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Programme of Lectures 2019-2020

NEXT LECTURE

15th July 2020 on line at 7:30pm
Lecturer: Dr Claire Walsh
Powder and Poison: Cosmetics, Beauty and the Art of Portraiture
Why do people look the way they do in portraits of the past? From the alarmingly lead-whitened cheeks of the Renaissance, to the disappearing hairlines and mouse-hair eyebrows of the 17th and 18th centuries and rouged-cheeks of the Victorians, portraits have been governed by cosmetics, fashions and ever-changing concepts of beauty. Not only women, but men too were at the mercy of changing trends in hair styles, wigs, jewellery, smallpox patches and artificial teeth. From the application of rhubarb or boiled pigeon, mercury or lead, powders and poisons have dominated the ‘look of an age’.   While the portraitist strove to capture the individual, this had to be translated through the mask of stylish convention, balancing reality with the ‘ideal of beauty.

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Our first on line lecture detailed here will be held via Zoom on the internet, details of how to gain access can be accessed by clicking here.

PROGRAMME for 2019-20

18 September 2019
Lecturer: Caroline Shenton
MR BARRY’S WAR: REBUILDING THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
The Houses of Parliament is one of the most celebrated buildings in the world. The site had been the centre of power and government in England from the earliest times. It was a masterpiece of Victorian architecture and a spectacular feat of civil engineering; but a battleground for its architect, Charles Barry. He had to fend off the interference of MPs, royalty and a host of crackpot inventors and busybodies, while sustaining the allegiance of his partner Pugin. The project came in three times over budget and twenty-four years behind schedule.

16 October 2019
Lecturer: Dr Paul Roberts
LAST SUPPER IN POMPEI
The Romans had a love affair with food and drink. We’ll go with them on a journey from fields and vineyards to markets and shops, from tables to toilets and the tomb. We glimpse fertile Vesuvius, the source of their feasts. Then in a house in the bustling city we enjoy exotic food and fine wine, surrounded by the Greek-style luxuries of silverware, mosaics and frescoes. Should we enter the kitchen, the toilet ... ? Let’s escape to Roman Britain to meet the first brewer, cooper, and even pub landlord – and to see monuments of the dead feasting on into the afterlife.

20 November 2019
Lecturer: Ian Gledhill
THE MAGIC OF PANTOMIME

We look at the history of this enduring and peculiarly British institution, from its origins in 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte through the influence of 19th century music hall, to the family shows that are still loved today. On the way we examine the origins of some of the stories used in pantomime as well as such traditions as the (female) principal boy and the (male) pantomime dame. The talk is interspersed with personal anecdotes from the speaker’s years of working (and appearing) professionally in pantomime.

15 January 2020
Lecturer: Timothy Walker
HISTORY OF GARDEN DESIGN THROUGH THE LENS OF THE OXFORD BOTANIC GARDENS
The history of English garden design can be told in different ways, but rarely "through the lens" of one garden.  The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded at the start of the 17th century and bears all the hallmarks of the period. Through the next 400 years successive Horti Praefecti (head gardeners) altered its features to reflect new styles or the changing science of botany. We look at how the art of gardening has changed, or perhaps has not, in four centuries, and how the Oxford Botanic Garden now reflects garden design at the beginning of the 21st century. 

19 February 2020
Lecturer: Dr Angela Smith
ELEANOR COADE AND HER STONE
Coade is an artificial stone that was invented in the 18th century. It was widely used for freestanding statuary and monuments, architectural detailing and even garden furniture. Hundreds of examples can be seen across Britain. The stone was named after Eleanor Coade, who ran a successful manufactory in south London for many years. This lecture tells the story of Mrs Coade and the stone that made her one of the most successful businesswomen in the late 1700s.

18 March 2020
Lecturer: Janet Gough
CATHEDRALS: SAFE PLACES TO DO RISKY THINGS?
Due to COVID-19 it will be held at a later date

15 April 2020
Lecturer: Lucy Hughes-Hallett
CLEOPATRA: THE MOST WOMANLY OF WOMEN AND THE MOST QUEENLY OF QUEENS
Due to COVID-19 it will be held at a later date

20 May 2020
Lecturer: Barry Venning
“WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THEIR FRIENDS”: THE BEATLES AND THEIR ARTISTS
Due to COVID-19 it will be held at a later date

17 June 2020
Lecturer: Alexandra Epps
PEGGY GUGGENHIEM
Due to COVID-19 it will be held at a later date

15th July 2020 on line at 7:30pm
Lecturer: Dr Claire Walsh
Powder and Poison: Cosmetics, Beauty and the Art of Portraiture
Why do people look the way they do in portraits of the past? From the alarmingly lead-whitened cheeks of the Renaissance, to the disappearing hairlines and mouse-hair eyebrows of the 17th and 18th centuries and rouged-cheeks of the Victorians, portraits have been governed by cosmetics, fashions and ever-changing concepts of beauty. Not only women, but men too were at the mercy of changing trends in hair styles, wigs, jewellery, smallpox patches and artificial teeth. From the application of rhubarb or boiled pigeon, mercury or lead, powders and poisons have dominated the ‘look of an age’.   While the portraitist strove to capture the individual, this had to be translated through the mask of stylish convention, balancing reality with the ‘ideal of beauty.

16 September 2020
Lecturer: John Vigar
A CHIP OFF QUEEN VICTORIA’S BLOCK? PRINCE VICTOR GLEICHEN AND HIS ARTIST CHILDREN
Due to COVID-19 it will be held at a later date