LECTURE PROGRAMME 2019/20 2019 There are no meetings in July and August. This is the first lecture of the new Membership Year September 17th 2019 Dr Steve Kershaw The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Two tombs, a couple of statues, one temple, a garden and a lighthouse have become celebrated as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But how much do we know about them? Why and how were they chosen? And, given that six out of the seven were destroyed long ago, can we recreate their size, beauty and majesty, and the shock and awe that they generated? Combining literary and artistic evidence for the monuments with examination of the sites where they once stood, this talk will try to make the vestigial traces of their grandeur come to life once again. A collage of The Seven Wonders of the (ancient) world, depicted by 16th-century Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck. October 15th Simon Seligman A 21st Century Renaissance: Chatsworth & the Devonshire Collection in the Modern Age Since the 1950s, Chatsworth and its collections have undergone a renaissance under the leadership of first  the 11th, and now the 12th, Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This lecture paints a portrait of Devonshire’s treasure house in the modern age, illustrating the extensive recent decorative and furnishing renovations in the house and the restoration of historic interiors, stone work and works of art. The lecture also includes work by modern and contemporary artists in the collection at Chatsworth including Lucian Freud, Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and David Nash, to Richard Long, Allen Jones, Michael Craig-Martin and Edmund de Waal. November 5th Jo Banham Papers from Peking: Chinese Wallpapers   Chinese wallpapers represent the most beautiful and sumptuous of wall decorations ever made. They first appeared in London in the late 17th century as part of the larger trade in Far Eastern lacquer, porcelain and silks and rapidly came to dominate the market for luxury wallcoverings for the next hundred and fifty years. Unlike European wallpapers, Chinese papers were hand-painted and featured large-scale, non-repeating pictorial scenes of Chinese society and exotic plants and birds. Such was their reputation that before long European manufacturers were producing printed imitations, and the naturalism and detail of their designs suggested new standards of excellence to which wallpaper could aspire. This lecture explores the passion for Chinese and Chinoiserie wallpapers and the role that they played in interior decoration from the early 18th to the mid 19th centuries and their revival in the mid 20th century and today. Wall paper from Harwood Wall paper from Errdig November 26th CHRISTMAS LECTURE Caroline MacDonald-Haig The Christmas Story from London’s National Gallery 2020 London’s National Gallery is a marvellous place to see how artists have treated the Christmas story through the ages. The most beautiful images ever made are here. The earliest paintings date from before the Reformation when the richest imagery and fabulous stories of the saints were much admired. Following the Counter Reformation in the middle years of the 16th century, Catholic art was stripped of these colourful stories derived from the Golden Legend, which were regarded often as superstitious fabrications. There was still a big demand for Christmas images for altarpieces, but now earthed in every day life, emphasising Emmanuel – God with us. By way of contrast the Protestant north stripped churches of art. However there was a market from private patrons, especially in Holland, where artists like Rembrandt painted some of the most tender and moving interpretations the theme. By choosing images from the 1260s up to the mid 1600s we also see how Western European art developed in Italy and the Netherlands.  Netherlandish artist Campin early 1400s. Book list: The National Gallery has an excellent bookshop with various books on this subject. Hall’s Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art. Pub John Murray Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. By George Ferguson. Oxford University Press. The Image of Christ: Catalogue of the Millennium exhibition Seeing Salvation. Introduction by Neil MacGregor.  National Gallery publication. January 21st 2020 Stella Grace Lyons Painting Winter: Snow Scenes in Art ‘I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show’ – Andrew Wyeth. Magical, festive, beautiful, harsh, cruel and bleak - how has winter been reflected in Western art? This talk will explore the variety of interpretations of the frosty season through the works of Bruegel, Avercamp, Caspar David Friedrich, Monet, and Andrew Wyeth.                                                  Monet and Breugel February 18th Paul Jagger Treasures of the Livery Company Halls The City of London is home to no fewer than 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, and several to the property developer, but 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 including many Royal portraits such as that of HM The Queen during her Golden Jubilee year, commissioned by the Drapers’ Company which with the Sandringham Branch of the Women’s Institute is one of only two organisations of which HM is a member. March 17th Dr Caroline Shenton Packing up the Nation: How heroic Curators & eccentric Custodians saved Britian’s national heritage during the summer of 1939 This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered on the other side of the Channel to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections to safety. Utilising country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, tube tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries, a dedicated team of unlikely heroes packed up their greatest treasures in a race against time during the sweltering summer of 1939, dispatching them throughout the country on a series of secret wartime adventures, retold in this talk. Click here for a BBC article on the hidden art treasures during WW2 April 21st Barbara Askew Windsor Castle: from Medieval Fortress to Royal Palace This lecture traces the development of Windsor Castle from an 11th century fortress into a magnificent palace and illustrates how it has been successively enlarged, adapted and rebuilt by monarchs from Henry II to Queen Elizabeth II. Windsor Castle from Morris's County Seats (1880). May 19th Chris Alexander Silk Road: A Textile Journey Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet  Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today. The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx. After the AGM June 16th Richard Thomas Bronzes of Ifa and Benin: And an Historical Review of the Art of Nigeria Africa is not generally associated with great art but Nigeria is associated with 3 major artistic traditions; the 2,000 year old Nok terracottas of the north, the Bronzes of Ife from the C12-C15 and the later Benin Bronzes. Richard lived in Nigeria in the 1960s, near Ife, and became familiar with the art of Ife and Benin and the role they played in society. The art, the technology (using the lost wax process) and the cultural relevance of the Bronzes will be illustrated and discussed in the lecture. Male head, brass, from Udo, Nigeria 16th century Click here to return to the top of the page Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training
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LECTURE PROGRAMME 2019-20 2019 This is the first lecture of the new Membership Year September 17th 2019 Dr Steve Kershaw The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Two tombs, a couple of statues, one temple, a garden and a lighthouse have become celebrated as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. But how much do we know about them? Why and how were they chosen? And, given that six out of the seven were destroyed long ago, can we recreate their size, beauty and majesty, and the shock and awe that they generated? Combining literary and artistic evidence for the monuments with examination of the sites where they once stood, this talk will try to make the vestigial traces of their grandeur come to life once again. A collage of The Seven Wonders of the (ancient) world, depicted by 16th-century Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck. October 15th Simon Seligman A 21st Century Renaissance: Chatsworth & the Devonshire Collection in the Modern Age Since the 1950s, Chatsworth and its collections have undergone a renaissance under the leadership of first  the 11th, and now the 12th, Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This lecture paints a portrait of Devonshire’s treasure house in the modern age, illustrating the extensive recent decorative and furnishing renovations in the house and the restoration of historic interiors, stone work and works of art. The lecture also includes work by modern and contemporary artists in the collection at Chatsworth including Lucian Freud, Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and David Nash, to Richard Long, Allen Jones, Michael Craig-Martin and Edmund de Waal. November 26th CHRISTMAS LECTURE Caroline MacDonald-Haig The Christmas Story from London’s National Gallery 2020 London’s National Gallery is a marvellous place to see how artists have treated the Christmas story through the ages. The most beautiful images ever made are here. The earliest paintings date from before the Reformation when the richest imagery and fabulous stories of the saints were much admired. Following the Counter Reformation in the middle years of the 16th century, Catholic art was stripped of these colourful stories derived from the Golden Legend, which were regarded often as superstitious fabrications. There was still a big demand for Christmas images for altarpieces, but now earthed in every day life, emphasising Emmanuel – God with us. By way of contrast the Protestant north stripped churches of art. However there was a market from private patrons, especially in Holland, where artists like Rembrandt painted some of the most tender and moving interpretations the theme. By choosing images from the 1260s up to the mid 1600s we also see how Western European art developed in Italy and the Netherlands.  Netherlandish artist Campin early 1400s. 2020 January 21st 2020 Stella Grace Lyons Painting Winter: Snow Scenes in Art ‘I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show’ – Andrew Wyeth. Magical, festive, beautiful, harsh, cruel and bleak - how has winter been reflected in Western art? This talk will explore the variety of interpretations of the frosty season through the works of Bruegel, Avercamp, Caspar David Friedrich, Monet, and Andrew Wyeth.                                                  Monet and Breugel February 18th Paul Jagger Treasures of the Livery Company Halls The City of London is home to no fewer than 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, and several to the property developer, but 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 including many Royal portraits such as that of HM The Queen during her Golden Jubilee year, commissioned by the Drapers’ Company which with the Sandringham Branch of the Women’s Institute is one of only two organisations of which HM is a member. March 17th Dr Caroline Shenton Packing up the Nation: How heroic Curators & eccentric Custodians saved Britian’s national heritage during the summer of 1939 This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered on the other side of the Channel to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections to safety. Utilising country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, tube tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries, a dedicated team of unlikely heroes packed up their greatest treasures in a race against time during the sweltering summer of 1939, dispatching them throughout the country on a series of secret wartime adventures, retold in this talk. Click here for a BBC article on the hidden art treasures during WW2 April 21st Barbara Askew Windsor Castle: from Medieval Fortress to Royal Palace This lecture traces the development of Windsor Castle from an 11th century fortress into a magnificent palace and illustrates how it has been successively enlarged, adapted and rebuilt by monarchs from Henry II to Queen Elizabeth II. Windsor Castle from Morris's County Seats (1880). May 19th Chris Alexander Silk Road: A Textile Journey Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet  Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today. The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx. After the AGM June 16th Richard Thomas Bronzes of Ifa and Benin: And an Historical Review of the Art of Nigeria Africa is not generally associated with great art but Nigeria is associated with 3 major artistic traditions; the 2,000 year old Nok terracottas of the north, the Bronzes of Ife from the C12- C15 and the later Benin Bronzes. Richard lived in Nigeria in the 1960s, near Ife, and became familiar with the art of Ife and Benin and the role they played in society. The art, the technology (using the lost wax process) and the cultural relevance of the Bronzes will be illustrated and discussed in the lecture. Male head, brass, from Udo, Nigeria 16th century
Programme for 2018/19