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. Thursday 10th December 2020 (hopefully with wine & mince pies) 7:30 Ian Gledhill The 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. Thursday 12th November 2020 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. Wednesday 14th October Zoom Study Day, 11 for 11.30am Barry Venning Patinbrushes at Dawn - the World’s Greatest Artistic Feuds, Rows and Quarrels” (2 lectures) Session-1 12 noon – 1pm Session-1 Renaissance to Turner vs Constable The modern concept of the artist as a genius rather than a craftsman developed during the Renaissance, and so it is no coincidence that the era saw some of the bitterest (and earliest) recorded artistic feuds. The first session begins by looking at the bitter, lifelong rivalry between the great sculptor, Ghiberti, and the architect, Brunelleschi, then considers Michelangelo’s appalling behaviour towards colleagues such as Raphael, Perugino, Francia and, above all, Leonardo da Vinci. The Renaissance also witnessed the founding of the earliest academies of art, and these often became the arenas in which personal and professional rivalries were fought out. At the Royal Academy in London, rows and feuds rumbled on for over a century, including JMW Turner’s bitter dispute with his fellow landscapist, John Constable. Session 2 1.30 – 2.30pm Session-2 The last 150 years to Banksy vs Robbo During the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the academies became increasingly irrelevant. The most exciting and challenging art and ideas were produced by a host of avant-garde artists, groups and critics who were often at loggerheads with one another. The second session begins with Whistler’s epic dispute with John Ruskin, which led to the most famous (and funniest) libel trial in British legal history. We move on to consider Salvador Dali’s spat with the Surrealist leader, Andre Breton, the artist John Latham’s brilliant take-down of the American critic, Clement Greenberg and the art dealer Ileana Sonnabend’s titanic battle with the federal government of the USA. We finish the day with the bitter but wonderfully entertaining feud between the graffiti artists, Banksy and Robbo. Thursday 8th October 2020 at 7.30pm Timothy Walker The Subtle Science and Exact Art of Colour - English Garden Design This lecture was very well received; the mechanics of its Zoom delivery went off without any hitches, and the all-important coloured images came across very vividly. 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 Our first lecture of the Covid19 period on Zoom Thursday 10th September 2020 Jo Mabbutt The 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 March 12th 2020 Barry Venning With 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 20th February at 11.30am Helen Rhodes Textiles, Patterns & Paintings Helen is a well-recognised local artist who gained a First-Class Honours Degree in textile design from Loughborough College of Art; her popularity stems from a distinctive combination of simple, yet familiar images, a dash of gentle humour and wonderful rich textured colours. Some of the inspiration for Helen's work comes from a fascination with the history of textile design especially that of the Elizabethan era. The torn edges of some of her paintings hint at it being part of a much larger piece giving the viewer an added sense of mystery. This session was a combination of lecture and practical demonstration with hands-on encounters with her materials and methods. Thursday 13th February 2020 Jane 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. Thursday 9th January 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.
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