LECTURES

9th September 2019 “In the Kingdom of the Sweets: all about The Nutcracker”. Delighting audiences at Christmas in the Royal Opera House for many decades, yet it was deemed a failure at its first performances. We take a close look at how this well-loved ballet now takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with story-telling, design and dance all come together to make the most magical escape for young and old alike. Includes several performance video clips. Nigel Bates
7th October 2019 “Undressing Antiques” Many of us would say “Antiques. I don’t understand them and they’re beyond my budget. They’re not for me.” Mark Hill, who has made many appearances on The Antiques Roadshow will provide us with a persuasive introduction to encourage us to reconsider this view; buy antiques and integrate and use them in our homes. He will explore the state of the antiques market and consider the different meanings of the word value. We will then take a look at what current and future generations of collectors are buying; why they are buying it and how they are displaying it.” Mark Hill
11th November 2019 “People, Places and Piazzas. The Life and Art of Charles Mackie.” –  A comprehensive survey of his life and the development of his art, from his early struggles as an artist up to his final recognition as RSA and RSW. The people he met — Gauguin, Vuillard, Hornel- and the places he painted — Kirkcudbright, Normandy, Venice — form the core of the talk. The illustrations used cover all aspects of his oeuvre – watercolour, oil, tooled leatherwork woodblock prints and sculpture. A journey with this ‘forgotten man’ of Scottish art will provide evidence of his skill as a colourist and reclaim his place in art’s pantheon.” Pat Clark
9th December 2019 Wallpapers -a decorative art-including William Morris. Wallpaper is often regarded as the Cinderella of the Decorative Arts – the most ephemeral and least precious of the decorations produced for the home. Yet, the history of wallpaper is a long and fascinating subject that dates back to the 16thcentury and encompasses a huge range of beautiful patterns created both by anonymous hands and by some of the best-known designers of the 19th and 20th centuries. This lecture explores the history and development of this product from earliest times up to the present day from the first black and white patterns, the creation of elegant flock hangings, the fashion for Chinese hand-painted papers, the introduction of machine-printing, the designs of Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the taste for Modernist and Contemporary designs in the 20th century.  Jo Banham
2019
13th January 2020 To be Confirmed
10th February 2020 “Courtesans in the Art of Venice” — This lecture is based on extraordinary research showing how thousands of women were forced to enter convents against their will in order to save their families the cost of their dowries. This was matched by huge growth in the number and wealth of Venetian Courtesans, who flourished in this distorted society and who were notorious throughout Europe. Illustrated with paintings by Pietro Longhi, Gabriel Bella, Francesco Guardi and others. Patsy Erskine Hill
9th March 2020 “Debo” — Mitford, Cavendish, Devonshire Duchess, Housewife Deborah Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters and wife of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, was hefted by marriage to one of Europe’s greatest treasure houses, Chatsworth. In the second half of the 20th century, in partnership with her husband, she imbued it with a spirit, elegance and sense of welcome that transformed it from being the worn-out survivor of decades of taxation, war and social change into one of the best-loved, most-emulated and popular historic houses, gardens and estates in the country. This lecture pays tribute to an astonishing life. Simon Seligman
13th April 2020 “The GPO Film Unit”. An entertaining lecture covering the birth of documentary films with many clips from Victorian and Edwardian films, through the 1920s experimental Soviet era to the 1930s GPO Film Unit. Under John Grierson, the Scottish father of documentaries, the unit produced 129 films in seven years, including the iconic Night Mail with poetry by W H Auden and music by Benjamin Britten. Why was the unit established and what was the influence on Britain’s view of itself?  This is the Night Mail crossing the border… Howard Smith
11th May 2020 “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 to use in their creative campaigns. This lecture describes some of the processes by which these advertisements have been created and why the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo have been a particularly rich source. From the Renaissance through to the present-day fine art continues to provide opportunities to enhance Brand imagery with admiration, humour, satire and irony- although on occasion not always entirely successfully. Tony Rawlins
8th June 2020 “Musical Adventures in Russia: In Search of the Snow Maiden Leokadiya Kashperova” For a historian, there can be little to match the excitement of discovering a forgotten treasure. Dr Griffiths’s eventful research across Russia to unveil the Romantic figure of Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940), composer and concert pianist (previously known only as ‘Stravinsky’s piano teacher’), offers the perfect example. Kashperova’s re-discovered music establishes her as the earliest-known female Russian composer of international stature. (Rimsky-Korsakov’s affectionate nickname for her was ‘Snow-maiden’.) Kashperova’s lyrical music and Griffiths’s research were selected by BBC Radio 3 and the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) for inclusion in their 2018 celebration of ‘Five Forgotten Female Composers’. This presentation offers narrative, images and musical performance at the piano illustrating ‘what it takes’ to recover the life and works of a composer whom History has completely forgotten. Until now? Graham Griffiths

Andrew Hopkins
10th September 2018 “The Anatomy of Antiques – the history, origins and psychology of collecting” Bring along an object (at your own risk). Marc Allum (Antiques Roadshow)
8th October 2018 “Leonardo Da Vinci-Pathfinder of Science” – the science behind the art. Da Vinci’s artistic creations reveal the most amazing and inseparable affinity of his scientific and artistic concepts Guy Rooker
12th November 2018 “Guggenheims: a dynasty of art collectors”. Solomon and Peggy Guggenheim’s collections in 5th Ave New York and The Grand Canal Venice and other gallery projects
10th December 2018 “How do they do that? Techniques of Glassmaking” ranging from ancient Egyptian sand core glass; ancient Roman mosaic bowls and cameo vases; to English 18th century air-twist and opaque-twist wineglasses to modern day. Charles Hajdamach
2019
7th January 2019 “Nature into Art – For Knowledge and Pleasure” the different approaches that artists have used when painting birds and flowers; including herbals, ‘florilegia’, Dutch flower painting and the role of artists in Voyages of Discovery. Roy Burdon
11th February 2019 “The richest of Legacies: British Colonial Buildings of India” Bombay’s economic boom of the 1860s coincided with the high point of the Gothic Revival. Nowhere else in the world can claim to have as magnificent an assemblage of Gothic Revival buildings. Patsy Erskine Hill
11th March 2019 “Scottish Silver”- the history of silver making in Scotland: its unique objects and styles Ian Pickford
15th April 2019 “Bhutan: Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon” – the history, art and culture of this extraordinary tiny Himalayan kingdom known by its people as the land of the Thunder Dragon Zara Fleming
13th May 2019 “A Passion for Tea, Ceremonies, History & Style, British Fashion”- the history of how tea was introduced to Britain from China and Japan-with tastings Amanda Herries
10th June 2019 “Dame Lucie Rie and her influence on 20th Century Studio Ceramics” a pioneering Modernist ceramics artist famous for her sophisticated shapes, exploration of glazes, and her use of bright colours. Diana Lloyd