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Programme of Lectures 2018-2019

    NEXT LECTURE

  • 16th January 2019
    Lecturer:Gavin Plumley
    CULTURAL EXPERIMENTS IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC
    After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

    PROGRAMME for 2018-19

  • 19th September 2018
    TREASURES OF FAR CATHAY
    Lecturer: Peter Le Rossignol
    The exoticism of the East held the West enthralled for over two centuries. This talk features porcelain, jade, jewels, architecture, gardens and a few surprises. The Meridian line of the Forbidden City, its pure white marble path, double hip roofs and the importance of the number 9 are all discussed, together with Court ritual. The beautiful objects that surrounded the Emperors, and some gifts offered by “the Barbarian” westerner in exchange for trade agreements, will excite the eye and hopefully stimulate a passion for these wonderful wares.

  • 17th October 2018
    Lecturer: Anthea Streeter
    DAME ZAHA HADID
    Before her untimely death in 2016, Dame Zaha Hadid was one of the world’s most distinguished architects. Amongst many awards and honours, she received the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011; and the Royal Gold Medal in 2015. She developed a new flowing form of architecture. Rejecting 90 degree angles, her designs integrate floors, ceilings, walls - even furniture - in a “seamless fluidity”. We look at her completed and unexecuted works, including her most famous building in the UK, the Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics in 2012.


  • 21st November 2018
    Lecturer: Claire Walsh
    JANE AUSTEN'S CHRISTMAS
    Before the Victorians reinvented it, the traditional Christmas was a very different affair. Devoid of Father Christmas, Christmas trees and commercialisation, the emphasis was on gentility, tradition and sociability. Jane Austen set many scenes from her novels during the Christmas period exactly because this was a time for social gatherings. We’ll look at the balls, parties, dinners, games, traditions and celebrations that filled the festive season. Novels, letters, paintings and engravings are used to bring the Georgian Christmas to life.


  • 16th January 2019
    Lecturer:Gavin Plumley
    CULTURAL EXPERIMENTS IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC
    After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.


  • 20th February 2019
    Lecturer: Chris Alexander
    THE SILK ROAD: A TEXTILE JOURNEY
    Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures of Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes: early globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet colonisation, and still causes controversy. The textiles of the Silk Road became symbols of wealth, religion and politics, changing the fortunes of this extraordinary world where Mohammed and Marx collided.


  • 20th March 2019
    Lecturer: Magdalen Evans
    WOMEN ARTISTS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
    Some of the finest work of modern British art was produced during World War II. Many women were amongst the artists officially commissioned to record the Blitz and travel through Europe to record first-hand its devastation. One was the first civilian to arrive at Belsen after its liberation. Back home they painted land girls, women in factories, the ATS and the Red Cross. Some were shown at the National Gallery, others hidden away in the slate mines of Snowdonia. Our national collections would inherit work of great historical and propaganda interest, too little of it on display.


  • 17th April 2019
    Lecturer: Jo Banham
    A HISTORY OF WALLPAPERS
    Wallpaper, the Cinderella of the Decorative Arts, is the most ephemeral and least precious of the decorations produced for the home. Yet its huge range of beautiful patterns dates back to the 16th century. Designs have changed from early black and white patterns, to elegant flock hangings, to Chinese hand-painted papers, and the designs of Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. By the start of the 20th century, hand-printing was replaced by machine production; wallpaper was used virtually everywhere, not just in sitting rooms and bedrooms but in kitchens, bathrooms and offices, in ordinary homes as well the grandest.


  • 15th May 2019
    Lecturer: John Ericson
    THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS REVISITED THROUGH ITS ILLUSTRATORS
    Originally published in 1908 without illustrations, the vivid imagery of The Wind in the Willows has since attracted over 90 illustrators. Generally thought of as a children’s book, its humour and wisdom also give it adult appeal. The lecture compares the approach of different artists, who included E H Shepard and Arthur Rackham. It also looks at how the story came to be written for Grahame’s son Alastair and the interesting but ultimately tragic life of Kenneth Grahame.


  • 19th June 2019
    Lecturer: Paul Jagger
    TREASURES OF THE LIVERY COMPANY HALLS
    The City of London is home to no fewer than forty Livery Company Halls, almost as many as existed immediately prior to the Great Fire of London. Many of the Halls succumbed to the fire, others to the Blitz, and several to the property developer, but they all contain a wealth of treasures in art, sculpture, stained glass, silverware and furniture. Many are of national significance, including Royal portraits such as that of HM The Queen during her Golden Jubilee year, commissioned by the Drapers’ Company of which HM is a member.


  • 17th July 2019
    AGM at 7.45 followed by
    Lecturer: Tony Rawlins
    MAD MEN AND ARTISTS: HOW THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY EXPLOITED FINE ART
    Fine art has provided advertisers and their agencies with a great deal of material for their creative campaigns. This lecture describes some of the processes by which such advertisements have been created and why the works of Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo have been a rich source. From the Renaissance through to the present day fine art has provided opportunities to enhance Brand imagery with admiration, humour, satire and irony. We’ll see examples of the original works, the creative process and the (not always entirely successful) end results.


  • 18th September 2019
    Lecturer: Caroline Shenton
    PACKING UP THE NATION
    This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered in France to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections. In the sweltering summer of 1939 they packed up and despatched their greatest treasures in a race against time to country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, tube tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries.