Previous LecturesWe 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 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 likeOur first lecture of the Covid19 period on ZoomThursday 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 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 rightThursday 20th February at 11.30am Helen Rhodes Textiles, Patterns & PaintingsHelen 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 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.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.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 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. Colour and the Artist’s Palette: Seeing Red, Feeling Blue and The Peril of Yellow Lynne Gibson THURSDAY 3rd OCTOBER 2019 10:30 to 3pm. £30. Lunch and refreshments included.Old Stable Room, Griffin Inn, 174 Main Street, Swithland LE12 8TJ Doors Open 9.30amClick here for further information about the day and a booking form.Thursday 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.Background on CottonopolisThursday 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 13th June 2019James WrightEnglish Mediaeval Castles & Great Houses : The non elite response to elitebuildings.This lecture offers a little-regarded alternative viewpoint of life in English mediaeval castles:that of the ordinary folk. Using archaeological evidence gleaned from historic building survey, contemporary literature, artistic representations, graffiti and architectural history this talk presents the story of the masons, carpenters, cooks, clerks, servants, stable-hands and lower status visitors to great castles. Instead of studying towers, gatehouses and great halls here we delve into the kitchens, stables, staircases, cellars and garderobes to uncover evidence of the non-elite response to elite buildings.James Wright FSA is an archaeologist and historian based at the Universityof Nottingham. With over twenty years of professional experience, he haspublished two books and a string of popular and academic articlesconcentrating on the British Mediaeval and Early Modern periods. He is avery proficient public speaker and has spoken to a wide variety oforganisations including Historic Royal Palaces, the National Trust, LowdhamBook Festival, the Fortean Society, Gresham College, Shakespeare400 and theMuseum of London.Thursday 9th May 2019John EricsonThe Story of Beatrix PotterNot only is she one of our best loved children’s authors and illustrators but Beatrix Potter was a respected naturalist, an entrepreneur, an astute business woman, a farmer and a breeder of prize winning sheep as well as a conservationist whose early support fostered the foundations of our much respected National Trust.In addition to her art and stories for children, we will explore her personal life, first beset by the tragedy of losing her first fiancée Norman Warne but ending in fulfilment with her husband of thirty years, William Heelis.So, if you enjoy a good story, and who does not? - then share with me the extraordinary and fascinating tale of Beatrix Potter.Thursday 30th May 2019 – DAY TIME MEETINGNicholas Henderson‘How to Read’ The English ChurchHow to read the architectural and liturgical features that have shaped the building through the ages to the present day. Part one: The pre-Christian to the TudorsIt is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, of movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our older English country churches. This lecture takes us from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans and onwards to the sixteenth century and the epoch changing Tudors Simple indicators are given how to identify churches with Roman and Saxon origins. The great flowering of Romanesque and Gothic architecture that followed the invasion of the Normans in the eleventh century are explained with illustrated examples. Onwards into the high Middle Ages and the tumultuous changes of the Reformation we can see the architectural and structural evidence of a period of great change.Part two: The Tudors to the presentThis second part takes us on from the Tudor era into the establishment of a new Protestant England visible in church structures. Later the profound destructive changes of the seventeenth century Commonwealth era are followed by restoration and liturgical change. The largely forgotten Georgian period of church architecture is examined as church architecture that the Victorians forgot. In turn the great period of church building and Gothic revival of the Victorian era and the associated innovations of the Oxford and Cambridge movements are examined in detail. Finally, there is a brief look at contemporary changes that have influenced and altered church buildings as the English country church continues to reflect the passing of the ages.Thursday 11th April 2019Magdalen EvansWilliam Simmonds and the English Puppet TheatreSimmonds was an old-fashioned Cotswolds craftsman, who achieved a stellar reputation by the time he died in 1968. Much in demand, his ambitious puppet shows were put on for grown-ups as well as children. He could carve a calibrated figure one-sixth-life-size so convincingly that, when controlled by an expert puppeteer, reviewers thought his creatures had a life of their own. Winston Churchill was one of many who admired a performance put on by the 2nd Duke of Westminster at his country house, Eaton Hall in Cheshire. Trained at the Royal Academy and emerging from the Arts&Crafts movement in Gloucestershire, Simmonds moved on from traditional painting to designing aircraft for De Haviland during the First World War. Background to William Simmonds and his wife.Thursday 14th March 2019Adam BusiakiewiczSir Joshua Reynolds - Destroyer of Pictures? Techniques & ConservationEighteenth century Britain was an age of romanticised elegance captured politely in paint. In contrast, Sir Joshua Reynolds pushed the boundaries of composition and materials through endless experimentation. His constant attempts to replicate the painting techniques of the Old Masters resulted in some of the triumphs of Georgian British Art. Whilst much of his work survives, his experimentation with oils, waxes, pigments and other ingredients of painting alchemy, many are in poor condition and pose conservation conundrums. In addition to Reynolds's development as a painter, this lecture will discuss the various scientific methods undertaken to revive, and in some cases resurrect, his valuable and important paintings.A rare and curious example of Joshua Reynolds reusing a rather elaborate costume for two different sittersThursday 14th February 2019Alan Read‘Very Bad for Art’ ? The impact of the Great War on 3 ArtistsAugustus John turned to Bomberg and said “David, this news of the outbreak of war is going to be very bad for art.” This lecture considers the truth of that prophesy among three British artists who had first-hand experience of the Great War and whose work was profoundly affected by it.David Bomberg (1890-1957) By his mid-twenties he had achieved notable success and was being hailed as a major talent in avant garde circles. The rejection of a Canadian War Commission was a significant disappointment and it is true to say that his career never fully recovered.Christopher Nevinson (1889-1946) He is generally regarded as the only British artist who wholeheartedly adopted the tenets of Futurism, a movement that set out to glorify war. However, faced with its reality his work took a completely new direction but not before he had produced some of the War’s most powerful images.William Orpen (1878-1931) One of the most financially successful artists in the pre-War period, Orpen used his society contacts to gain privileged access to military leaders yet developed a deep admiration for the regular soldier. His unorthodox approach to official commissions led him to produce some of his most compelling works.
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