Harpenden Evening Web Page

Programme of Lectures 2020-2021

PROGRAMME for 2020-21

21st October 2020
Lecturer: Anne Anderson 
Rene Lalique:  Master of Art Nouveau, Jewellery ans Art Deco Glass
Lalique is best known for his Art Deco glass of the inter-war years, but his career began in the early 1890s as the designer of the finest Art Nouveau jewellery.  Patronised by Sarah Bernhardt, Lalique created  stunning pieces of jewellery from gold, horn, glass and enamel.  As his fame spread his style was copied and debased until he felt that he had exhausted the potential of jewellery.  At that moment, around 1907, the perfumer Coty asked him to design some labels for his scent bottles. Lalique went one better and designed a new stopper: he had created the first customised perfume bottle. Soon he was designing for Worth and other famous perfumers.   After the war he extended production into decorative vases, tableware, lamps and even architectural glass.  He died in 1945 but his company continues to thrive, and his glass is regarded as some of the finest ever created.

 Picture 2  Picture 3  Picture 4 

Picture 1

18th November 2020
Lecturer: Bertie Pearce  
Now you see it, now you don’t: The Art of Visual Deception
This is one of the quirkiest lectures you will ever hear. There is a universal delight in being deceived and in this lecture Bertie takes you on a whistle stop tour of art which fools, surprises and amuses the viewer. Beginning and ending with the Belgian surrealist, René Magritte, it encompasses Trompe l’Oeil, Banksy, Bridget Riley, Arcimboldo and Escher to name a few. Hold on to your seats and get ready to be visually fried.

    Illusion 1  Illusion 2
 Illusion 3

15th December 2020
Lecturer: Dr Claire Walsh
From Forest Fir to Festive Feature “The Christmas Tree”

The Christmas Tree presents us with over five centuries of art and meaning. Vital to the imagery of both the pagan world and Christianity, its significance emerges in Norse yuletide, ancient Rome and with the early-medieval saints, before its diverse strands were drawn together to symbolize the modern Christmas. It is wrapped in legend, from the Icelandic sagas to St Boniface, from the Mystery Plays to Martin Luther. In art, the forest fir has made the transition from Viking rock carvings to German Romanticism and Scandinavian naturalism, on its way to finding its place as an icon of our modern festival. Decorated and shimmering with light, it has brought Christmas from outside the home into the heart of the family, it has drawn soldiers together across No-Man’s Land, and it continues to symbolize its essential, timeless message of Peace on Earth.

Picture 1  Picture 2  Picture 4  Picture 3

20th January 2021
Lecturer: David Wright
Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years, and the story tells of its origin and appearance in all societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role wine has played in these societies and how it became an important component of faith, well-being and festivity. From the kwevris of Georgia in 5,000 B.C., the symposia in ancient Greece, the thermopolia of Pompeii, the hospices of Europe, to the dining tables of fine society, wine has been ever present. Drawings, paintings, engravings, buildings, pottery and wine labels themselves all contribute to the story.  

Making wine

17th February 2021
Lecturer: Helen Doe
Described as 'the most maritime of counties' Cornwall's centuries of fish connections are more than just tin and fish. An exploration through objects.

Art picture 1  Art object 2

Art object 3  Art picture 4

17th March 2021
Lecturer: Stephen Richardson
Burlington House on London’s Piccadilly has been the home of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1868. Although the Academy was already 100 years old when it took up residence, it is not commonly known that the building has a long and fascinating history of its own. This talk focuses on the origins of Burlington House, from construction in the 1660’s for a courtier to King Charles II; re-fashioning as a Palladian mansion for Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington; its association with architects and artists such as William Kent and Sebastiano Ricci; further re-development by the Cavendish family during the Regency period, and its ultimate role as the home of the United Kingdom's leading 'society for promoting the Arts of Design'.
The talk also examines the reasons behind the founding of the Royal Academy, its own early history and its Olympian era during the time of eminent Victorian artists. 

House picture 1  House picture 2

21st April 2021
Lecturer: Helen Ritchie
British Studio Pottery: a Concise History
An overview of the British Studio Pottery movement, exploring handmade pottery in Britain from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the present day, including the work of the Martin Brothers, Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, Alison Britton and Grayson Perry.

19th May 2021
Lecturer: Patricia Law
Diamonds. The sequel!

Diamonds were formed below the crust of the earth millions of years ago erupting into our mountains, glaziers, rivers and seas. Until the early 18th century the only known source was in India with subsequent finds throughout the world. We will look at both the history and qualities of diamonds - what makes them unique, why and how we prize them. This lecture then goes into the next chapter in the story of diamonds, because on the market now there are man-made/Synthetic diamonds. So how do you make a diamond and how can you tell the difference? It also addresses the big story of how the synthetic diamond might affect our love and appreciation of diamonds and the value we give to them.

16th June 20201
Lecturer: Adam Busiakiewicz
The Queen of Instruments: The Lute within Old Master Paintings
The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden-haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages.

Adam will perform on the lute during the lecture. 

21st July 2021
Lecturer: Tim Stimson

Mr Punch's reign as premier puncturer of pomposity spanned five monarchs. His blend of cartoons, jokes and satire holding up a mirror to society, with a wry grin, pointing out questionable politicians, unimaginative bureaucrats, rude shop assistants, striking workers, rich foreigners, rising prices and ... the British railways ... recognises that to laugh rather than cry is a good tonic.

Punch Magazine described itself as:  "a guffawgraph" "a refuge for destitute wit" "an asylum for the thousands of drawings, orphan jokes and perishing puns which otherwise wander about without so much as a shelf to rest on" ​

Many of us have fond memories of Punch, and this lecture commemorates the husband of a Sandwich Arts Society member, who donated 36 bound volumes towards its creation.

A Punch cover

18th August 2021
Lecturer: Jackie Marsh-Hobbs

A Passion for Piers: a delightful look at the history of Pleasure 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. This talk is a celebration of the heyday of piers; of how generations have enjoyed the fresh air and sea views; and how people at leisure have been captivated by the amusements and entertained by a variety of artists. You will hear incredible stories of our surviving piers, whether they are successfully flourishing or sadly in trouble, and of their future and the ongoing struggle to keep them.

A pier picture 

15th September 2021
Janet Gough

Cathedrals, safe places to do risky things
This 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. The talk is 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.   

21st October 2021
Lecturer: Barry Venning

…With a little help from their friends: The Beatles and their Artists
This is a journey through the 60s in music and images, following the Beatles from the Hamburg Reeperbahn in 1960 to Abbey Road in 1969. The band was always fascinated by the visual arts - the ‘fifth Beatle’, Stuart Sutcliffe, was a prodigiously talented painter - and they also learned very early on that artists and designers could help promote their image and their music. Their rise to global fame was aided and recorded by an impressive roster of photographers, including Astrid Kirchherr, Bob Freeman, Robert Whitaker, Angus McBean and Linda McCartney. The innovative covers for releases such as Rubber Soul (Bob Freeman) Revolver (Klaus Voormann), the White Album (Richard Hamilton) and Sgt. Pepper (Peter Blake & Jann Haworth) turned album design into an art form in its own right.