PROGRAMME 2019 January 8th 2019 Peru: The Incas and their Predecessors seen through their Art and Textiles Chloe Sayer Ancient Peruvian burial grounds have yielded up dazzling goldwork, fine ceramic vessels, and some of the richest textiles in the world. Sumptuously woven garments, preserved for 2,000 years by the Paracas desert, display a profusion of embroidered designs. For the Incas, who ruled the Andes of South America after AD 1200, the textile arts took precedence over other media. Chosen women devoted their lives to weaving for the Sun and the Inca State. Today, nearly 500 years after the Spanish conquest, textiles remain central to Andean life. Contemporary Peruvian textiles are displayed during this lecture, if travel arrangements allow. More information on the subject February 12th Frank Matcham’s Masterpieces: theatre design and architecture  Simon Rees Frank Matcham (1854-1920) was the architect of many of Britain’s best-known theatres, including the Hackney Empire, Buxton Opera House, Belfast Grand Opera House, Bristol Hippodrome, The Gaiety Theatre in Douglas, Isle of Man, and the London Coliseum. Simon Rees has worked in many of these theatres, and gives an insider’s view of Matcham’s architectural legacy. The lecture is illustrated by present-day and period photographs, postcards from the turn of the century, and Matcham’s own fascinatingly detailed architectural drawings. Click here for the Frank Matcham Society March 12th The Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Fabergé – before the Revolution Toby Faber 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. The result was a series of creations demonstrating ingenuity and creativity for which there are few parallels in any other field. Their styles range from traditional Russian to Art Nouveau, and their materials from carved hardstone to exquisite enamelled gold. Their maker’s relentless search for novelty also means that they provide a fabulously quirky illustrated history of the decline of the Romanovs. Toby Faber wrote Fabergé’s Eggs: One Man’s Masterpieces and the End of an Empire, described by P.D. James as a ‘fascinating story which combines unique decorative art, contemporary culture, history and the murder of the Romanovs with the excitement of a crime novel’. Eight eggs are still unaccounted for, click here to read more about the missing ones. More history of the eggs. April 9th Burlington House and the Royal Academy Stephen Richardson Burlington House on London’s Piccadilly has been the home of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1868. Although the Academy was already 100 years old when it took up residence, it is not commonly known that the building has a long and fascinating history of its own. This talk focuses on the origins of Burlington House, from construction in the 1660’s for a courtier to King Charles II; re-fashioning as a Palladian mansion for Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington; its association with architects and artists such as William Kent and Sebastiano Ricci; further re- development by the Cavendish family during the Regency period, and its ultimate role as the home of the United Kingdom's leading 'society for promoting the Arts of Design'. The talk also examines the reasons behind the founding of the Royal Academy, its own early history and its Olympian era during the time of eminent Victorian artists such as Leighton, Millais and Frith. This subject has proved very popular and has a particular resonance as the Academy approaches its 250th anniversary, and undertakes a major development program of its Piccadilly home Burlington House’s web site May 14th The World of Graham Sutherland and John Piper Valerie Woodgate From official War Artists to creators of inspirational religious art. This lecture examines the way artists, with direct experience of the war, attempted to depict the conflict in the face of strict official censorship, and how each side responded to the aftermath of war. Click here for information on John Piper Click here for history on Graham Sutherland June 11th The Guggenheims: A Dynasty of Art Collectors Andrew Hopkins What other family in the twentieth century managed to amass such extraordinary art collections, and design or purchase such astounding buildings to display their collections? Compared to the Frick and Gulbenkian, individual collections displayed in single museums, the Guggenheim name was transformed in the late twentieth century into a brand, some would say a chain. With celebrated museums in New York, with the flagship Solomon R. Guggenheim landmark on Fifth Avenue, together with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, the family foundation did not stop there. They commissioned the celebrated building by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, which opened in 1997, and which is now considered a masterpiece of modern architecture and design. Other expansion plans have not fared so well, with outposts in Las Vegas and Berlin closing after some years, and new building projects in Vilnius and Helsinki have been abandoned after opposition by residents, who were not persuaded they needed a Guggenheim in their city. This lecture looks at the beginning of both Solomon’s and Peggy’s collections in New York City, with artists they acquired such as Kandinsky and Pollock, and traces the development and expansion of their collections over more than half a century, by which time the Guggenheim name had become synonymous with some of the most inspiring art and museums in the world. Rebay with the Guggenheims and the artist Kandinsky Background history to the family There are no meetings in July and August Sept 10th The Art and Culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna Gavin Plumley   At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and others figures in the context of the society in which they worked, this talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900. Oct 8th Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Rosamund Bartlett This lecture tells the remarkable story of the fabled Ballets Russes company which Diaghilev established in Paris in 1909. Building on the achievements of Tchaikovsky and Petipa, Diaghilev and his associates brought about nothing less than a revolution in classical dance, which was dazzling to the eye and would have a lasting impact not only on all the arts. The lecture will discuss how artists of the calibre of Bakst, Goncharova, Picasso and Matisse, worked with composers such as Stravinsky, Debussy and  Ravel, choreographers such as Fokine and Balanchine, and dancers such as Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinsky to create ballet stagings of genius. Background of the Ballets Russes Nov 12th (AGM at 10.30am) The Cult of the Pacific: from Cook to Gauguin Leslie Primo This lecture will look at the enduring Western obsession with, and invention of the so called ‘exotic’ or ‘noble savage’ starting with the first discovery of the Island of Tahiti in1767 and charting the impact, through painted images of the island and their people, of the English and European influence in this part of the world through the eyes of not only Captain Cook and those who came before him, but also through the eyes of the artists that accompanied these pioneering voyages and into the 19th and early 20th century with the images of Gauguin. And to this end the lecture will Look at how romanticised depictions of the island and its peoples by artists such as: William Hodges (1744-1797), Benjamin West (1738-1820), John Webber (1751- 1793), and John Cleveley (c.1712-1777), and indeed those of Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903), not only bolstered these notions in the minds of Europeans, but helped to perpetuate and invent the Western notion of the exotic and the myth of paradise. This background of England’s exploration abroad also sees the involvement of Royal academicians such as its first director Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 – 1792), Johann Zoffany (1733 – 1810) and the botanist Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820). This lecture eventually comes into the modern period and looks at what happen to these notions of the exotic in the 19th century explored through the Impressionist and PostImpressionist work of this period’s most notable visitor to the island of Tahiti also looking for the exotic and paradise - Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903). His experiences, vibrant evocations of paradise through his paintings, and his discoveries and eventual death in the South Pacific bring this exploration of the exotic to its conclusion. Short reading list: Holmes, Richard, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, (Harper Press, 2008) House, John, Impressionism for England: Samuel Courtauld as Patron and Collector, (Yale University Press, 1994) Kaeppler, Adrianne L., Head Curator, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific, (Thames and Hudson, 2010) Rendle-Short, Francesca, (Ed), Cook & Omai: The Cult of the South Seas, (National Library of Australia, 2001) Thomson, Belinda, (Ed) Garb, Tamar, (Consultant Ed), Gauguin: Maker of Myth (Tate Enterprises, 2010) Background on the myth of the noble savage and how it developed. Why the Art world is divided on Gauguin’s Legacy Dec 10th Santa Claus: the Art that turns him from St. Nicholas into Father Christmas Christopher Bradley Nicholas was the Greek Bishop of Myra, a 4th century port in Anatolia. Following his death, his legendary generosity established him as the principle gift-giving saint. Also the patron saint of seafarers, his body was stolen by Italian sailors to protect their own ports. Over the centuries the image of St Nicholas changed constantly until the Dutch re-invented him as Sinterklaas. Taking him to their new colonies in America, he transformed into kindly Santa Claus. Later re-imported into Britain without his Catholic baggage, he gradually emerged as Father Christmas - the jovial giver of presents. Illustration from the 1850 book St. Nikolaas en zijn knecht ("Saint Nicholas and his servant"), by Jan Schenkman, 1850 Click here to learn more about Sinterklaas Click here to return to the top of the page
Web site & mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training
PROGRAMME 2019 January 8th Peru: The Incas and their Predecessors seen through their Art and Textiles Chloe Sayer Ancient Peruvian burial grounds have yielded up dazzling goldwork, fine ceramic vessels, and some of the richest textiles in the world. Sumptuously woven garments, preserved for 2,000 years by the Paracas desert, display a profusion of embroidered designs. For the Incas, who ruled the Andes of South America after AD 1200, the textile arts took precedence over other media. Chosen women devoted their lives to weaving for the Sun and the Inca State. Today, nearly 500 years after the Spanish conquest, textiles remain central to Andean life. Contemporary Peruvian textiles are displayed during this lecture, if travel arrangements allow. More information on the subject February 12th Frank Matcham’s Masterpieces: theatre design and architecture  Simon Rees Frank Matcham (1854-1920) was the architect of many of Britain’s best-known theatres, including the Hackney Empire, Buxton Opera House, Belfast Grand Opera House, Bristol Hippodrome, The Gaiety Theatre in Douglas, Isle of Man, and the London Coliseum. Simon Rees has worked in many of these theatres, and gives an insider’s view of Matcham’s architectural legacy. The lecture is illustrated by present-day and period photographs, postcards from the turn of the century, and Matcham’s own fascinatingly detailed architectural drawings. Click here for the Frank Matcham Society March 12th The Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Fabergé – before the Revolution Toby Faber 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. The result was a series of creations demonstrating ingenuity and creativity for which there are few parallels in any other field. Their styles range from traditional Russian to Art Nouveau, and their materials from carved hardstone to exquisite enamelled gold. Their maker’s relentless search for novelty also means that they provide a fabulously quirky illustrated history of the decline of the Romanovs. Toby Faber wrote Fabergé’s Eggs: One Man’s Masterpieces and the End of an Empire, described by P.D. James as a ‘fascinating story which combines unique decorative art, contemporary culture, history and the murder of the Romanovs with the excitement of a crime novel’. Eight eggs are still unaccounted for, click here to read more about the missing ones. More history of the eggs. April 9th Burlington House and the Royal Academy Stephen Richardson Burlington House on London’s Piccadilly has been the home of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1868. Although the Academy was already 100 years old when it took up residence, it is not commonly known that the building has a long and fascinating history of its own. This talk focuses on the origins of Burlington House, from construction in the 1660’s for a courtier to King Charles II; re-fashioning as a Palladian mansion for Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington; its association with architects and artists such as William Kent and Sebastiano Ricci; further re-development by the Cavendish family during the Regency period, and its ultimate role as the home of the United Kingdom's leading 'society for promoting the Arts of Design'. The talk also examines the reasons behind the founding of the Royal Academy, its own early history and its Olympian era during the time of eminent Victorian artists such as Leighton, Millais and Frith. This subject has proved very popular and has a particular resonance as the Academy approaches its 250th anniversary, and undertakes a major development program of its Piccadilly home Burlington House’s web site May 14th The World of Graham Sutherland and John Piper Valerie Woodgate From official War Artists to creators of inspirational religious art. This lecture examines the way artists, with direct experience of the war, attempted to depict the conflict in the face of strict official censorship, and how each side responded to the aftermath of war. Click here for information on John Piper Click here for history on Graham Sutherland June 11th The Guggenheims: A Dynasty of Art Collectors Andrew Hopkins What other family in the twentieth century managed to amass such extraordinary art collections, and design or purchase such astounding buildings to display their collections? Compared to the Frick and Gulbenkian, individual collections displayed in single museums, the Guggenheim name was transformed in the late twentieth century into a brand, some would say a chain. With celebrated museums in New York, with the flagship Solomon R. Guggenheim landmark on Fifth Avenue, together with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, the family foundation did not stop there. They commissioned the celebrated building by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, which opened in 1997, and which is now considered a masterpiece of modern architecture and design. Other expansion plans have not fared so well, with outposts in Las Vegas and Berlin closing after some years, and new building projects in Vilnius and Helsinki have been abandoned after opposition by residents, who were not persuaded they needed a Guggenheim in their city. This lecture looks at the beginning of both Solomon’s and Peggy’s collections in New York City, with artists they acquired such as Kandinsky and Pollock, and traces the development and expansion of their collections over more than half a century, by which time the Guggenheim name had become synonymous with some of the most inspiring art and museums in the world. Rebay with the Guggenheims and the artist Kandinsky Background history to the family There are no meetings in July and August Sept 10th The Art and Culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna Gavin Plumley   At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and others figures in the context of the society in which they worked, this talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900. Oct 8th Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Rosamund Bartlett This lecture tells the remarkable story of the fabled Ballets Russes company which Diaghilev established in Paris in 1909. Building on the achievements of Tchaikovsky and Petipa, Diaghilev and his associates brought about nothing less than a revolution in classical dance, which was dazzling to the eye and would have a lasting impact not only on all the arts. The lecture will discuss how artists of the calibre of Bakst, Goncharova, Picasso and Matisse, worked with composers such as Stravinsky, Debussy and  Ravel, choreographers such as Fokine and Balanchine, and dancers such as Pavlova, Karsavina and Nijinsky to create ballet stagings of genius. Background of the Ballets Russes Nov 12th (AGM at 10.30am) The Cult of the Pacific: from Cook to Gauguin Leslie Primo This lecture will look at the enduring Western obsession with, and invention of the so called ‘exotic’ or ‘noble savage’ starting with the first discovery of the Island of Tahiti in1767 and charting the impact, through painted images of the island and their people, of the English and European influence in this part of the world through the eyes of not only Captain Cook and those who came before him, but also through the eyes of the artists that accompanied these pioneering voyages and into the 19th and early 20th century with the images of Gauguin. And to this end the lecture will Look at how romanticised depictions of the island and its peoples by artists such as: William Hodges (1744-1797), Benjamin West (1738-1820), John Webber (1751- 1793), and John Cleveley (c.1712-1777), and indeed those of Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903), not only bolstered these notions in the minds of Europeans, but helped to perpetuate and invent the Western notion of the exotic and the myth of paradise. This background of England’s exploration abroad also sees the involvement of Royal academicians such as its first director Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 – 1792), Johann Zoffany (1733 – 1810) and the botanist Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820). This lecture eventually comes into the modern period and looks at what happen to these notions of the exotic in the 19th century explored through the Impressionist and PostImpressionist work of this period’s most notable visitor to the island of Tahiti also looking for the exotic and paradise - Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903). His experiences, vibrant evocations of paradise through his paintings, and his discoveries and eventual death in the South Pacific bring this exploration of the exotic to its conclusion. Short reading list: Holmes, Richard, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, (Harper Press, 2008) House, John, Impressionism for England: Samuel Courtauld as Patron and Collector, (Yale University Press, 1994) Kaeppler, Adrianne L., Head Curator, James Cook and the Exploration of the Pacific, (Thames and Hudson, 2010) Rendle-Short, Francesca, (Ed), Cook & Omai: The Cult of the South Seas, (National Library of Australia, 2001) Thomson, Belinda, (Ed) Garb, Tamar, (Consultant Ed), Gauguin: Maker of Myth (Tate Enterprises, 2010) Background on the myth of the noble savage and how it developed. Why the Art world is divided on Gauguin’s Legacy Dec 10th Santa Claus: the Art that turns him from St. Nicholas into Father Christmas Christopher Bradley Nicholas was the Greek Bishop of Myra, a 4th century port in Anatolia. Following his death, his legendary generosity established him as the principle gift-giving saint. Also the patron saint of seafarers, his body was stolen by Italian sailors to protect their own ports. Over the centuries the image of St Nicholas changed constantly until the Dutch re- invented him as Sinterklaas. Taking him to their new colonies in America, he transformed into kindly Santa Claus. Later re-imported into Britain without his Catholic baggage, he gradually emerged as Father Christmas - the jovial giver of presents. Illustration from the 1850 book St. Nikolaas en zijn knecht ("Saint Nicholas and his servant"), by Jan Schenkman, 1850 Click here to learn more about Sinterklaas Click here to return to the top of the page
Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training