Past Lectures & Visits 2021 After the AGM 15th June 2021 10:50 for 11:00 on line Steven Desmond The Historic Gardens of the Italian Lakes There are many illustrious gardens on the shores of Lakes Como and Maggiore in the mountainous far north of Italy. Those included in this lecture include a 16th-century parterre and water staircase; a baroque garden in the middle of a lake; two gardens made by rival Napoleonic grandees; and a garden created by two Edwardian romantics as a theatre for sharing their love of art and nature. These achievements and others are set in a climate ideal for garden-making among some of the world’s noblest scenery, where Wordsworth, Liszt and Bellini found inspiration. It could work for you. 18th May 2021 10:50 for 11 on line Jonathan Foyle Lincoln Cathedral – Building Mary’s Paradise During the thirteenth century, Lincoln Cathedral was amongst the greatest building projects in England and despite a series of disasters, from an earthquake to war and robbery, we have inherited a magnificent and relatively unscathed masterpiece of art and architecture. Through its sheer size and complexity, the cathedral’s beauty can be difficult to understand. But through writing the book Lincoln Cathedral: Biography of a Great Building the speaker offers a fresh and coherent analysis of the cathedral’s evolution. This talk shows how this wonderfully inventive structure embodied changing ideas about the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Paradise, to whom it was dedicated. 20th April 2021 10:50 for 11 on line David Phillips The Magic of Pattern From the Alhambra to William Morris, patterns can be gorgeous, yet pattern has often been dismissed as “mere ornament” in comparison with painting. We will discover what a mistaken view that is as we look at the ideas that inspired some of the great pattern inventors and traditions from around the world. We’ll see that whilst some glorious effects depend on very simple patterning procedures, others can be wonderfully clever, as we watch patterns evolving across the screen in beautiful animations. 6th March 2021 10:30 on line Felicity Herring A Journey to Egypt & the Holy Land with David Roberts In 1838 David Roberts, the son of an Edinburgh cobbler, travelled up the Nile as far as Abu Simbel then back to Cairo. He was the first western artist to record the great statues of Rameses II, the Temple of Amun and the statues of Amenhotep III. He then travelled from Cairo across the Sinai desert to the Holy Land. His paintings of Petra were the first that Europeans had seen of this wonder of the ancient world. He went on to Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tyre and Baalbec. David Roberts’s paintings of his epic journey influenced travellers for a generation. 16th February 2021 10:30 on line Andrew Prince Royal Jewels and The American Heiress: Antique Treasures for the New World In this talk Andrew shows that with the turbulent political times between 1870 and 1929 culminating with final collapse of the European and Russian Monarchies, countless astonishing art and jewel collections were dispersed looted or sold. Fortunately this coincided with the growing wealth and power of America’s millionaires, who were themselves intent on creating palaces of their own, filling them with the greatest paintings and furniture and weighing down their wives and providing their daughters with a dowery of the finest of royal jewels. Andrew explains how many of these fabulously wealthy heiresses married into the British Aristocracy, bringing many of the treasures with them, and how with the decline of the British Empire and Aristocratic power these legendary jewels have again been parted with and now can be seen in the world's great museums, for all to enjoy. 19th January 2021 Snake Davis A Life in Music: West to East & Back 10:30 on line Saxophonist Chris ‘Snake’ Davis is a UK solo artist and session musician who has graced records and tours by hundreds of artists from Take That to Paul McCartney and Lisa Stansfield. His lecture will include live demonstrations of a large selection of saxophones flutes and ethnic woodwinds, with illustrations and an outline of their origins and history. He will talk about the business and the art of music, life on the road, and how his love of music has opened doors to Japanese culture. He plays quietly, no need to fear for your ears! Snake will talk a little about the business end of music and how being on stage is the icing on the cake, and thrilling - but getting to that stage is a serious and potentially deadly business. He tells how playing music has helped him stay healthy and sane over four decades. How music crosses over from the spiritual to the secular worlds. And how his life has been enriched as his love of music has opened doors to Japanese culture and musical history. He is quite comfortable playing to up to 60,000 people in stadiums with the likes of The Eurythmics and Eikichi Yazawa but never happier than when in front of a small audience in a small theatre, Arts Centre or Village Hall. He says ‘I got into music, like most folks, because it gave me a wonderful special feeling that I wanted more of. Now after all these years of making music, sharing it, studying it, I have gained a huge breadth of knowledge and experience that I very much enjoy sharing. This is more easily done at an Arts Society lecture than at an evening theatre show.' Click here for information about Snake Davis’s live performances on every Saturday and Sunday evening at 7pm. 2020 CHRISTMAS LECTURE 24th November 2020 Leslie Primo Journey of the Magi: Origins, Myth & Reality – The True Story of the Three Kings There have been pictorial representations of The Magi from as early as at least the 6th century, such as depictions in Byzantine ivories with origins in places such as Constantinople. Indeed, a vast array of artists, such as Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516), Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Pieter Bruegel the Elder (active 1550/1; died 1569), Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Masaccio (1401-1428/9?), and Peter Paul Rubens (1577- 1640) to name but a few, have been clearly fascinated by story and its possibilities when it comes to visual depictions. However, these depictions over this vast period of time have been anything but consistent. All the aforementioned artists will be mentioned in this lecture, as I seek to will unravel the myth and the iconography behind the proliferation of the story of the adoration of the magi from its Eastern and pagan roots to its current Christian interpretation. To aid my examination of this story, and to trace the changes in iconography and depictions of the kings themselves, I will be illustrating it with a variety beautiful works of art, images made across many centuries that will illuminate this fascination as never before. The lecture will begin by looking at the etymology behind the term ‘magi’ and how it has come down to us and what is now means in contemporary society. This lecture will then look at the changing iconography behind the depictions of the story and the various meanings behind these changes in its iconography, not to mention the changes in the story of the adoration of the magi itself. Moving on the lecture will then look at the origin of the names of the magi and the significance of their gifts to the Christ Child. Following this exploration of the fundamental roots of the story I will then come to the issue of the inclusion of the black king, where he came from, why he would be included, how significant was he and how European artists tackled the problem of depicting this magus when they themselves had little or no knowledge of such people of colour. Finally, I will examining the actual origins of the story and how much of a bearing does that story, as we understand it, have on the actual story written in the Bible. To examine this final question, I will contrast the relevant passages the biblical with images from many sources to help clarify the difference between those and the example images. This final part of my lecture will set out to ask what it is we want this story to mean and why do we hold on to the legendary story rather than biblical tale in our mostly Western secular society. Reading list Ainsworth, Maryan, W. Ed, Man, Myth and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance, (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010) Campbell, Lorne, The Sixteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings with French Paintings Before 1600, (National Gallery Company Limited, 2014) Devisse, Jean, The Image of the Black in Western Art – Vol.2 (William Morrow and Company, 1979) Kaplan, Paul, H. D., The Rise of the Black Magus in Western Art, (Bowker Publishing Co, 1983, 1985) Schiller, Gertrud – translated by Janet Seligman, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol.1 (Lund Humphries, 1971) Seznec, Jean, The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art, (Princeton University Press, Mythos series, New Jersey, 1995) October 2020 Hanne Sutcliffe The Magnificent Terracotta Army – The Emperor’s Soldiers for the Afterlife The awesome discovery of over 7,000 life-size terracotta soldiers, guarding the tomb of the first emperor of China is the most momentous archaeological find this century. First discovered in 1974, the excavations have revealed row upon row of soldiers, horses, even officers and a general – an army so large that it needed 700,000 labourers to construct it. Each soldier has different head features and most are over 6 feet tall. The Qin Emperor was a despotic but remarkably intelligent man. He ordered the Great Wall to be built, built a road network covering all of China, canals and over a hundred palaces. The Qin emperor wanted his empire to last for a thousand years and it did. The lecture includes the layout of the famous four pits, the weapons of the time and how the Emperor won his fantastic Empire. 20th October 2020 Sian Walters Raphael: A Master in the Making (2020 is the 500th anniversary of his death) Raphael is often referred to as one of the three giants of the High Renaissance in Italy, alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, yet his fame and position in the canon of art history may seem hard to explain. He made no discoveries like those of his celebrated rivals: although undoubtedly a draughtsman of exceptional talent he made no great progress in the fields of anatomy, science and construction nor did he share the wide- ranging talents which Leonardo and Michelangelo demonstrated in so many disciplines. Furthermore, his career was short-lived as he died tragically young, aged 37. Yet in this relatively short space of time Raphael managed to move from humble initial commissions in and around his home town of Urbino to the coveted position of one of the leading artists at the court of the most important patron in Italy, Pope Julius II, for whom he created some of the most sublime and influential frescoes of the early 16th century. We explore how Raphael achieved this extraordinary rise in status, tracing the development of early works and influences to the masterpieces created in Rome. 15th September 2020 Lars Tharp HARLOTS, RAKES & CRASHING CHINA A ‘cracking’ talk. It will fundamentally change your view of William Hogarth. Pots, crocks and chinaware tumble through Hogarth’s domestic dramas. His detailed paintings and prints are wittily infiltrated with recognizable ceramics - earthenwares, stonewares and ‘china’- in an age drunk on Luxury. Potters across continents compete with each other, fuelled by the ‘china mania’ gripping the emerging middle classes. And Hogarth catches them. And in an ironic twist: Hogarth’s own images are themselves translated onto clay. Study Day 12th March 2020 at Easton Walled Gardens NG33 5AP Chinese Imperial Court Costume - Qing Dynasty 1644-1911 A journey through the imperial wardrobe 9.30 for 10 start and finish 3.00. David Rosier Venue: Easton Walled Garden - includes lunch This lecture focuses on the costume and dress accessories that would have been worn for formal occasions (Regulated Court Costume), or informally, at the Imperial Court or in Provincial Government during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Initial consideration will be given to formal, mandated, Court Costume and Insignia of Rank worn by the Imperial Family plus the Civil and Military Officials. 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. 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. Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
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