Past Lectures & Trips
Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training.
21 April 2022 Angela Findlay The Other Side, Counter Memorials - Germany's post WW2 culture of Apology and Atonement In the context of our World War centenaries, anniversaries and the current debate about statues and monuments, the subject of this talk is hugely relevant. In this country, relatively little is known about Germany’s complex post-WW2 process of ‘coming to terms with’ the atrocities of its recent past and the counter memorial movement that started in the eighties and continues to this day. Germany’s very specific situation rendered all traditional concepts of monuments and memorials irrelevant and inappropriate. Instead of commemorating their own losses, German artists created art forms that responded to questions of apology and atonement: How does a nation of former persecutors mourn its victims? How do you remember what you would rather forget? The idea behind counter memorials is to keep the memories and lessons of the past alive in the individual psyches of the people. The results are extraordinary, brave and inspiring. With her Anglo-German roots, artistic background and years of research, Angela is in an ideal position to give insights into Germany’s fascinating and on-going efforts to find artistic forms to remember and apologise for one of history’s darkest periods. HALF STUDY DAY 16 March 2022 Sophie Oosterwijk The Breughel Family 10 March 2022 Albert Godetzky Durer: Life, Ego and Afterlife Already in his own day, Albrecht Dürer was a larger- than-life figure. Through the high quality of his woodcutting, and the facility with which printed culture could be disseminated, Dürer became an international success. Not a stranger to a mode of self-fashioning that would sit comfortably in today’s social media channels, Dürer crafted a lasting legacy for his art through his prints, paintings, and copious writing. Yet, the words he wrote - as much as the images he invented - reveal a man in profound search of his identity, especially at a time when social and religious values were in radical flux. This lecture will trace the artist’s origins in his goldsmith father’s workshop in Nuremberg, his ambitious travels in Italy and subsequent patronage by the Habsburgs. 10 February 2022 Shauna Isaac Art of the Steal - Nazi Looting during WW2 The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II, confiscating art from Jewish families and emptying museums throughout Europe. This lecture will provide an overview of Nazi looting by setting the scene in Nazi Germany, discussing Hitler’s obsession with art and how the Monuments Men recovered art after the war. Several landmark cases will be discussed in detail, including Gustav Klimt’s celebrated Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and the stash of over 1200 artworks found in possession of the son of a notorious Nazi dealer. 9 December 2021 Clare Ford-Wille The Nativity in Art from Giotto to Picasso The Nativity must be one of the most popular subjects of all with artists north and south of the Alps from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Sometimes the scene takes place at night, sometimes during the day. The lecture will explore the many variations of the scene and the possible meanings, depending on whether midwives, Joseph or shepherds are present, and analyse the various postures and gestures of the Virgin as she adores the Christ Child. 11 November 2021 Sandy Burnett Beethoven at 250 Born in Bonn in December 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven became one of the greatest and most disruptive figures in the history of classical music. This talk presents an overview of this brilliant, cantankerous, visionary and astonishingly original composer, someone who tore up the rule book of classical music; visual illustrations include a selection of contemporary portraits, while musical examples are drawn from his genre-busting piano sonatas, quartets and symphonies, and from the revolutionary opera Fidelio. It reveals how Beethoven became a true Romantic artist, or as he preferred to describe himself, a “poet in sound.” 14 October 2021 John Francis GPO Avant-garde Film Unit Words by WH Auden and music by Benjamin Britten loudly announced the beginning of ‘poetic realism’ and the Documentary film movement. The General Post Office Film Unit (1933) established an exciting collaboration of artists, photographers, composers, anthropologists, poets and animators. Together we will explore Nightmail (1936) and Len Lye’s hugely inventive camera less, A Colour Box (1935). The social realism advocacy of Director John Grierson’s has left a powerful legacy which can be easily identified in the recent films of Ken Loach and Danny Boyle. Click here to see the whole film, 23 minutes in all, click on the ‘Watch for free’ button. No sound at the beginning but sound starts a few seconds after the film starts. The other film mentioned in the talk was Len Lye’s ColourBox. Click here to see the film (approx 3 minutes) STUDY DAY 21 October 2021 Mary Alexander Why Paris? Whether strolling along Haussmann's new boulevards, ascending the magnificent staircase of Garnier's Opéra House, calling into an artist's studio, cafe, nightclub, or couture fitting, we will recreate the sense of 'being there'. Literary descriptions by Zola, Stein, Cocteau, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald will accompany the sumptuous visual details photographed especially for this purpose. Comparisons between the international Paris exhibitions of 1900, 1925 and 1937 will shed light on changing social/cultural issues, rapid technological change, and the key role of couture and fashion in French identity, especially during the German Occupation, and immediately after the Liberation. This new Special Interest Day 'Why Paris?' has evolved by popular request from many societies who have enjoyed my 'New York New York' SID. A similar inclusive and exploratory approach is used with location maps, using both contemporary and old photographs of the city, various art and design media, to share many of the questions which have fascinated me over the years. Whether you know the city well or not at all, there will be new and exciting discoveries for everyone. Session One : La Belle Époque - city of pleasure and reinvention 1890s - 1914 Session Two: Partying into the Future 1920s and 30s Session Three: Paris Exposition 1937, Occupation and Defiance I will bring a selection from my personal vintage postcard collection, advertisements, fashion plates, and historic exhibition catalogues for your enjoyment. Click here for the reading list requested by several people on the Study Day 9 September 2021 at 2pm Caroline MacDonald-Haig Caroline MacDonald-Haig Whitefriars Glass, a leading London glass house No synopsis 10 June 2021 at 2:30 on Zoom Jackie Marsh-Hobbs A Passion for Piers A delightfully entertaining look at the history of pleasure piers covering just over 200 years, from the first pier in the Regency period up to the present day. Almost 100 pleasure piers were built around our coastline, diverse in designs and some crowned with exotic palaces or pavilions. These elegant structures bear witness to the remarkable skills of the Victorian engineers and are an important part of our social history symbolizing the nation’s love of days out and summer holidays at seaside resorts. A celebration covering the heyday of piers, how generations have enjoyed the fresh air and sea views, been captivated by the amusements and entertained by a variety of artists. The incredible stories of our surviving piers, whether they are successful flourishing or sadly in trouble, their future and the ongoing struggle to keep them. Click here for a list of piers and where to find them 3 May 2021 at 2:30 on Zoom James Wright Tattershall Castle: The Newly Built Personality of Ralph Lord Cromwell Rising from a Lincolnshire family of limited political influence, Ralph Cromwell became one of the most significant figures of the mid-fifteenth century. Linking structure to biography, the personality of a man on the rise from Lord of the Manor to Lord Treasurer of England is reflected in the power statements of his castles, great houses and ecclesiastical buildings. This can be contrasted with glimpses of the vulnerabilities and status anxieties bound up in his social identity with emphatic, yet revealing architectural statements revolving around his motto, heraldry, livery badges and repeated architectural devices. Those structures which he commissioned then went on to have an extraordinarily powerful legacy which lasted for over 150 years of English architecture. 8 April 2021 at 2:30 on Zoom Karin Fernald The Black-Brow’d Cantor with Music by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel A strong influence on younger brother Felix, the teenage Fanny Mendelssohn composed and played prolifically. Persuaded by their banker father to take a back seat, she married an impoverished artist who enjoyed collaborating with her. She continued to play and compose; publishing works under her brother’s name and, after their father’s death, under her own. She died aged 42. Of her exquisite songs Felix said “They prove that true music exists….that the soul is made of music.” With songs by Fanny Hensel, portraits by Wilhelm Hensel, watercolours by Felix Mendelssohn and paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. 11 March 2021 at 2:30 on Zoom James Bolton After Miss Jekyll: English Gardens of the Late 20th/21st Century The long shadow of the Arts and Crafts Movement has hung over English gardening for most of the twentieth century. The dominance of Miss Jekyll and the enduring popularity of gardens at Hidcote and Sissinghurst have proved to be an enduring legacy. There were always subversive undercurrents of alternative styles and influences which, as the new century gets into its stride, have gained a greater importance and momentum. Post-Modernism, rich in symbolism, has, in gardens like Portrack, Little Sparta and Througham Court, explored the worlds of literature and science; while plants, for centuries an abiding passion of English gardeners, have continued to cast their spells, with newly-discovered plants enriching gardens across the country. The New Perennial movement, originating in Europe, has allied itself to our increasing desire to go organic and the interest in woodland and wild-flower meadows to produce a freer, gentler style of painting, spearheaded by Tom Stuart- Smith, perhaps more in tune with the Twenty-First Century. Reading list: English Garden History, Tom Turner, Antique Collectors Club The Architect and his wife, Jane Ridley, Chatto and Windus Gardens with Atmosphere, Arne Maynard, Conran Octopus English Gardens in the Twentieth Century, Tim Richardson, Aurum Press 11 February 2021 at 2:30 on Zoom Judy Rudoe Cartier, Jeweller of Genius The period 1900-1939 saw some of Cartier's most original and imaginative design - from their pioneering diamond and platinum jewellery of around 1900 to the fascination with exotic influences and the bold geometric designs of the inter war years with their unrivalled brilliance of conception and craftsmanship. This lecture, given by the organiser of the exhibition Cartier 1900-1939 shown at the British Museum in 1997-8 and author of the exhibition catalogue, reveals not only the genius behind Cartier's luxurious jewels, but also the firm’s celebrity clientèle, from the royal heads of Europe to Indian maharajahs, American heiresses and stars of film and stage. Photo: Click here for background on the Cartier history December 10th 2020 at 2:30 on Zoom Andrew Spira Icons and the Sacred Art of Russia Despite the fact that Russian icons are among the most beautiful works of art in the world, they are still little understood. This talk addresses the nature of icon painting, exploring how they emerged from the glory of the Byzantine world and became a distinctive expression of Orthodox spirituality of Russia. The complex symbolic and sacramental meanings of icons are unravelled and their place in modern Russia is explored. 13 FEBRUARY 2020 HARRY FLETCHER THE GLASGOW BOYS, THE GLASGOW GIRLS, THE SCOTTISH COLOURISTS, AND THE FRENCH CONNECTION. In the 1880s and 1890s Europe and America saw the rise of artistic colonies, such as the Newlyn School, practising a form of painting known as “naturalism”. Another such colony, the Glasgow boys, seized the mantle of Bastien-Lepage and their paintings became the toast of Europe. The Glasgow Girls were their contemporaries. Painters such as Bessie MacNicol and designers, such as Margaret and Frances Macdonald, influenced the development of the Glasgow Style and achieved international recognition, contributing to the development of the modern movement. The Scottish Colourists had direct contact with French Post-Impressionism, particularly Matisse and the Fauves. As a result their paintings are considered some of the most progressive in British art of the early 20th century. During my talk, I will discuss the lives, the times and the work of these artists. . 12 DECEMBER 2019 CHRIS BRADLEY SANTA CLAUS: THE ART THAT TURNS HIM FROM ST NICHOLAS INTO FATHER CHRISTMAS Nicholas was the Greek Bishop of Myra, a 4th century port in Anatolia. Following his death, his legendary generosity established him as the principle gift-giving saint. Also the patron saint of seafarers, his body was stolen by Italian sailors to protect their own ports. Over the centuries the image of St Nicholas changed constantly until the Dutch re-invented him as Sinterklaas. Taking him to their new colonies in America, he transformed into kindly Santa Claus. Later re-imported into Britain without his Catholic baggage, he gradually emerged as Father Christmas - the jovial giver of presents. 14 NOVEMBER JONATHAN MEYER POWER POLITICS & A COUNTRY CHURCH - THE STORY OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER’S GRANDDAUGHTER, ALICE DE LA POLE, AND HER HUSBAND WILLIAM, DUKE OF SUFFOLK. An account of how the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk created a chantry trust with the blessing of the King Henry VI. It will look at the way in which they reordered an Oxfordshire church and modelled it on the Suffolk church of Wingfield, built a school and almshouses and an extraordinary palace, favoured by Henry VII and Henry VIII. The lecture will look at them in a historical context and in particular how they sought favour, power and influence. It will discuss the wonderful late medieval alabaster tomb of Alice with its rare cadaver figure, thought by many to be the best example of its kind in Europe. Click here for background on Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk Glyndebourne ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ Opera & the Heritage of Sussex 3 days from £449 Departing 18th October 2019 Your tour includes reserved seats for the Glyndebourne performance of ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’. More details of the performance can be found at Tour includes: • Glyndebourne opera tickets • Centrally located Eastbourne hotel • Two dinners included • All excursions & guided tours included • Entrance fee to Charleston House included • Blue Badge guide on Day 2 • Executive coach throughout • Glyndebourne’s ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ • Chartwell • Charleston House – guided tour • Berwick Church • Polesden Lacey We stay two nights at the 3* Best Western York House Hotel ( Located on Eastbourne’s seafront and close to Eastbourne Pier, the hotel has a bar, restaurant and indoor swimming pool. All rooms are en suite and feature a television, iron and ironing board and tea and coffee making facilities. Dinner is included at our hotel on the first evening, and we enjoy a carvery dinner at Glyndebourne before the opera on Day 2. STUDY DAY 21 OCTOBER 2019 DAN EVANS: THE LAYERS OF ROME – CLASSICAL , RENAISSANCE, BAROQUE Lecture 1. Classical Rome and its Legacy. The Pantheon, Colosseum and Basilica of Maxentius. We shall look at these three inspirational buildings each with a different form and function – these were the edifices that could be seen in ruin ever since the Sack of Rome in the 5th Century AD, and provide the basis for understanding Renaissance painting and sculpture. Lecture 2. The Rise of the Renaissance. Frescoes by Fillipino Lippi in the Carafa Chapel, Michelangelo's St Peter's Pieta and Raphael's Stanze della Segnatura (inc. School of Athens) allow us to trace the development of theology, philosophy and aesthetics with the emergence of the High Renaissance. We shall look at bright, intelligent frescoes and a sculpture of breath-taking brilliance. Lecture 3. Drama of the Baroque. Caravaggio's painting in the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi, Bernini’s San Andrea al Quirinale and Bernini's Ecstasy of San Theresa, are three of the most celebrated Baroque embellishments in Rome. A gritty series of paintings by a notorious sinner, a scandalous religious sculpture group and interactive architecture by the Baroque’s mastermind will allow us to understand the context and purpose of the art and architecture of seventeenth century Rome. 10 OCTOBER LINDA SMITH KICKING & SCREAMING, A BRIEF HISTORY OF POSTWAR BRITISH ART This lecture explains what has been going on in British art since 1945, when Francis Bacon caused ‘total consternation’ with his raw and visceral canvasses. His work was part of a wider phenomenon called the ‘Geometry of Fear’ by a leading critic of the day. From that point, the talk tracks key moments in British art decade by decade, through the curious mixture of modernism and pastoralism which is associated with the Festival of Britain; on to the explosion of Pop Art and Conceptualism in the 1960s and 70s, through to the 1980s and 90s, which gave us the notorious Sensation exhibition and the Turner Prize, and on to the present day. However, despite all these highly public shocks and upsets, figurative painters like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud were quietly getting on with it in the background, and one of the great stories of post-war British art is the continuing strength and vigour of that tradition. 12 SEPTEMBER ELIZABETH MERRY TRAVELS IN RAJASTHAN WITH RUDYARD KIPLING: PALACES AND TEMPLES, MONUMENTS AND FORTS IN THE LAND OF KINGS. As a young reporter working for the Lahore Gazette Kipling took a journey through Rajasthan during 1888 during which he produced some magical and evocative descriptions of the buildings he saw there. Nowadays he is overwhelmingly associated with the world of the Empire and the British Raj in India. But as the son of the Principal of the Bombay Art School and a talented artist himself, Kipling’s ‘seeing eye’ and his love of India provide a wonderful way in to the world of the Moguls and Maharajahs. In his company we explore some of Rajasthan’s magnificent architectural splendours and gain some insights into the rich cultural history of the ‘Land of Kings’. 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
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