Herculaneum. Their Life and Death”. Lecturer: Dr P. Roberts We go back in time to learn about the art, people and daily life of the amazing buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In AD 79 an eruption of Mt Vesuvius destroyed two cities - Pompeii with its industry and urban grid, Herculaneum, smaller and more genteel. They are an archaeologist’s dream, a time capsule of artefacts, buildings and people. October 7th 2020 1st lecture of the new membership year. “Flowers of Impressionist Youth. WW1 and their Remembrance” Lecturer: Caroline Holmes Following the end of the First World War in 1918, Monet’s great friend Georges Clemenceau, much to Winston Churchill’s disgust, at the Treaty of Versailles insisted on retribution for the ignominy of the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War. These two wars frame the dissemination of Impressionism from Paris to its blossoming across the world and the flower of its youth from coming to die on the battlefields of the second. Through paintings and writings we trace the reactions of Monet and Renoir in France and actions of Australian Impressionists such as McCubbin, Streeton and Russell. The buoyant field poppies of Monet’s youth matured into his greatest decoration – Les Nymphéas. 4 March 2020 “Canaletto in England” by Andrew Davies In May 1746 the great Venetian artist Canaletto moved to England. European war had prevented Englishmen from embarking on their Grand Tour so Canaletto reasoned that if they would not come to him, he had better go to them. For the next 9 years he created nearly 150 works of art showing us Georgian England, from the Lord Mayor's show and the construction of Westminster Bridge to the Vauxhall pleasure gardens, Eton College and Warwick Castle. We will revel in the delights of Canaletto's stay until in 1755, he returned home to Venice for good. More about Canaletto’s stay in England 5 February 2020 “The Borgias, the most infamous family in history” by Sarah Dunant Murder, poison, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? This lecture reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politics during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal, general, employer of Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince, and the journey of Lucrezia Borgia from “the greatest whore in Rome” to a devout and treasured duchess of the city Ferrara. Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth 8 January 2020 (NB 2nd Wednesday) “The Green Man in art and myth” by David Bostwick The human face, carved as a mask disgorging leaves from its mouth – and known today as the Green Man – is found widespread across Europe as an ornament in medieval churches and secular buildings. It is a motif derived from the art of the pre-Christian past, and is thought to represent a pagan nature god absorbed into Christian imagery. Since Tudor times, actors dressed in leaves, and known variously as Jack-in-the-Green, Summer Lord or Robin Hood, have appeared in May Day celebrations, and are thought to indicate a survival of belief in the old nature spirits and fertility gods. This lecture reveals the fascinating truth. Click here to learn more about the Green Man myth 4 December 2019 “The Inventors of Christmas” by Alan Read Everyone knows the ingredients of a traditional Christmas: gathering round the Christmas tree, pulling crackers, eating Christmas pudding and mince pies. Those last-minute cards sent to people you’ve not seen all year. These are the festive celebrations with which most of us grew up and they still hold a special magic as representing the timeless Christmases of days gone by. But where did they start? This lecture looks at the characters and personalities of the people who began those traditions or introduced them to this country. 6 November 2019 “The Art of Snow & Ice” by Sue Jackson The bleak midwinter held little appeal to the artist for many centuries until Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow in the 16th century. From pristine backdrop to the tempestuous snow storms of Turner to the capturing of ‘snow effect’ by the Impressionists, the ability of artists to convey snow as a symbol of peace but also of grandeur and terror is compelling. This was the first meeting of the membership year. 2 October 2019 “Hidden canvasses - Street Art and the City” by Doug Gillen There's more to the world of street art than Banksy, Hidden Canvases is a beginner's guide to the biggest art movement since pop art. From train writing in New York to interactive technology that brings murals to life, the concept of un-commissioned public art is a very different beast to that which it once was. Hidden Canvases explores the key stages in street art's growth examining the different elements and styles that comprise the scene with no rules. From the international superstars to the local underground heroes you're guaranteed to leave knowing your Invader from you Aryz and who knows you might even start looking at the world a little differently. Click here to see Doug Gillens own web site - videos and reviews of art from around the world.
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