2017 - 18 Season

2.15pm Borwick & Priest Hutton Memorial Hall. 

Tea/coffee available before and after lectures.

Guests by prior appointment with the Membership Secretary - £5 guest charge per meeting. 


Tuesday 21 February 2017

Capability Brown and the Eighteenth Century English Landscape – The Birth and Death of the English Landscape

James Bolton BA MBA Dip ISD

When Capability Brown refused a fee of £1,000 to work in Ireland because ‘he had not yet finished England’, it marked the high tide of the English Landscape Movement. His birth in 1716 signalled the end of the Baroque age and his death in 1783 heralded all the excesses of Romanticism. The intervening years witnessed the greatest contribution Britain has made to Art.

The death of formality and the decline of baroque architecture went hand in hand with a change in the political climate following the deaths of Queen Anne in 1714 and Louis XIV in 1715. This is the age of the Grand Tour and the Whig party, of Lord Burlington, William Kent and Neo-Palladianism.  It was the Augustan Age, with Britain, almost unconsciously, trembling on the edge of Empire.

Brown’s important years as head gardener at Stowe, where he learnt from both Cobham and Kent, formed the basis of his subsequent independent practice based in Hammersmith. From here Brown surveyed and transformed England, from Milton Abbey to Alnwick Castle.

The change in taste and mood, driven by the increasing fondness for Gothic architecture and Romantic wildness and disorder in landscaping, caused Brown’s work to fall from favour as dull and formulaic. Landscapers like Repton ushered in a revival of formalism and so the wheel turned full circle.

James Bolton set up a garden design business in 1992, following two years as head gardener at the Old Rectory, Farnborough. He had previously trained with the Direction des Parcs et Jardins in Paris. He has set up and administered courses for the Inchbald School of Design, the NACF and NADFAS. He has written a number of articles on gardens and a book on garden ornaments, Garden Mania, published by Thames and Hudson. He lectures extensively on garden history and runs Border Lines, the oldest and most respected tour company to private English gardens and to the finest gardens in Europe and South Africa.

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Elephants and Archbishops: Matthew Parker and his Medieval Manuscripts

Christopher de Hamel BA DPhil FSA

Matthew Parker (1504-1775), Archbishop of Canterbury, was the first very great collector of medieval manuscripts at the Reformation, gathering in many (if not most) of the oldest books in Britain. He bequeathed his wonderful library to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where Christopher de Hamel is a fellow and librarian. Parker collected the books in his library for a very specific reason - to prove that English was the language of the early church in this country and to justify the recent formation of the Anglican Church.

The lecture will be about some of the most beautiful books from the Middle Ages, including Saint Augustine's Gospels from the sixth century (which played an important part in the enthronement of Archbishop Justin Welby on March 20, 2013 when Christopher de Hamel carried the priceless book in procession under the watchful eye of the Master of Corpus), the twelfth-century Bury Bible illuminated by Master Hugo and the extraordinary illustrated chronicles of Matthew Paris, with their famous drawings of elephants.

Christopher de Hamel is Donnelley Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was responsible for all catalogues and sales of illuminated manuscripts at Sotheby's for twenty-five years until 2000. He has doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge and two honorary doctorates, and has written well over a hundred books and major articles on medieval manuscripts, translated into numerous languages. He is probably the best-known expert on medieval manuscripts in the world, and has given public lectures extremely extensively in six continents.


Tuesday 18 April 2017

Skin Deep – The Beastly Art of Beauty: reality and Ridicule

Amanda Herries MA

Beautiful in the society portraits, haggard in the merciless lampoon.  The artifice pursued by 18th and 19th century ‘fashion victims’, both men and women, was, quite literally, hair-raising and often fatal.  Do you ever look at a Reynolds or Gainsborough portrait and wonder if the sitter really looked like that?   How do these grand society portraits tally with the humorous, ridiculous but savage caricatures by Cruickshank, Gillray and other cartoonists of the 18th century?  What was the truth and what was the effect of the cosmetics and beauty aids available at the time?

Amanda Herries read Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge.  In 1978 she became curator at the Museum of London, specialising in 18th-20th Century decorative arts. In 1988 she moved to Japan, lecturing and writing on Oriental/Western cross-cultural and artistic influences.  She is a Trustee of the National Trust for Scotland. She writes and lectures worldwide on decorative arts topics.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

The Scottish Colourists

Alice Foster MA

The work of S J Peploe and J D Fergusson was seen in Edinburgh and London in the decade leading up to World War I, but G L Hunter and F C B Cadell were less well known. All were bold pioneers in the field of rich colour and exuberant brushwork. The strong light and bright colour they discovered in France was easily harnessed to their favourite places in Scotland. People, places, interiors and still life were among their favourite subjects.

All four painters knew each other but they did not work together as a cohesive group. The labelling “Scottish Colourists” was given to them posthumously because of their similar interest in subject matter and their insistence on strong colour as a primary tool.

Alice Foster has lectured for Oxford University, Department of Continuing Education since 1998. She lectures at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock. Her busy free lance career also includes organising themed study days with colleagues, and regular weekly classes in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire. In 2004 Alice joined NADFAS and has lectured in Great Britain and Europe. Since its inception in 2003 Alice has been a tutor on study holidays with Learn Italy Ltd. In 2012 she was elected President of Banbury Fine Arts Society.


Tuesday 20 June 2017 - LDFAS AGM 1.45 pm

What did the Egyptians ever do for Bolton?

 Jacqueline Hyman MA ACR

Bolton’s connection to Egypt dates back to the 1860s when local cotton manufacturers began trading with cotton merchants in Alexandria. Annie Barlow, a mill owner’s daughter, had a chance meeting with Flinders Petrie whilst he was excavating in the Nile Delta, resulting in her becoming the Honorary Secretary of the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society in the North West. She collected local subscriptions for the benefit of Bolton Museum which today houses the most important and unique collection of Egyptian textile artefacts in the UK. Jacqueline has personally documented and conserved these Egyptian textiles, enabling her lecture to provide a detailed insight into the skill of the Egyptian textile weavers and embroiderers from the Pharaonic periods through to the 10th century AD. The lecture has detailed colourful images of clothing, furnishing fabrics through to mummified animals, all with a story to tell.

Jacqueline Hyman gained textile conservation experience with the Museums' Service and established a freelance studio in 1982. She is listed in ICOM's Conservation Register and is an accredited Conservator-Restorer. She has lectured and given study days/courses to NADFAS, Embroiderers' Guild, Lace Guild, Antique Collectors' clubs and others. She has appeared on Channel 4, BBC 2 and the Discovery Channel. She is President of Bowdon & District DFAS.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King

Clive Barham-Carter MA

The recent excitement surrounding the discovery of Richard III (now, alas, forever to be known as the ‘king in the car park’) rekindled the enthusiasm Clive had, as a history teacher, to find out what we have done with our other kings. You may think we have them all safely at Westminster or Windsor, but it isn’t so: we have been pretty careless. Some are lost, some have been mauled about and at least five are abroad.

So this lecture is a sort of quest, a monarch-hunt, which, since this is a lecture for NADFAS, will concentrate on Architecture (splendid), Sculpture (astonishing), Painting (jewel-like) with a little bit of history (odd, mostly) for excitement.

Clive Barham-Carter is a graduate of Cambridge University and taught history for 30 years. He has lectured at the City Literary Institute, the Guildford Institute of the University of Surrey, and the U3A. He is a member of he Egypt Exploration Society, being awarded an EES Scholarship to the Saqqara Expedition of 1964-65.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Gilded Glories – the Fascinating History of Gilding

Joanna Mabbutt

The art of beating gold leaf and gilding dates back to ancient Egypt. Gold leaf is nearly 500 times thinner than aluminium foil and traditionally craftsmen pounded gold for hours to create sheets thin enough to cover the most finely detailed surfaces. For over 22 centuries from Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus to Rachel Whiteread’s gilded frieze for the Whitechapel Gallery, skilled artisans have exploited paper-thin metal leaf to enrich materials such as wood, metal, marble, leather, paper, glass, porcelain and textiles – even food and drink. Artists and craftsmen have illuminated manuscripts and icons, decorated noble houses from top to bottom, adorned domes inside and out, embellished erotic canvases and gilded chocolate and schnapps. Gold leaf continues to be used as the ultimate faux decoration and dazzling ornamentation. 

Jo Mabbutt is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, Freeman of the City of London. Originally a trained singer, pianist and orchestra administrator, Jo is now a decorative artist who combines lace with gilding, printing and painting, working to commission and selling through exhibitions. She trained in wood graining, marbling, gilding, specialist paint finishes and interior design and was awarded the City & Guilds Silver Medal for Excellence in 2000. She taught in further education for 8 years then up-skilled at Central St Martin's College of Art & Design developing her own work.  She now divides her time as a designer/maker, lecturer and tutor running workshops for specialist groups.


Tuesday 21 November 2017

Drink thy Wine with Merry Heart – a pictorial history of drinking glasses

Jane Gardiner MA

This lecture, as the title suggests, will focus particularly on the development of the wine glass, but will also look at glasses designed for other beverages, such as beer, cider, ale, cordial, even the humble water glass. It will consider the drinking habits of different countries and the types of glasses associated with those countries; for example, the fragile wing-stemmed glasses of Venice, the German roemer, the Dutch flute and the sturdy English baluster-stemmed glass, and will illustrate the prominence of the fine glass drinking vessels in scenes of feasting and, above all, conviviality.

Jane Gardiner trained at the Victoria and Albert Museum and went on to become a Research Assistant and Lecturer in the V&A Education Department. In 1987 she was invited to join Sotheby’s Institute as tutor of 17th and 18th Century Decorative Art, going on to become a Senior Lecturer and a Deputy Director of Sotherby’s UK. She continues to lecture for both organisations. Her areas of specialisation are Early European Ceramics and Glass and Eighteenth Century European Design. She has also lectured for the University of London, Buckingham University, the National Trust, the Art Fund, the Wallace Collection, l'Institut d'Etudes Supérieures des Arts, Paris; on board cruise ships and at antique fairs and interior design shows in America.



Tuesday 19 December 2017

Mr Barry’s Great Work – Rebuilding the New Houses of Parliament

Caroline Shenton MA DPhil FSA FRHistS

The Houses of Parliament is one of the most famous and staggering buildings in the world. It rises serenely from the Thames at Westminster, on a site which has been the centre of power and government in England from the earliest times. It is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture and a spectacular feat of civil engineering: a landmark which is today the essence of Britishness. And it was nearly never built at all.

From the beginning, its design and construction were a battleground for its architect, Charles Barry. The practical challenges, even by the standards of Victorian invention, were immense. Following the disastrous fire of 1834, the new building was required to cover eight acres of unstable gravel beds. Its river frontage, a quarter of a mile long, was to be constructed in the treacherous currents of the Thames. Its towers were so gigantic they required feats of engineering and building technology never seen before, in order to construct them on the cramped site. And the interior design - stained glass, metalwork, encaustic tiling and wall coverings - needed ancient craft techniques not used since the middle ages to be revived. Battling the interference of MPs and royalty, coaxing and soothing the genius of his partner Pugin, fending off the mad schemes of a host of crackpot inventors and busybodies, and coming in three times over budget and twenty-four years behind schedule, this lecture will tell the story of how Charles Barry created the most famous building in Britain. 

Caroline Shenton is an archivist, historian and author. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives at Westminster and a senior archivist at The National Archives at Kew. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society and has appeared on national TV and radio and reviews books for The Spectator. Her first popular history book, The Day Parliament Burned Down, won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013.  Its sequel, Mr Barry’s War, about the rebuilding of Parliament, was published in September 2016.



Tuesday 16 January 2018

Iran: Land of Great Kings, Shahs and Ayatollahs

John Osborne MA

The first part of this lecture illustrates the rich and mighty Persian Empire that was contemporary with Classical Greece and ruled by Great Kings such as Darius and Xerxes. Their palace at Persepolis, destroyed (and allegedly deliberately) by Alexander the Great, has monumental architectural remains and a wealth of relief sculpture, which reveals the ethos of the empire and the symbolism of kingship.

The second part traces the development through the Islamic period of the architecture of mosques and palaces, and of their brilliant decorative tilework and painting, including the splendid buildings of Shah Abbas' early 17th century Isfahan. The political and religious background is explained, includeing an account of how Shi'a Islam came to take root and become the ruling creed in the late 20th century Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini.

John Osborne graduated in Classics at Cambridge University. He taught Classical subjects for over thirty years at Marlborough College, where he was Senior Master. He worked for several years for the British Council in the Middle East, which gave him a now longstanding interest in Islamic culture. He has lectured regularly for NADFAS at home and abroad since 2005, has lectured on Ancient Rome and on Islam at the University of Bath, runs an annual course on Medieval Parish Churches at Marlborough College Summer School and guides at Salisbury Cathedral. He leads and lectures on specialist tours and cruises to various countries in SE Europe.