2013-14 Season

2.15pm Borwick Memorial Hall. Tea/coffee and cakes beforehand. 

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Lee Miller and Picasso

Antony Penrose

The relationship between Lee Miller and Picasso began during the enchanted summer holiday they shared in the Côte d’Azur in 1937 and lasted until Picasso’s death in 1973. Picasso painted 6 portraits of Lee Miller and she photographed him more than 1,000 times. She was a frequent visitor to his home in post war years accompanying her husband Roland Penrose on his many research trips whilst he was writing his biography of the artist Picasso, His Life and Work. The story is told by their son mainly using Lee Miller’s own photographs and contains some war time images which may be disturbing.

Picasso and young Antony Penrose
Picasso with the young
Antony Penrose

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Digital Baroque in Modern Architecture from Frank O Gehry to Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava

Time Bruce-Dick MA

Ever since the arrival of the Modern Movement in architecture in the early 20th century, it has been possible to discern trends in design and style. 

We have moved through Expressionism to an architecture of sensuous curves and gestures and in the fifties and sixties to the concrete experiments of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York, le Corbusier’s chapel at Ronchamp and Eero Saransen’s TWA building .

But it was not until the computer liberated architects from straight lines in the late eighties that we saw the emergence of digital baroque architecture. It took the form of the curvageous shapes of Frank Gehry’s Gugenheim Museum, Santiago Calatrava’s audacious buildings in Valencia and Zaha Hadid's Olympic Aquatic Centre.  At last Modern Architecture has spread its wings.


Santiago Calatrava – Ponte della Constituzione in Venice

  Calatrava Ponte della Constituzione in Venice

Tuesday 16 April 2013

The Wilton Diptych Enigma

Leslie Primo BA MA

Who are the characters in this painting?  What are they trying to tell us? What can this painting reveal about England and Europe at the turn of the 15th century?  For what purpose was this enigmatic painting made, and why it has come to represent the quintessential example of a style of painting we have come to call International Gothic?

Through the lens of the Wilton Diptych this lecture will look at Medieval England, patronage, saints and kingship, and also unearth the many hidden signs and symbols that have been slowly revealing themselves to us over recent years.  Through detailed close-ups we will look at the physical material of the painting to bring to life not only the Wilton Diptych, but also the time in which it was made.

Wilton Diptych
Wilton Diptych

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Prague: City of a Thousand Spires

Edward Saunders BA MA (Oxon)

Prague is unquestionably one of the finest cities in Europe – an architectural gem, the heart of which has survived virtually untouched for over 300 years.  To walk down from the Castle, to cross the Charles Bridge, built in the 14th century; to then enter the Old Town Square is to embark on an expedition back in time, experiencing the layers of styles and ornament (of which the Baroque and the Art Nouveau are especially notable) that have left their imprint upon Prague through the centuries and which make it such a rewarding and worthwhile city to visit today.


Golden Lane, Prague
Golden Lane, Prague (Edward Saunders) 

Tuesday 18 June 2013 (preceded at 1.45pm by AGM)

Caravaggio: Master of Light and Shadow

Shirley Smith BA FRSA

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 contrasts 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 his influence on later artists.

Caravaggio Conversion of St Paul
Conversion of St Paul

Tuesday 17 September 2013

A Truly Imperial City: Leptis Magna in Libya

Dr Robert Morkot

Libya: two countries in one.

Although Libya has been prominently in the news because of politics and war, its ancient past still receives little attention.  Yet the country has the remains of several major Greek and Roman cities, and was the ancestral home of one Rome's most significant later emperors: Septimius Severus. With its complex layers of local, Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures, and its agricultural wealth, Libya played a prominent role in the Mediterranean. The ruins of Cyrene, Ptolemais, Lepcis Magna and Sabratha stand as testimony to this rich history.

Dr Morkot is Chairman of the Society for Libyan Studies & a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology University of Exeter

Leptis Magna Theatre wiki
Leptis Magna Theatre

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Imperial Purple to Denim Blue

Dr Susan Kay-Williams BA MA FRAS

Today textiles for clothing or decoration are taken for granted, but it was not always so. This lecture unpacks the history of how cloth and yarn were coloured and how the different colours represented power, achievement and desire. Using a variety of illustrations it sheds a forgotten light on how important textiles have been in European history, but more than this, the history of textiles is not just a matter of fashion but is also a story of politics, money, war, trade, laws, the church, agriculture, exploration, science and even serendipity.


German Dye Book 1820s
German Dye Book, 1820s

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Hic abundant leones: Medieval and Early Modern Maps 

Dr Bill Shannon

Bill Shannon’s title is taken from an Anglo-Saxon world map of ca.1050 which will be the starting point for an exposition of how maps were created and designed.  He will look at the use of colour, heraldry, strap work and other decorative devices from compass roses to sea monsters and historical portraits.  But maps have always had significance beyond their practical purpose:  they were proudly displayed to portray an image of culture and knowledge of the wider world as in the case of Henry VIII; and later on, why did a wall-mounted county map become the latest fashionable accessory of the country squire?


Mappa Mundi
   Mappa Mundi

Tuesday 17 December 2013 (Christmas social from 1.45pm)

Ths History of Windsor Castle and its Royal Occupants, 1080-2002

Oliver Everett

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest continuously occupied castle in the world. It has been enlarged and modified throughout its 900 year history to reflect the needs, ambitions and styles of various monarchs. As such the castle has evolved from an impregnable fortress into a royal country residence which as well as being the Queen's favourite home, is regularly used by her for spectacular state occasions. The lecture shows how today's castle has grown from its 11th century origins and how this evolution relates to the personalities and tastes of its Royal occupants and to the history of Britain. Four monarchs in particular are shown to have made Windsor Castle what it is today – Edward III, Charles II, George IV and the present Queen.



Windsor Palace
Copyright RoyalWindsor.com

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Towards a Grander Vision: Claude Monet and his Landscape Paintings

Michael Howard, BA MA (Courtauld), FRSA

Monet:  one of the world’s most popular painters; a man who loved nature in all its aspects, whether it be the wildness of the sea, the ruggedness of a cliff face or the meditative calm of his water-lily pond.  And yet there is so much more.  He was a man tormented by the never-ending challenge of reproducing in paint the colour, movement and atmosphere of an ever-changing world.

This lecture will explore how Monet faced up to that challenge from his early years to his old age.  His paintings are documents of enduring beauty, fascination and significance.

Japanese Footbridge, NGA Washington
Japanese Footbridge,
National Gallery of Art, Washington