Lectures will be live via Zoom until further notice

8th September 2020

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera:The Golden Age of Mexican Painting   – Chloe Sayer

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. Rivera’s intricate visual narratives, rich with allegory and symbolism, adorn the walls of public buildings. Inspired by Aztec and Maya imagery, and by early Italian fresco painting, his vast murals combine social criticism with faith in human progress. Kahlo’s work, unlike Rivera’s, is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences and dreams. This lecture surveys the work of both artists; it chronicles their turbulent marriage and Mexico’s history after the 1910 Revolution.

13th October 2020

William Morris: Wallpapers     – Joanna Banham

William Morris was a one-man pattern-making phenomenon whose work had a powerful and lasting impact on many areas of interior design. He is probably best-known today as a designer of wallpapers and this lecture examines the development and production of his work in this genre from his early medievalising patterns to his more elegant mature style. It explores the sources and inspiration for his wallpapers, changes in style, and how and where they were used, all within the context of 19thcentury design.

10th November 2020

Rupert – the Anthropomorphic Bear     – Howard Smith

Launched nearly 100 years ago, Rupert has had three official artists and this is the story of each of them and their creativity that has made Rupert the longest standing strip thrilling generations with his adventures

12th January 2021  

Cleopatra: Images of a Dream Woman.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Cleopatra, the woman for whose love’s sake Antony is imagined to have given up the chance to rule the Roman world, has been inspiring painters, poets and (more recently) film-makers for over two millennia. Their gorgeously voluptuous depictions of her offer insights into changing concepts of beauty, and into the racial and sexual assumptions underlying them.

Showing images ranging from Roman portrait busts, through medieval illuminations, the glorious works of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo, the splendour of Tiepolo and the exoticism of Gustave Moreau to 20th century film stars (Theda Bara, Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor and the Carry On team’s Amanda Barry), Lucy will show how Cleopatra became a screen onto which artists have projected their wildly differing fantasies about exotic danger and erotic bliss.

Cleopatra ruler Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt clipart

9th February 2021             

Secret Art of the Passport – How we use it to fox the Forger

Martin Lloyd

From the wax seal to the microchip, man has exploited the skill of the artist and artisan in his attempt to manufacture a forgery-proof document. Taking you through three centuries of passport design, this lecture explains the overt and uncovers the covert to illustrate the defences built in to the passport and the tricks the forger uses to defeat them. You will never see your passport in the same light again!

9th March 2021             

Life and Art of Marianne North: Victorian Botanical Artist and Traveller

Twigs Way

Accomplished botanical painter and inveterate traveller, Marianne North (1830-1890) led an unconventional life capturing the life essence of exotic and rare plants in their native lands. Born in Hastings, her pursuit of plants took her round the world. This talk explores both the life and social context of Marianne North, including discussion of why her paintings troubled deeply conservative Victorian society and the eventual creation of her gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

painting by Marianne North

13 April 2021           

Antony Gormley and the New Face of Tradition

Frank Woodgate

Antony Gormley makes fascinating and challenging sculptures based on his own and other people’s bodies. Many of his works are life-size and made of lead or other metal, and can often be found in unusual locations such as the Australian desert, in the sea off the Liverpool coast or on the rooftops of London. Works other than these very personal portraits range from the enormous Angel of the North, which is 65 feet (20 metres) high and can be seen at a great distance from the A1 at Gateshead, to his various fields of tens of thousands of small clay figures made under his guidance by ordinary members of the public. At both ends of the scale, his work is astonishing and thought-provoking, and sheds a new light on the tradition of sculpture involving the human body.

11th May 2021          

Cathedrals: Safe Places to do Risky Things

Janet GoughThis talk provides an overview of the Church of England’s magnificent 42 cathedrals, jewels in the crown of England’s built heritage, some recognised as World Heritage Sites. Beautifully illustrated by Country Life photographer, Paul Barker, in addition to looking at their history and stories, evolving architecture and treasures, the talk considers the role of cathedrals over the centuries and specifically their role today.

8th June 2021            

The Beauty and History of Frames

Julia Korner

The lectures includes a brief history of frames and focuses on their design and construction. Julia also discusses the conservation of frames, and how to choose the right one to transform a painting and display it to its best advantage.

– The History of Frames – including how frames have developed in Europe, incluenced often by prevailing architectural styles.

– The Design & Making of Frames – an insight into their design & selection; gilding techniques over time, together with the materials used in the workshop.

13th July 2021

The Bauhaus

Colin Davis

14th September 2021          

Canal History and Heritage

Roger Butler

This lecture provides a colourful introduction to the secret world of our 2000-mile inland waterway network and looks at all aspects of their exceptional artistic, architectural and engineering vernacular. Features range from sweeping aqueducts to tiny bollards; from colourful historic narrowboats to ‘Roses and Castles’ artwork; from grand World Heritage Sites to quirky listed buildings. A well-known architectural historian once described our canals as a ‘poor man’s art gallery’.

12th October 2021

Caravaggio: A master of light and shadow

Shirley Smith

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a man out of step with his time. Scorning the traditional idealised interpretation of religious subjects, he took his models from the streets, painting them realistically and heightening the emotional intensity by his dramatic contracts of light and shade. Such a revolutionary style was condemned by many as was his equally dramatic personal life and uncontrollable temper which involved him in endless brawls and even murder. This lecture will study the life and works of this enigmatic man and of his influence on later artists.

9th November 2021           

The Art of the dance

Jennifer Toynbee-Homes

Since the birth of the earliest human civilisations, dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations, a method of healing and a means of expression and entertainment.

Using stills and video clips we take a look at dance as an art form from its earliest beginnings; through the birth and rapid development of ballet throughout Europe, the explosion of modern dance in the early 20th century a time of unprecedented creative growth for dancers and choreographers and with the growth of post-modernism from the 1960s  the expansion of street dance, hip-hop, break dancing and rock dance.