Previous Lectures We will be archiving the lectures as we go through the year, so you can look back on lectures, perhaps look at some of the links associated with them. 9th June 2022 John Benjamin At the Sign of the Falcon:The Life & Works of Harry Murphy Goldsmith, Silversmith & Unique Englishman H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age. 12th May 2022 Rupert Dickens Through a Glass Darkly - Vermeer & The Camera Obscura The tranquil and meditative paintings of Johannes Vermeer are among the best-loved artworks in the world. Relatively little is known about the master from Delft but that has not deterred a torrent of publications about him, both fictional and scholarly. One of the most hotly debated topics in Vermeer literature is his supposed use of the camera obscura. We will tackle this controversy head on by investigating the history of optical devices in art and examining the latest theories on Vermeer’s technique. It will be a great opportunity to look at Vermeer’s beguiling body of work afresh through a different lens. 14th April 2022 Ian Swankie Pots & Frocks - "The World of Grayson Perry - from Essex Punk Potter to Superstar National Treasure” Best known for his outlandish appearances dressed as his feminine alter ego, Claire, Grayson Perry is now a core part of the art establishment, a Turner Prize winner, Royal Academician, popular broadcaster and colourful character. He’s possibly one of the world’s best-known contemporary artists. His works of ceramics, textiles, tapestries and prints are highly sought after. Often controversial, he tackles difficult subjects in a poignant yet witty way and holds a mirror up to society. This talk will examine Grayson Perry’s work, his exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions, and the unique character inside the flamboyant frocks. 10th March 2022 7.30pm James Wright Busting Medieval Myths I thought that I ought to give you some advance notice that the Speaker for our March Lecture has changed from Annelie Talent to James Wright because Annelie cannot come to us for family reasons. Annelie has been rebooked for May 2023. James Wright is coming to us again from Nottingham at short notice. Many of you will remember the lecture he gave us under similar circumstances in June 2019: “The story of the masons, carpenters, cooks, clerks, servants, stable-hands and lower status visitors to great castles.” This was incredibly interesting and well received; we later rated it as Outstanding. In his Busting Medieval Building Myths, James will look at some ten common myths about medieval buildings and discuss how they arose, and give us the correct answers, insofar as they are known. 10th February 2022 Christopher Newlands Lancaster Priory: 2,000 Years of History in Stone, Wood and Glass The mother-church of the City and County of Lancaster, this site of this ancient Priory Church reveals elements of the Roman fort on the site, a Celtic burial site, a Saxon church, a Benedictine Monastery, and a historic parish church. Its history tells the story of this city covering wars, plagues, and the Kings and Queens of England who have held the title 'Duke of Lancaster'. 13th January 2022 Linda Smith Great Tarts in Art A mixture of art-historical analysis and scandalous anecdote, this lecture takes a generally light-hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages, by examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It also charts the rather complex and ambiguous attitudes of art and society towards the numerous anonymous working girls at the lower end of the scale, by investigating how they have been represented in art at different times and places from the 17th to the 20th century. December 9th 2021 7:30 Roger Askew A Right Royal Christmas: How our Royal Families have celebrated Christmas through the ages. Our royal families have celebrated Christmas throughout their long history, from William the Conqueror making sure of his claim to the English throne by being crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. Feasting on a spectacular scale characterised medieval Christmases – we read of extraordinary culinary delicacies served to Henry II, crane’s flesh, peacocks and herons. Present-giving always marked the season, from the extravagant – the City of London presented Richard II with a camel and a pelican – to the witty – Mrs. Thatcher sent the Queen a pair of yellow washing-up gloves having seen Her Majesty doing the dishes without any. The Royal Christmas Broadcast is now an established part of our celebrations and we shall hear extracts from George V’s, George VI’s and our present Queen’s addresses. November 11th 2021 7:30 Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe Historical Painting Materials & Techniques 15th - 18th Centuries The 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. October 14th 2021 7:30 at our normal venue Roger 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'. Note from our Chairman: On 14th October we were again back in our normal venue in Quorn at 7.30pm to hear Roger Butler give his lecture on Canal History & Heritage This lecture provided a colourful introduction to the secret world of our 2000-mile inland waterway network and looked at all aspects of their exceptional artistic, architectural and engineering vernacular This ranged 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', and the art was indeed striking. At the end of his main lecture, he gave us an additional ten minutes on our own local canals with entrancing photos taken some 60 years ago, these were compared with present day views of the same scenes. We found ourselves looking at them completely afresh! September 9th 2021 7:30 at our normal venue Howard Smith Eagle & Dan Dare – The Art of Frank Hampson This is the extraordinary story of a million selling boy’s magazine created by a vicar and an art student in 1950. 20% of the readers were girls. This is the backstory of why and how they created this ground-breaking magazine and then sold it to Hulton Press. The lead story of Dan Dare was the only one to have its own full studio producing the weekly double-page spread. See how this studio worked and the graphic tricks artist Frank Hampson used to create reality. Why did the Ministry of Defence order six copies each week and what prize did David Hockney win in 1950? All is revealed in this lecture which obviously has some space elements in it – but it is really an amazing story of achievement, with artwork, ephemera and vintage film clips. 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. CC Peter Hodge *June 10th 2021 7:30 Tony Faber The Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Faberge - Before the Revolution Between 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 themselves. May13th 2021 7:30 Geri Parlby The Subtle Art of Fake News Fake News has been around since the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs and art has always been one of its favourite media. In this talk I will be uncovering the subtle art of spin and propaganda in art from the glories of Ancient Mesopotamia to the Norman Conquest and then onto Elizabethan England and the dark days of Nazi Germany. Every picture tells a story—whether it is true or not is an entirely different matter. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. April 8th 2021 7:30 Jennifer Toynbee-Holmes The Art of Dance Since the birth of the earliest human civilisations, dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations, a method of healing and a means of expression and entertainment. Using stills and video clips we take a look at dance as an art form from its earliest beginnings; through the birth and rapid development of ballet throughout Europe, the explosion of modern dance in the early 20th century a time of unprecedented creative growth for dancers and choreographers and with the growth of post-modernism from the 1960s the expansion of street dance, hip-hop, break dancing and rock dance. March 11th 2021 7:30 Lars Tharp The Captain, The Duchess & their 23,000 Children: London’s Great Foundling Hospital In the early 1700s, shipwright Thomas Coram gave up his business in Massachusets. Returning to London he was appalled to encounter babies regularly abandoned in the streets. He began to lobby for the provision of a hospital for ‘foundlings’ and for babies at risk of infanticide. The great and the good weren’t interested. But Coram persisted; and the result was the Foundling Hospital in what came to be known as “Coram Fields” near Tavistock Square which is well worth a visit. Click here for the Foundling Hospital website. February 11th 2021 7:30 Monica Bohm-Duchen Insiders/Outsiders: Refugees from Nazi Europe & British visual culture. Despite the traumatic nature of their dislocation and the obstacles they often encountered on arrival in the UK, those who fled here from Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s made a deep, pervasive and long-lasting contribution to British culture. Focussing on the visual arts, this lecture will examine the nature of this contribution, embracing not only familiar names such as Gombrich, Kokoschka, Moholy-Nagy, Schwitters and Heartfield, but also lesser-known figures such as Albert Reuss, Josef Herman and Marie-Louise von Motesiczky. January 14th 2021 7:30 Ian Swankie Great Railway Stations-Evoking the Spirit of Romance & Adventure. If you think of St Pancras International or New York Grand Central you imagine long romantic journeys. You know they are special places promising excitement and adventure. But there are dozens of other glorious stations in the UK and abroad. We will take a journey around some of the most evocative and splendid stations in the world. We will look not only at the magnificence of the architecture and the brilliant engineering but will discover numerous artworks within the stations and examine many depictions of stations in art – like Claude Monet’s Gare St Lazare or William Powell Frith’s Paddington. It may sound a bit anoraky, but it’s definitely not. It’s lavish, colourful and fun.
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