PAST LECTURES & VISITS June 11th Wild Men of the North: Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven Ross King In 1924 an exhibition in London of Canadian landscapes moved the critic C. Lewis Hind to celebrate them as ‘the most vital group of paintings produced since the war - indeed, this century’. These landscapes of Canada’s northern lakes and rugged backwoods, painted in a boldly Post- Impressionist style, had been produced over the previous decade by a collective of Toronto-based painters known as the ‘Group of Seven’, whose aim was to forge a national school of landscape painting. This illustrated lecture introduces the painters - including their talismanic colleague Tom Thomson, who died in 1917 - and examines how they stormed the conservative bastions of Canadian art to establish themselves on the international stage as practitioners of a distinctive avant-garde. Visit May 21st 2024 Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester Cathedral The King Richard III Visitor Centre explores the unbelievable historical detective story. It unfolds over two floors from the story of King Richard III and his rise and sudden dramatic fall from power to the research, archaeological dig and scientific analysis to confirm the remains as those of the King. Don’t miss the King’s original grave site on the ground floor protected under a glass floor. May 14th (change to Programme) Morals in Hogarth’s London Lars Tharp (of Antiques Roadshow fame) How moral, or how moralistic was Hogarth, either in person or in his art? He calls his major narratives his Modern Moral Subjects. Is he a typical gent of louche times or a detached observer? How does his satire compare with that of caricaturists such as Rowlandson, Gillray and Cruickshank? Or his portraits with those of Reynolds and other contemporaries? What do we learn of the man from his paintings and prints? Where is Hogarth’s heart? ' April 9th The Overshadowed Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe Have you had this experience? You go to a gallery, an exhibition and are stopped dead by an unknown picture: you look at the label and find you have never heard of the artist. How does it come about that there can be such wonderful painters of whom we have never heard? This lecture will consider some of the many reasons for a good artist’s obscurity, from the brevity of his life to the misfortune of his being born and working in the shadow of a larger reputation, such as Leonardo or Rembrandt. But above all it is an excuse to spend an hour gorging on beautiful paintings, finding hidden treasures. March 12th The Sign of the Fish: Catacombs and the Classical Roots of Christian Iconography Hilary Guise This is the dramatic story of the survival of the new Christian faith in Imperial Rome, against a backdrop of persecution and illiteracy, when hundreds of kilometres of tunnels were dug outside the city for the burial of saints and martyrs. The early Christians become real to us as we explore the rough wall-paintings made hastily by the light of oil lamps. The earliest symbols being those that alluded to Christ himself, the sign of the Fish, the Ikthus, and the Good Shepherd who appears over 120 times. Stories of divine deliverance from mortal peril (Daniel, Noah, and Jonah) dominate the themes, as one would expect at a time of severe persecution all over the Roman world. The Cross is mysteriously absent, only appearing in mocking graffiti around 200AD and only emerging as the symbol of the faith long after it ceased to be a common method of execution in 313AD February 13th The Hidden World of Canal Architecture Roger Butler This lecture examines the unique buildings and structures associated with the UK’s canal network, with a vast array of distinctive designs, landmark features and unusual artefacts: only the National Trust and the Church of England have more listed structures than our canals. Look out for lock flights and lighthouses; cottages and clock towers; warehouses and lots of whimsical architecture - our canals delight the eye and refresh the spirit. January 9th 2024 Starting at the new time of 11am The Scoliotic Knight: Reconstructing the Real Richard III Tobias Capwell The discovery of the grave of King Richard III in Leicester raised an army of new and fascinating questions. The severe scoliosis exhibited by the skeleton revealed that the twisted physique of Shakespeare’s ‘Black Legend’ was based in fact. But how could a diminutive person, suffering from a significant spinal condition, have become a skilled practitioner of the knightly fighting arts? How could he have worn armour and fought in three major battles? What would his armour have looked like? How might it have disguised the King’s condition, presenting him as a powerful warrior? In the case of a king whose royal legitimacy was questioned by many people, how were the visual trappings of knightly kingship used to solidify his claim? Here we encounter armour as an expressive art-form, designed to radiate messages, justifications, proof of the wearer’s right to rule as a king- a wielder of divine power on Earth. In 2015 Toby had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of King Richard III, from the battlefield at Bosworth to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral. Toby is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London and an internationally- acknowledged authority on Medieval and Renaissance weapons. He is the author of numerous books on the subject of arms and armour, including Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection (2011; Apollo Magazine Book of the Year 2012); The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630, ex. cat. (2012); Armour of the English Knight 1400-1450 (2015; Military History Monthly Illustrated Book of the Year 2017); and most recently Arms and Armour of the Medieval Joust (2018). Toby also appears regularly on television, most recently on A Stitch in Time (2018; BBC4); as presenter and armour advisor on Richard III: The New Evidence (2014; C4), and as the writer and presenter of Metalworks: The Knight's Tale (2012; BBC4). Photo: Digital-Designs, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 December 2023 12th Tom Duncan Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: Why those Gifts?’ Gift giving to high status individuals had a very long tradition in ancient Mediterranean culture. This lecture will look at gold, frankincense and myrrh within not only those cultures, but as reflection of contemporary religious beliefs, not least in early Christianity and its emerging imagery.’ In his lecture Tom recommended a book ’The Nativity, History and Legend’ by Geza Vermes December 2023 7th Christmas Lunch (separate booking and payment) Ghislaine Howard The Cuisine of Art and the Art of Cuisine 'This lecture will be a feast for the eyes and tickle the taste buds, an inspiration for your cooking- and looking. It will feature the art, anecdotes and recipes of artists who loved their food. We will discuss Toulouse Lautrec, famous in his day for his truly fabulous meals and infamous cookbook, Renoir who introduced Paris to the pleasures of Provençal peasant cooking as well as Monet, Cézanne, Picasso and many others. We have prepared a special recipe booklet that can be posted on the internet- or bring a pen! ‘ Click here for the recipe booklet. November 2023 14th Mark Cottle A Photographic Odyssey: Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition captured on camera On Ernest Shackleton’s third Antarctic expedition in 1914, his ship, the Endurance, was trapped and eventually crushed in the pack ice. After camping for five months on the ice, Shackleton’s men rowed to the remote Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton sailed for help to South Georgia over 800 miles away. Over three months later he returned to rescue the crew of the Endurance. Frank Hurley, one of the great photographers of the 20th century, was the expedition’s official photographer. His photographs are a visual narrative of an epic journey which capture with great artistry new and amazing landscapes within which a remarkable human drama is played out. The aim of the lecture is to capture Hurley’s achievements as a photographer of the Antarctic in the first flush of human contact when it was still essentially terra incognita. October 2023 10th Rupert Dickens Through a Glass Darkly - Vermeer and the Camera Obscura The tranquil and meditative paintings of Johannes Vermeer are among the best-loved artworks in the world. Relatively little is known about the master from Delft but that has not deterred a torrent of publications about him, both fictional and scholarly. One of the most hotly debated topics in Vermeer literature is his supposed use of the camera obscura. We will tackle this controversy head on by investigating the history of optical devices in art and examining the latest theories on Vermeer’s technique. It will be a great opportunity to look at Vermeer’s beguiling body of work afresh through a different lens. Visit Doddington Hall & Gardens Tuesday 19 September 2023 Begun in 1595 by Robert Smythson, one of England’s foremost Elizabethan Architects, Doddington Hall was completed in 1660 and has never been sold or cleared out! An example of a fine late Elizabethan Mansion, it is still a lived-in and much loved family home, alive with history and interest. Extensive gardens and several shops mean there is plenty to see. The cost of the trip is £39.50 which includes the coach, coffee on arrival, an extensive guided tour and the driver’s tip. September 2023 12th Andrew Prince From Downton to Gatsby: Jewellery and Fashion from 1890 to 1929 For the series and film Downton Abbey, Andrew was commissioned to make many jewels for the main characters and this inspired him to create a talk based on this unique period. Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case. In his talk, Andrew guides you through the extraordinary decades and events between 1890 and 1929, where the great couturiers collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce jewels and clothes of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this, he illustrates the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and shows how they were worn with their sumptuous gowns. June 2023 13th Denise Heywood Cambodia: The Sacred Art of Angkor and the Living Arts. The Hindu temple complex of Angkor in Cambodia is the greatest archaeological site in Asia. Within an area of 400 square kilometres there are dozens of temples, many covered in jungle, but the most important of them all is Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world and measures a square mile. This mystical temple is a recreation on earth of the Hindu cosmos, brilliantly constructed to align with the sun and moon and covered with exquisite carvings. This illustrated lecture will focus on the artistic heritage and religious symbolism of Angkor. It will reveal the historical background and show the evolution of the Khmer empire and its flowering of sculptural art which was dedicated to religious building. Other temples will be highlighted, such as the Bayon, swathed in mystery, and Banteay Srei, with scenes of the Hindu epics delicately carved in pink sandstone. It concludes with contemporary Cambodia and the role of Angkor today and the revival of the living arts, especially the classical Khmer ballet performed at the temples in celebration of the gods. Gorgeous dancers in shimmering silk costumes re-enact scenes from the Ramayana as the sun sets. As the last rays touch the sandstone, it turns gold and red, before darkness finally falls and the magnificent structure once more becomes part of the jungle. May 2023 9th Imogen Corrigan Albrecht Dürer This is a man who took centre-stage in the world of art at a time when most artistic attention was focussed on Italy or the Netherlands. Albrecht Dürer came from Nuremberg and lived most of his 57 years there, although he travelled a great deal, constantly searching for new information and striving to improve his already prodigious skill. His early training was that of a goldsmith, following in the family tradition, but ‘my liking attracted me to painting rather than goldsmith’s work.’ That said, it stood him in good stead as we can see from the attention to minute detail and the ability to work in several media. Not only were his portraits and altarpieces exquisitely and acutely observed, but he revolutionised the world of wood-cuts and engravings. We know much about his character because he was the first German artist to write about his own life. He was also the first in Germany to draw nudes from life and he was the first to write on the theory of art as well as to create it. Only his contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci, bears comparison with him in these achievements. April 2023 11th David Wright A Brief Story 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 societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role 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. March 2023 14th Michelle Brown The Luttrell Psalter: England on the Verge of the Black Death’ This is one of the most unusual and insightful of English medieval artworks. Made for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell of the manor of Irnham (Lincs.) in the 1330s, on the eve of the Black Death, its pages are inhabited by a menagerie of outrageous grotesques and by images that give us a valuable and unparalleled glimpse into life in manorial England and into the mind of a leading baronial patron and the artists and confessors who served him and who tried to steer his soul towards eternity. Meet the Luttrells and their world by exploring their great artistic epitaph. February 2023 14th Mary Alexander Dazzling Dufy: An invitation to a luminous feast with Raoul Dufy Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was a key player in early twentieth century avant garde art, design and literary/theatrical circles in Paris. As a widely travelled polymath, Dufy's charismatic personality, wit and curiosity about the world was infectious. His imagination and technical virtuosity - across a range of media including painting and lithography, posters, book illustration, theatrical set design, textiles and fashion, ceramics and large murals - cut across all conventional boundaries. Whether a small intricate woodcut illustrating a love poem, or the truly gigantic 1937 world fair murals depicting the role of electricity in the modern age, the effect is mesmerising. Dufy defies categorisation, constantly innovating and experimenting with new materials and effects. His analysis of the visual world is sophisticated and joyous in equal measure. Perhaps this goes some way to explain why some later critics fail to grasp its complexity and pigeonhole him a 'decorative artist', or misunderstand the irony in his witty yet gentle caricatures of elegant social life. January 2023 10th 10:45 Live & on Zoom Timothy Walker The Healing Power of Plants - Why plant derived treatments are not an alternative, instead they are the real thing. Mankind has exploited the medicinal properties of plants for thousands of years, yet the role of plants in modern medicine is still considered to be peripheral by many people. This talk attempts to put the record straight and to show that plant products are used every day by all of us to relieve pain and suffering, to heal wounds and cure diseases. This is a talk with a very wide appeal and relevance. December 13th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom at our previous venue Oscar Wilde: Up Close Giles Ramsay "I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works." I examine the public and private life of one of the world's most original and controversial artists. Born into a moderately respectable Dublin family Oscar Wilde recreated himself as an international celebrity and wrote a series of short stories and plays that charmed the world. In 1890 he also published the last of the great myths - The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ten years later Wilde, devoured by his fame, his demons and his decadence, would be dead. History of Oscar Wilde November 8th 2022 (AGM at 10.30am) 10:45 Live & on Zoom Packing up the Nation: Saving London’s Museums and Galleries in the Second World War Caroline Shenton 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. Mohammed to Marx: the changing face of art and textiles of Central Asia Chris Aslan Alexander Tuesday, 18th October 2022 Registration 9.15 am. Lectures: 10.00-12.30 pm Venue: THE ARTS CENTRE STAMFORD PE9 2DL Nearest car park - Wharf Road PE9 2EB Cost which includes coffee: Arts Society Members £20 Non-Members £25 Our lecturer is Chris Aslan Alexander who has pursued a varied and unconventional life. Having lived in Khiva, a desert oasis of Uzbekistan and the Pamirs mountains of Tajikistan. He has been involved in reviving 15 century carpet designs, setting up wood carving workshops and training locals in cashmere production. He now shares his time between leading tours, writing and lecturing using his in-depth practical knowledge of Central Asia. October 11th The Making of Landscape Photographs Charlie Waite. A fully illustrated talk with in excess of 60 images exploring the relationship between the making of an image and the way in which it is perceived by the viewer. Further discussion around the eye and the brain being an extraordinary double act made up of visual references and intellectual interpretation. September 13th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom She Loves You: The Music of the 60’s (1960 to ’64) Steve King By 1960 interest in rock ‘n’ roll had started to fade, its biggest star was moving on and a new generation of teenagers were seeking something different. It came in the form of the Beatles, who broke all the rules and all the records. This is the story of the first five years of the 1960s, one of the most creative and innovative periods in the history of music, featuring all the major artists, important songs and principle musical genres. NME Best 100 songs of the 60s Frogmore House and the Savill Garden. Wednesday, 17th August 2022 Cost - £65.00 per person excluding coffee and lunch. We are very fortunate to have been able to arrange a visit to Frogmore House and The Savill Garden. Standing about half a mile south of Windsor Castle, in Windsor Home Park, Frogmore House has been a Royal Residence since 1792. A guided tour of Frogmore House will then be followed by free time to explore The Savill Garden where refreshments are available. June 14th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom The Horse and Modern Art from George Stubbs (1714-1806) to Mark Wallinger (born 1959) The horse is so rooted within the psyche of the Western imagination that it has maintained its expressive power, as the current production of War Horse so eloquently testifies. The lecture traces major themes from Stubbs, the greatest horse painter of all time, to Degas, Duchamp-Villon’s Large Horse, a modern metaphor of horsepower, Munnings’s horses as defining images of Englishness, Picasso’s agonised horse in its death throes in Guernica (1937) which expresses the horrendous destruction of the city in the Spanish Civil War. The lecture concludes with the very diverse ways in which our leading contemporary artists have made use of the expressive power of the equestrian image. Mark Wallinger's gigantic 50 metre high horse will soon loom over the Kent countryside at Ebbsfleet. May 10th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Lincoln Cathedral: Mary’s Paradise Garden Jonathan Foyle 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. April 12th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Elgin Marbles Alan Read In the two centuries since they were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, the meaning and significance of the ‘Elgin marbles’ has changed dramatically. From architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects this lecture looks at the response to them over their time in Britain, from the original controversy over their purchase to the current debate surrounding the restitution of the marbles to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. Tuesday March 15th 2022 Study Day Marc Chagall - his Life and Art Monica Bohm-Duchen Registration 9.15 am. Lectures: 10.00-12.30 pm Venue: THE ARTS CENTRE STAMFORD PE9 2DL Nearest car park - Wharf Road PE9 2EB Cost which includes coffee: Members £20, any Arts Society member £20, Non-Members £25 One of the best-loved artists of the twentieth century, Chagall is paradoxically one of the least understood. Although his colourful images of flying cows and floating lovers may seem naïve, and he promoted a view of himself as an intuitive genius, he was in fact a complex and sophisticated individual. In tracing his long and fascinating career, Monica Bohm-Duchen, will place the artist firmly in his social, religious and cultural context, and examine his prodigious output in a wide range of different media. March 8th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom The Glasgow Boys, the Glasgow Girls, the Scottish Colourists and the French Connection Harry Fletcher In the 1880s and 1890s Europe and America saw the rise of artistic colonies, such as the Newlyn School, practising a form of painting known as “naturalism”. Another such colony, the Glasgow boys, seized the mantle of Bastien-Lepage and their paintings became the toast of Europe. The Glasgow Girls were their contemporaries. Painters such as Bessie MacNicol and designers, such as Margaret and Frances Macdonald, influenced the development of the Glasgow Style and achieved international recognition, contributing to the development of the modern movement. The Scottish Colourists had direct contact with French Post-Impressionism, particularly Matisse and the Fauves. As a result their paintings are considered some of the most progressive in British art of the early 20th century. During my talk, I will discuss the lives, the times and the work of these artists. February 8th 2022 10:45 Live & on Zoom Holbein’s Ambassadors Anthony Russell Hans Holbein was the first great mainland painter to spend much time in England and he brought with him a sophistication and skill, with far reaching consequences for this island's artistic development. His Ambassadors is recognised by the National Gallery of London as one of its greatest treasures. It dates from a tradition in the arts when no object was without meaning and symbolism. However, practically all of this meaning has been lost to the modern observer. This lecture considers the tempestuous circumstances of its creation and the hidden messages concealed within it. The painting tells us much about the state of Europe at the time and the hopes and fears of its major players.
Web site & mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training
This page cannot be viewed on a mobile phone. Please use a computer screen or view it on a tablet on landscape view.
Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training