2012-13 Lecture Archive

Tuesday 21 February 2012

The Bayeux Tapestry:  Embroidering the Norman Invasion

Dr Colin Bailey BA PhD FSA FAS Scot

The Bayeux Tapestry is remarkable as the oldest surviving piece of medieval narrative embroidery.  Why it was commissioned is still debated but the strength of its story line and the power of its images are undisputed.  But did it also give new meaning to the word ‘embroidery’?  Is it above all an outstanding early example of image-building and spin-doctoring?  Dr Bailey’s lecture will expound the debate.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Bess and her Descendants:  The Cavendishes at Hardwick & Chatsworth

Roger Mitchell MA (Oxon)

Four hundred years after her death, Bess of Hardwick remains a powerful personality and the great houses that she built at Hardwick still survive – one as an impressive ruin, the other as perhaps the greatest Elizabethan house in England. Her descendants still live at Chatsworth, the estate that she and her second husband, William Cavendish, purchased. The lecture combines architectural and family history to tell the story of these great houses and of a quite extraordinary family.


Bess of Hardwick
Photo: Creative Commons

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Edouard Manet:  Master of the Modern Idiom

Hilary Hope Guise MA (UCT) MA (Lon)

Manet, last of the Old Masters, was also the first to paint contemporary life in all its provocative urbanity - a juxtaposition that was acknowledged by the 2011 retrospective at the Musée d’Orsay:  Manet, the Man who Invented Modernity.  Hilary Hope Guise will bring insights coloured by her own work as a practising artist.

Edourd Manet

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Julia Margaret Cameron, Lady Photographer

Sally Hoban BA MCIPR

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a pioneering Victorian photographer and woman artist. Largely self-taught, she photographed eminent Victorians including Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Herschel, as well as producing a host of photographs that reflected Victorian art including Pre-Raphaelitism. Her delightful photographic portraits of children can also be found in collections throughout the world. This lecture tells the story of her life and career and also assesses why her work is important today.


John Herschel by Julia Margaret Camerons
John Herschel by Julia Margaret Cameron

Tuesday 19 June 2012 (1.45pm AGM)

Leonardo Da Vinci:  The Anatomy of the Mind

Daniel Evans BA (Hons)

Following the recent National Gallery special exhibition of his paintings, this talk moves the focus to Da Vinci's astonishing anatomical drawings which bridge the Science and Art divide.  Some of these drawings reveal equally astonishing attitudes to women and the cycle of life.


Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Colour of Light – contemporary stained glass

Tom Errington

The general perception of stained glass today remains firmly fixed in the Victorian image. This talk attempts to change that view.  Tom Errington will begin by tracing the history and some of the techniques, then move on to discuss how the art developed through the Pre Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, leading to the brilliant designs of John Piper, Marc Chagall and more recent artists who, through being makers as well as designers, have rediscovered the essential point of the medium: the revelation of colour and light.

Contemporary Stained Glass'Maya' by Refia Sacks 2004

Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Gilded Stage: A Social and Cultural History of Opera

 Daniel Snowman

A richly illustrated history of an art form that incorporates all the others. From the birth of opera in Renaissance Italy we move to Louis XIV’s Versailles, Handel’s London, Mozart’s Vienna, Verdi’s Italy and Wagner’s Germany, Gilded Age America and the worldwide spread of opera in the 20th century. During the course of this magnificent Grand Tour of the mind, we consider patronage of the arts, the changing nature of audiences, theatrical architecture and stage design and the impact of new technologies such as electric lighting, recording, photography and film.



Book cover

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Sir Christopher Wren

Caroline Knight BA, MA (Courtauld)

Sir Christopher Wren was the leading scientist, mathematician and astronomer of his generation, and the leading Baroque architect in England. He was Surveyor of the King’s Works to Charles II and later sovereigns, with Hampton Court the best surviving of his royal palaces. After the Fire of London he redesigned St. Paul’s Cathedral, as well as many City churches, and also worked for Oxford and Cambridge colleges. He has left us a legacy of fine public buildings to enjoy.


Sir Christopher Wren by Closterman 1695
Sir Christopher Wren, Closterman (private collection)

Tuesday 18 December 2012 (and Christmas social)

Art and Hilarity: British Caricature 1750-2000

David Cross BA MA PhD

The great age of British caricature is familiar from the well-observed works of Gillray, Rowlandson and Cruikshank. However, the notion of caricatura arose in Italy following the influence of the grotesques of Leonardo and led to a flowering of interest in France and England. This lecture is a chronological overview which includes lesser known figures of the 18th century: Bunbury and Newton and then via the gentle caricatures by ‘Ape’ and ‘Spy’ to the pages of Punch in the 19th and 20th centuries. Wartime cartoonists include Bairnsfather and 'Jon', while the greatest successor to Gillray is undoubtedly the corrosive satire of Gerald Scarfe.


'A Voluptuary under the Effects of Digestion’ the Prince Regent by Gillray

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Antonio Gaudi

Hugh B Ellwood PhL, BA Hons (Arch) RIBA

In the city of Barcelona at the end of the 19th century an astonishing genius produced forms of architecture unique to Catalonia.  Widely regarded in Barcelona he was known to the rest of the world for his design of the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia.  Qualifying as an architect in 1875, he followed two parallel careers, gradually developing his ideas throughout his life.  He built a succession of town houses and estates for a succession of wealthy industrialist which continued until the death of his main patron and friend, Guell, in 1918.  He took over the design of the Sagrada Familia cathedral and worked on this until his death in 1926.  His designs covered everything from the building to the last detail of furniture and his intuitive feeling for structure produced some astonishing work.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
(photo: Hugh Ellwood)