Past Lectures & Trips
Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training.
June 13th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Followed by Lecture Andrew Spira PLEASURE & SENSATION IN THE 18TH CENT. FRANCE We take it for granted that we are free to enjoy whatever appeals to us. But this hasn’t always been the case. Before the 18th century many of life’s pleasures were justified on account of their moral potential. This illustrated talk will explain how it became increasingly acceptable in 18th century France to enjoy the pleasures of life for their own sake, in luxury goods and otherwise - sometimes to scandalous effect! With your guide Andrew Spira, from world-renowned auction house Christie’s, indulge your eyes and soul on a rich menu of French culture in this juicy evening art salon. The Love Letter by Francois Boucher, the National Gallery, Washington D.C May 9th THE RICHEST OF LEGACIES: THE BRITISH COLONIAL BUILDINGS OF INDIA ANTHONY PEERS This lecture’s narrative revolves around my experience of having masterminded a British Government backed project to restore the magnificent George Gilbert Scott designed university buildings in Mumbai (Bombay), India. The chapters of this building’s story- its design (in England), construction, history and, of course, its restoration – provide useful startpoints from which to consider the broader historical, cultural and architectural context. For instance the lecture looks into Bombay’s economic boom of the 1860s. This coincided with the high point of the Gothic Revival: Nowhere else in the world can claim to have as magnificent an assemblage of Gothic Revival buildings. Whilst examining the city’s colonial architecture study is made of the carvings of Bombay’s Jeejeebhoy School of Art (see above), whose Architectural Sculpture Department (during this mid-Victorian heyday) was headed up by John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling. The story of the award winning project to restore the University of Mumbai’s Gothic Revival buildings provides an opportunity to touch upon philosophical approaches to conservation as well as traditional repair techniques. Account is also given of the work undertaken by those who took time away from their respective Cathedral workshops in the UK to transfer knowledge and skills to their Indian counterparts. Venturing beyond Mumbai to consider key colonial buildings in Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Yangon (Rangoon), the scope of the lecture broadens to examine evolving attitudes in India and beyond (as well as in the UK) towards the British empire and also towards the buildings which survive as testament to its achievements. Bombay University Garden, circa 1890 April 11th THE MIS-SHAPEN PEARL: AN OVERVIEW OF THE MUSIC OF THE BAROQUE PERIOD SANDY BURNETT Starting in 1607 with Monteverdi’s astonishing opera Orfeo, and ending in 1759 with the death of that great “English” composer George Frideric Handel, the Baroque era produced music of great brilliance and emotional depth. In helping to navigate us through its choppy waters, Sandy draws on his experience as broadcaster, conductor and hands-on practical musician. His in- depth exploration of this fascinating period of Classical music draws on hand-picked images, autograph scores and recorded musical illustrations, with a special focus on the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Click here for background on the baroque period music. SPRING OUTING 2019 Thursday April 4th BOUGHTON HOUSE, KETTERING GOLDEN JUBILEE The present Duke of Buccleuch welcomes his guests as follows:- ‘It is with great pleasure that my wife and invite you to Boughton House and Gardens, home to my Montagu ancestors since 1528. The House is famous for its internationally renowned Art Collection and full fascinating history. Beyond the House, you will find beautiful gardens and a landscape unlike any other. We hope you enjoy the peace and serenity of these areas of the Estate including the recently restored Grand Etang, or Great Lake and its fountain.’ The cost for the day is £47 per person - this includes the House tour and the Estate tour, morning coffee and biscuits, afternoon tea and cake, the coach fare, all gratuities and any administration costs. March 14th THE WALLACE & FRICK COLLECTIONS AND THEIR CONNECTION WITH KNOLE HILARY WILLIAMS Raffle for Heritage Volunteers Amazingly the connoisseurship which led to the sumptuous collections at the Wallace Collection in London and the Frick in New York, is linked by a circle of patrons, dealers and taste.  Apart from Sir Richard and Lady Wallace and the American industrialist Henry Clay Frick, there was someone who worked for them all, who then left a related fortune to the mother of Vita Sackville-West.  Therein lies a great story. Click here to read about the Wallace collection scandal. February 14th BREAD & CIRCUSES: FUN, FROLIC AND FREAK SHOWS IN A MULTI-MEDIA FORMAT LIBBY HORNER It’s all Juvenal’s fault. A political strategy for keeping the masses happy – give them food and entertainment. So they had gladiators and exotic animals and chariot races – mostly pretty cruel and violent – but they also had plays and pantomimes and public baths. The Circus Maximus was huge, seating 350,000 people and one could exit via the gift shop. In 1768 the circus was reinvented in Britain by Philip Astley and celebrates its 250 th anniversary in 2018 – think of those legendary names Bertram Mills, Chipperfields and Billy Smart. Find fun, frolic and freak shows in my inimitable innovative multi-media format lecture, combining art (Laura Knight, Georges Roualt etc), photographs, archival film, songs, music and quotations from writers and poets. There might even be some bread. Click here for the history of the Circus December 13th THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS RE-VISITED THROUGH ITS ILLUSTRATORS JOHN ERICSON Raffle for C.R. Funds The beauty of Kenneth Grahame’s prose is widely acknowledged but the story is so full of wonderful imagery that it almost demands to be illustrated. First published in 1908 without illustration, the classic tale of Ratty, Mole, and the incorrigible Mr Toad has been in print ever since. What is less well known is that it has been illustrated by more than ninety artists – making it the most widely illustrated book in the English language. However, ‘Willows’ is a far more interesting book than its popular and often young audience might appreciate. It deserves recognition as a novel in which adult readers will find not just humour and entertainment but wisdom and meaning. In this engaging presentation we will revisit the story as depicted by numerous well known illustrators such as E H Shepard, Arthur Rackham, Robert Ingpen, Val Biro and Inga Moore. Where appropriate we will compare and contrast the same scene in the book through the eyes of different artists, a study known as ‘comparative illustration'. We will also explore how the story came to be written for Grahame’s son Alastair and the interesting but ultimately tragic life of Kenneth Grahame. More about the book and its illustrators. November 8th DAZZLING DUFY: RAOUL DUFY - A LUMINOUS FEAST MARY ALEXANDER Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was a key player in early twentieth century avant garde art, design and literary/theatrical circles in Paris. As a widely travelled polymath, Dufy's charismatic personality, wit and curiosity about the world was infectious. His imagination and technical virtuosity - across a range of media including painting and lithography, posters, book illustration, theatrical set design, textiles and fashion, ceramics and large murals - cut across all conventional boundaries. Whether a small intricate woodcut illustrating a love poem, or the truly gigantic 1937 world fair murals depicting the role of electricity in the modern age, the effect is mesmerising. Dufy defies categorisation, constantly innovating and experimenting with new materials and effects. His analysis of the visual world is sophisticated and joyous in equal measure. Perhaps this goes some way to explain why some later critics fail to grasp its complexity and pigeonhole him a 'decorative artist', or misunderstand the irony in his witty yet gentle caricatures of elegant social life. Above Deauville, Drying the Sails (1933) Raoul Dufy at the Tate October 16th Visit to CROMFORD MILLS, DERBYSHIRE STUDY DAY October 22nd AT GREAT PONTON VILLAGE HALL Chris Bradley TREASURES OF THE SILK ROAD The Silk Road extended for over 8,000 kms, acting as a highway for beliefs, ideas, inventions and art, whilst silk was just one of the many products traded for 1,400 years. Buddhism spread throughout Central Asia and there are wonderful paintings from the Magao Caves at Dunhuang and the 'Caves of the Thousand Buddhas' at Bezeklik. Samarkand and Bukhara are the beginning of the great Islamic buildings that continue through Persia and Syria. Along the way we see traditional murals, ceramics, statues, carpets, architecture, mosaics, tile-work, rock carvings and of course, silk itself. Click here for more about the Silk Road October 11th ART BEHIND BARS: THE ROLE OF THE ARTS IN THE CYCLE OF CRIME, PRISON AND RE-OFFENDING ANGELA FINDLAY Bring & Buy for C.R. Funds Years of working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and Germany have given Angela unique insights into the destructive and costly cycle of crime, prisons and re- offending. In this thought-provoking talk she offers a deeper understanding of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. And, with extraordinary slides of art projects and prisoner’s art, she demonstrates how within the process of creating art of any discipline, there are vital opportunities for offenders to confront their crimes and develop the key life skills so essential in leading a positive and productive life. A frequent response to this talk has been “I had no idea!” and indeed it casts light onto areas of our society where the Arts are not only visual, decorative, or commercial, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant and potentially life-changing. This talk is moving, informative and very original. Interspersed with personal accounts of humorous or slightly horrifying situations, Angela talks have kept audiences across the country engrossed. Click here for Angela’s web site September 13th 2018 SECRETS OF THE ROYAL PAVILION: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF GEORGE IV’S REGENCY PALACE JACKIE MARSH-HOBBS Brighton’s Royal Pavilion is one of the most famous and exotic buildings in Britain, attracting over 300,000 visitors per year from all over the world. Built for King George IV as his retreat from the formality of his duties as Prince Regent, its majestic Indian architecture is beautifully complemented by the chinoiserie interior. It took John Nash eight years to transform Henry Holland’s neo-classical Marine Pavilion into a spectacular palace, started for the Prince Regent and finished for him when he was the King in 1823. The extravagant lavish interior was completed by an army of craftsman, producing a staggering about of rich decorative detail, clever effects and gilding. Furniture was designed and made to be part of the decorative schemes throughout the palace, records show how various firms worked together on individual pieces. In 1850 Queen Victoria sold the Royal Pavilion to the Town Commissioners after the building had been stripped of its contents, consequently changing the palace from royal residence to civic building. Today the Royal Pavilion has been returned to its original splendour, beautifully restored and furnished, including many original artefacts on permanent loan from the royal collection. My lecture looks at the amazing history of the Royal Pavilion its secrets, struggles and magnificent interior decoration, whilst looking behind closed doors. Click here for The Royal Pavilion web site 14 June    Simon Inglis       AGM  A Healthy Body in a Healthy Mind - sporting spectacles of Victorian Britain. This lecture argues that the modern Olympics owe more to Victorian Britain than to classical Greece. With their love of rules and regulations, often allied to their passion for gambling, British pioneers of the 19th century revolutionised the way ordinary people ‘played the game’. WG Grace made cricket a national obsession. The Scots refashioned ancient games such as goff, foot-ball and bowlis. The invention of the lawnmower and of vulcanised rubber heralded the invention of lawn tennis. Artificial ice rinks, shale running tracks, indoor swimming pools and landscaped golf courses – all were made possible by Victorian innovators. Thereafter, British manufacturers packaged and marketed these new recreational pastimes and sold them to eager audiences overseas. A century that began with bull-baiting and cock-fighting ended in ‘rational recreation’ and mass-spectator professional sport. Albion, not Olympia, provided the real model for what was to follow. Click here for more information on Victorian sporting events BBC site on Victorian sports The Houses & History of Devon 5 days from £549 Departing 27th June 2018  Half board accommodation at a 3 star hotel. Morton Hall Gardens with introductory talk Buckland Abbey Morwellham Quays & George Charlotte Copper Mine Exeter Cathedral with guided tour Killerton                                                                          Above: Killerton Royal Britannia Naval College with guided tour Boat transfer to Greenway House & Gardens (boat tickets included) Greenway House & Gardens River Dart Cruise from Greenway House & Gardens to Totnes (boat tickets included) Brunel’s SS Great Britain Best Western Livermead Cliff Hotel in Torquay (www.bestwestern.co.uk). Torquay's only waterside hotel with direct private access to an award winning European Blue Flag Beach, it is a level walk to the Marina and town centre. The hotel has a restaurant and bar and all rooms are en suite.                                                       Above: The Library at Greenway House with it’s unexpected frieze The tour will be open to non members after 1st November. Click here for a complete itinerary and a booking form with all details. Click here for the Killerton web site Click here for Morwellham Quays web site 10 May  Susan Owens Ghosts We all know what we mean by ghosts. But what exactly do they look like? You might think that they haven’t changed much over time. But they have – and we know this because for centuries artists have been depicting them. Medieval wall-paintings represent ghosts not as insubstantial spirits, but as walking corpses that say: ‘what we are now, you will become – so mend your ways’. In illustrations to popular ballads of the 17th century, ghosts wore the shrouds they were buried in – it was much later that they began to wear voluminous white sheets. In the Victorian era, see-through ghosts were caught on camera. Some ghosts wear period costume, a signal that they are visitors from the past. Many are headless – even, curiously, when they were not decapitated. Telling the fascinating story of ghosts in English culture, this lecture draws on diverse and intriguing visual sources – medieval manuscripts and church-wall paintings, political caricatures, photography, paintings, book illustrations, magic lantern slides, optical illusions, children’s toys, films, folk art and video projections. It looks at what ghosts’ changing appearance, as depicted in the visual arts, reveals about them – and us. Background to the history of Ghosts 12 April   Dan Evans Michelangelo: Paper, Stone & Flesh Michelangelo was grumpy, dirty, ugly and tight-fisted but produced sculpture, painting and architecture of such startling beauty and originality that two biographies were written in his lifetime, we know exactly what he looked like in life and at his death and today we have over 1400 surviving letters by his own hand. Over 450 years have passed since the death of this talented yet tempestuous superstar, this lecture sets out to examine several of his drawings, a little of his poetry and a number of his finished and unfinished works with the aim of all but summoning the great man to the room. Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra Background to Michelangelo’s life 8 March  Martin Lloyd Fuego, Humo y Hierro – how Spanish artists portrayed the iron and steel industry in Bilbao Bilbao in Spain had been producing iron for centuries, drawing in workers from all over the country. Its rapid industrialisation in the nineteenth century was helped in no little measure by British capital and entrepreneurship. By 1985, it was all over. But the rise, heyday and fall of the Bilbaoan iron industry has been fixed forever in oils, water colours and bronze. In this lecture, he first shows how iron is turned into steel, illustrating the equipment used and explaining the processes involved. He then introduces the artistic works which have recorded the iron and steel industry of Bilbao over the last 150 years and the viewer is thus equipped to identify and understand the activities represented.  Blast Furnaces in Bilbao, 1908 - Darío de Regoyos y Valdés 8 February 2018  Jacqui Hyman What Did the Egyptians Ever do for Bolton? Bolton’s connection to Egypt dates back to the 1860s when local cotton manufacturers began trading with cotton merchants in Alexandria. Annie Barlow, a mill owner’s daughter, had a chance meeting with Flinders Petrie whilst he was excavating in the Nile Delta, resulting in her becoming the Honorary Secretary of the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society in the North West. She collected local subscriptions for the benefit of Bolton Museum which today houses the most important and unique collection of Egyptian textile artefacts in the UK. These Egyptian textiles I have personally documented and conserved which has enabled this lecture to provide a detailed insight into the skill of the Egyptian textile weavers and embroiderers from the Pharaonic periods through to the 10th century AD. The lecture has detailed colourful images of clothing, furnishing fabrics through to mummified animals, all with a story to tell. 4th century Egyptian printed cloth. Bolton Museum Egyptian Collection Museum plans for gallery 14 December  Sarah Lenton Christmas at Covent Garden The London Christmas season was invented at Covent Garden. The first theatre on the site was the home of Harlequin and Columbine and 300 years on Harlequin and Columbine are still dancing in ‘The Nutcracker’.  Most of what we now consider to be quintessential Pantomime – principal boy, fairy tales, transformation scenes and the dame, can be traced  back to the operas and ballets put on at Covent Garden during its first 200 years.   Panto has moved on to the Palladium, but you can still see its basic components in the seasonal operas and ballets the Royal Opera House puts on every year: Rossini’s ‘Cenerentola’ (Cinderella) for  example or Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or  Ashton’s ‘Cinderella’. The repertoire changes every year and this lecture is up­dated to include current ROH Christmas offerings. Royal Opera House 1861 Royal Opera House Covent Garden web site 9 November  Linda Smith From Egg to Bacon:  English Painting 1850-1950 This talk gives an account of developments in British painting (and the occasional sculpture) from the days of the Pre-Raphaelites to the aftermath of World War Two. This was a particularly fertile period in the history of art, and the talk pays particular attention to the way in which developments in Paris were received by the London art world; and how British artists contributed to the exciting exchange of new ideas. Some of the artists mentioned and/or discussed (but always subject to change): Augustus Egg, The Pre-Raphaelites, James Tissot, Albert Moore, James McNeil Whistler, Gwen John, Augustus John, Walter Sickert, The Bloomsbury Group, The Vorticists, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon. Information on Augustus Egg Francis Bacon web site 12 October  Yasha Beresiner The Jews in England  and the East End of London Nothing is known about Jews in England before 1066, when William brought them with him from Normandy, to settle in London, Oxford and York. They prospered as money lenders and doctors – the only two trades open to them - until a series of anti Semitic attacks that finally led to their expulsion by King Edward I in 1290. They returned in 1655 at the invitation of Cromwell and notwithstanding struggle and strife, they have not looked back since. The East End accommodated the immigrant community for many years and within that community the colourful and symbolic traditions of the ‘Chosen People’ have survived over the centuries to date. The Jews history in England The web site for the Jewish Museum 14 September David Winpenny A Very Dangerous Work: Gilbert Scott and the Restoration of Ripon Cathedral Sir George Gilbert Scott was the most prominent and most prolific architect of the 19th century. Perhaps best known today for the Albert memorial and the Midland Hotel at St Pancras, Scott was celebrated in his day as a designer of churches and a restorer of cathedrals. Scott’s career, from his early days as a designer of workhouses, though his awakening to Gothic architecture by reading Pugin, to his knighthood and his burial in Westminster Abbey, is outlined in this talk. We detail his spat with Lord Palmerston over his designs for the Foreign Office and look at a neglected aspect of his work, his country houses. Taking Ripon Cathedral as an example, we also looks at his cathedral restoration work – which attracted criticism later in his career, notably from William Morris.  Scott’s Ripon restoration shows how his intervention could be sensitive and careful (and vital to stop imminent collapse) but also occasionally cavalier. It is certainly due to his work that Ripon and at least 25 other British Cathedrals are still standing. More information on George Gilbert Scott Ripon Cathedral web site 22 September Study Day with Linda Smith From the Sublime to the Ridiculous:  Reynolds, Hogarth and Gillray Session One: William Hogarth (1697-1764): Hogarth is nowadays mostly remembered as a talented satirist, but there is much more to him than that. He was extremely ambitious in other artistic fields, including portraiture, history painting, and art theory. He was also a tireless self-promoter and entrepreneur, with a real and practical concern for the status of his profession. This talk tracks his career from humble copper-plate engraver to successful painter, showing a wide variety of images which demonstrate his exceptional originality and inventiveness. Above all, however, it is his unparalleled eye for absurdity and human weakness which not only tells us so much about his own times, but gives us food for thought about our own. Session Two: Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92) and the Royal Academy: Joshua Reynolds became the Royal Academy’s first President, and was the obvious choice for the job. He had travelled widely in Europe in his youth, worked hard to become the pre-eminent portrait painter of the day, and was comfortable in the drawing-rooms and salons of wealthy and influential people. He was also an extremely efficient businessman and administrator. By looking at his career, and how he adapted European artistic fashions to suit British tastes, this talk reveals a good deal about the world he operated in. Session Three: James Gillray (1757-1815): In the hands of James Gillray, the art of caricature became a highly sophisticated and inventive aspect of the visual culture of his period. The breathtaking audacity and sheer rudeness of his work still has the power to make people laugh out loud. But through his work, we can also get a glimpse of the riotous side of the high society which Reynolds presented so elegantly; and a sense of the cut-throat nature of the political scene at the time. Gillray lived at a time of immense social and political upheaval, dominated by a handful of larger-than-life public personalities, and it is very revealing to see how they were viewed by this master of disrespect. Information on Hogarth Information on Joshua Reynolds Information on Gillray Please click here for a booking form
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