Programme for 2019 Lectures are held on the second Thursday of the month (excluding July and August).There are no lectures in July or AugustThursday 12th September 2019Dominic RileyA Kelmscott Chaucer of our TimesWilliam Morris founded his Kelmscott Press in 1890 in order to save the fine art of hand printing in Britain. When in 1896 his last book, the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, was published, it was universally hailed as the greatest book of the age. It is a huge book, with illustrations by Burne Jones and decorations by Morris, and was printed at the press in Hammersmith over a four year period. Fewer than 400 copies were produced. In 2012 Dominic was presented with a copy in a poor binding, with a view to creating a contemporary artistic binding for it. This lecture is the record that process. He will give an overview of Morris and the Kelmscott Press, and then talk about his very demanding commission — from the early designs to the completion of the project four years later. Background to the bookThursday 10th October 2019 ( AGM at 7.15 pm)Brian HealeyWhen Cotton was King – The architectural legacy of 19th Century ManchesterCottonopolis’ as it became known, was the world’s first industrialized city that enjoyed unstoppable growth for much of the last century. With it came grand commercial and civic buildings on a scale and of a quality never witnessed in the city before. This lecture examines the extraordinary variety of such buildings and shows how their architects and stonemasons brought directly into the streets of Manchester the golden age of Pericles, the architecture of Renaissance Italy and the gothic of the Grand Canal. It goes into a detailed study of the allegorical sculpture and decoration of many of these buildings, many of which have fascinating stories to tell and which were designed by eminent architects such as Charles Barry and Alfred Waterhouse even before they went on to make names for themselves in the capital itself.The Exchange in Manchester in 1835Background on CottonopolisThursday 14th November 2019Julia KornerThe Conservation of PaintingsThe talk comprises a practical, step-by-step guide to the conservation of paintings through the ages. It starts with a brief history of the preparation of panels and canvases and illustrates the different approaches and techniques involved in their conservation. Various ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ photographs show the pictures undergoing conservation and the processes involved. The frames housing various paintings undergoing conservation are discussed with illustrations showing the various stages involved in their conservation. Thursday 12th December 2019 (Wine & Mince Pies)Dr Claire WalshJane Austen’s ChristmasBefore the Victorians reinvented it, the traditional Christmas was a very different affair. Devoid of Father Christmas, Christmas trees and commercialisation, the emphasis was on gentility, tradition and sociability. Jane Austen set many scenes from her novels during the Christmas period exactly because this was a time for social gatherings. We’ll look at the balls, parties, dinners, games, traditions and celebrations that filled the festive season. Novels, letters, paintings and engravings are used to bring the Georgian Christmas to life. Background to a Georgian ChristmasThursday 9th Jan 2020 Paul Jagger Treasures of the Livery Company Halls of London The City of London is home to some forty Livery Company Halls, almost as many as existed immediately prior to the Great Fire of London. Many of the Halls succumbed to the fire, others to the Blitz, they all contain a wealth of treasures in art, sculpture, stained glass, silverware and furniture. Collectively the Livery Companies are custodians of an immense array of treasures of national significance.Thursday 13th February 2020Jane Gardiner Through the Glass Darkly (A history of glass through the eyes of the artist)This lecture explores the way in which artists over the centuries have included transparent glass objects in their paintings, taking huge delight in capturing the shadows and reflections seen within the glass as well as displaying their skill in portraying what lies behind and beyond. It will include the remarkable depiction of glass objects in Roman wall-paintings, works by artists such as Titian, Veronese and Caravaggio - where both the Gods of Olympus and the disciples are seen drinking out of fragile Venetian cristallo - and the proliferation of glass drinking vessels in Dutch still-life paintings.Roman Glass 3/4th CenturyPhoto copyright: Hans-Jochen Krank-HoverThursday March 12th 2020Barry VenningWith a little help from their friends (Art work and the Beatles)This is a journey through the 60’s 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. The Beatles 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 turned album design into an art form in its own right. Thursday April 9th2020Howard Smith Eagle and Dan Dare Comics (The Art Work of Frank Hampson)The extraordinary story of a million selling boy’s magazine created by a vicar and an art student in 1950. How the studio worked and the graphic tricks artist Frank Hampson used to create reality.DAN DARE. Situated on the corner of Lord Street and Cambridge Arcade is this bronze bust. The Plaque reads:- DAN DARE, Eagle Magzine's most famous character, dedicated to, Marcus Morris, Frank Hampson, creators of the children's weekly. Eagle Southport. Donated by the Eagle Society 2000. Photo copyright: Peter Hodge / DAN DARE Click here for the web site to the DanDare Society and further information about the bust.Thursday May 14th7.30pm Tony FaberThe Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Faberge - Before the RevolutionBetween 1885 and 1916, Carl Fabergé made fifty jewelled eggs – Easter presents from Russia’s last two emperors to their wives. They have become the most famous surviving symbols of the Romanov Empire: both supreme examples of the jeweller’s art and the vulgar playthings of a decadent court. Given almost total artistic freedom, Fabergé and his designers had to conform to only three rules: that each year’s Easter present should be egg-shaped, that it should contain some surprise to amuse or delight its recipient, and that it should be different from any predecessor. Their maker’s relentless search for novelty also means that they provide a fabulously quirky illustrated history of the decline of the Romanovs. The lecture is illustrated with pictures of the Romanovs and their palaces, and, of course, with photographs of the eggs themselvesThursday May 28th11.30am MORNING LECTURE Chantal Brotherton-RatcliffeHistorical Painting Materials & Techniques 15th - 18th CenturiesThe 14th century artist Cennino Cennini recommended using “the chicken bones that you will find under the dining table” for making charcoaled bone black to paint with. His treatise, The Artists’ handbook, gives us an understanding of some of the surprising materials which any artist had to master before he could begin to paint, such as the tail of a squirrel to make his paintbrushes. But many of these materials were difficult to use and have an effect on the finished look of paintings from the centuries before industrial processes changed the artist’s world. This lecture will explain the techniques and the reasons for some of the features of 15th and 16th century paintings which may seem odd to our modern eyes. Thursday 11th June 2020Roger Butler Canal History & Heritage This lecture provides a colourful introduction to the secret world of our 2000-mile inland waterway network and looks at all aspects of their exceptional artistic, architectural and engineering vernacular with special reference to our local canals. He will range from sweeping aqueducts to tiny bollards; from colourful historic narrowboats to 'Roses and Castles' artwork; from grand World Heritage Sites to quirky listed buildings. A well-known architectural historian once described our canals as a 'poor man's art gallery'.Canal Art Traditional decorated canalware at the Boat Gathering, Guildford 2009.Photo copyright: Colin Smith / Canal Art / There are no lectures in July or AugustThursday 10th September 2020Jo MabbuttThe Fields of the Cloth of Gold In June 1520 Henry VIII and Francis 1 met to ratify an Anglo-French alliance and celebrate the betrothal of Henry’s daughter Mary to the Dauphin. The two handsome ‘Renaissance Princes’ were in their 20’s with similar reputations in military prowess, sport and patrons of the arts. Both had imperial ambitions and were eager to display themselves as magnificent nobleman and warrior kings. Each brought an entourage of 6,000 to a field south of Calais for 18 days of various events and entertainments staged to display the skill and splendour of each King and country. The logistics of transporting all of this, including, 3,217 horses to Calais is staggering! Our Royal Palaces were virtually emptied of their silver, gold, tapestries and furniture to decorate the temporary palace.2020 is the 500th Anniversary of this extraordinary event.Thursday 8th October (following our AGM at 7.15pm)at 7.30pm Timothy Walker The subtle Science and Exact Art of Colour - English Garden Design In 1888 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in The Garden in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”. As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours, but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”. This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border, but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting. However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Hockney evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.Thursday 12th November David Wright A Brief History of Wine Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years, and the story tells of its origin and appearance in all civilisations across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the rôle 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.Thursday 10th December 2020 (with wine & mince pies)Ian GledhillThe Magic of Pantomime (by an actor who understudied Julian Clary, talking about the only British form of theatre) The history of this enduring and peculiarly British institution, from its origins in 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte through the influence of 19th century music hall, to the family shows that are still much loved today. On the way we examine the origins of some of the stories used in pantomime as well as such traditions as the (female) principal boy and the (male) pantomime dame. The talk is interspersed with personal anecdotes from the speaker’s years of working (and appearing) professionally in pantomime.
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