PAST LECTURES & VISITSThis is a list of our past lectures, you will find them interesting and may find the links useful. March 12thThe Imperial Easter Eggs of Carl Fabergé – before the RevolutionToby FaberBetween 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.February 12thFrank Matcham’s Masterpieces: theatre design and architecture Simon ReesFrank 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 SocietyJanuary 8th 2019Peru: The Incas and their Predecessors seen through their Art and TextilesChloe SayerAncient 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 subjectNov 13th (AGM at 10.30am)The Huguenot Silk Weavers of Spitalfields: from Riches to RagsSue JacksonWelcomed at first with open arms and bringing luxury skills, the Huguenots’ fortunes fluctuated wildly. I talk about their early 18th-century houses that still stand, how they were decorated and lived in; I discuss the fashionable patterned silk dresses – who designed and made them. And how, finally the trade died out, with some weavers literally dying in poverty at their looms. One of the weavers’ houses can still be visited today. Huguenots in SpiltefieldsThe Huguenot’s Society web siteBackground to Huguenot historyCHRISTMAS LUNCH in 2018Venue: Greetham Valley Golf CourseTuesday, 27th November 2018Dickens the Conjuror: Playbills of Victorian ShowmenIan KeableA fun magical lecture!Charles Dickens was an amateur conjurer for around seven years of his life, from the time he wrote A Christmas Carol to David Copperfield. His best known show was on the Isle of Wight in 1849 when he produced a highly amusing, and informative, playbill to promote his appearance. This playbill, in which Dickens called himself the 'Unparalleled Necromancer', provides the focus to talk about how Dickens was inspired to take up magic, which other conjurers influenced him, whether he was any good as a conjurer and how he depicted, and wrote about, magic in his own books, articles and letters. The talk includes some Dickensian tricks performed by Ian.Click here for more about Dickens magicThursday, 25th October 2018The Taj Mahal: its architecture, origins, construction, interiors and surroundingsOliver EverettThe Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The lecture traces the origins of its design, its site in Agra, how it was built, the craftsmen, the interiors and its surrounding buildings and gardens.UNESCO web page on Taj MahalBackground to the Taj MahalClick here for a booking form and final details.Oct 9th Dr. David BostwickFashion and Friendship; The Embroideries and Decorative Schemes of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick.From1569 to 1584 Mary was held in the custody of George, Earl of Shrewsbury. His wife, Bess of Hardwick, shared a love of embroidery with the captive queen. Over the years they devised some of the most important Elizabethan embroideries to survive: wall-hangings, table-carpets and cushion-covers. This lecture reveals the hidden messages in their designs and in the decorative schemes at Elizabethan Chatsworth House and Hardwick Hall, and tells the amazing story of Bess and her fabulous French furniture! Click here information on Hardwick Hall and it’s historyThursday, 20th September 2018Derby Museum and Art GalleryDerby Museum and Art Gallery was established in 1879, along with Derby Central Library, in a new building designed by Richard Knill Freeman and given to Derby by Michael Thomas Bass.Derby Museum and Art Gallery is located at the heart of Derby City in the cultural Cathedral Quarter. The museum houses a dedicated gallery of internationally significant paintings by world famous artist Joseph Wright of Derby, alongside a new display of portraits from the museum's large art collection, and a lively programme of temporary exhibitions. The museum is also home to an outstanding collection of Derby Porcelain, displays of local archaeology, natural history, and military history.Derby Museum & Art Gallery web siteBackground to the museum and collectionsDetails and booking forms for future visits will appear here.Sept 11thA Thousand Flowers: The Art of the Classical French PaperweightSimon CottleFor a brief period in the history of glass paperweight-making truly blossomed. Influenced by developments in Venice in the 1840s, the French glass manufacturers of Baccarat, Clichy and St.Louis added a wide range of highly decorative and extremely ornate paperweights to their repertoire. The fashion lasted for seven years giving it the title of the ‘classic period’. During that time, millefiori canes of all colours and sizes were used in a variety of patterns within clear glass domes. The glassmaker also produced floral paperweights following original botanical forms, each one hand-made. Together with fine paperweight examples, the methods of manufacture will be clearly demonstrated, set against the turbulent nature of society in mid 19th century France.Glass paperweights web siteJune 12thHandel, Hogarth and Captain Coram’s Foundling Hospital from the 18th Century to the present dayJanet Canetty-ClarkeWhat brought these three eminent men together? It was their shared concern for the poor of London, and especially for the children. Captain Coram took 17 years to raise the money to build the hospital to which the destitute mothers would bring their babies for care. Hogarth gave many of his valuable paintings to the hospital, and so founded the first art gallery in London. Handel composed The Foundling Hospital Anthem to perform at fund-raising events, and bequeathed valuable manuscripts from Messiah to the hospital at this death. The lecturer will then describe her success at tracing the 19th and 20th centuries’ developments, and the role of the former hospital, now a school, in Hertfordshire today.The Coram Foundling Hospital web siteBBC web site page about the hospitalFriday, 18th May 2018Lamport Hall and GardensLamport Hall in Lamport, Northamptonshire is a fine example of a Grade I Listed House. It was developed from a Tudor Manor but is now notable for its classical frontage. The Hall contains an outstanding collection of books paintings and furniture. And is the home of the very first Gnome…….Lamport Hall web siteLamport Hall GnomeMay 8thElisabeth FrinkFrank Woodgate This lecture examines the work of one of the outstanding figures of 20th century sculpture, an artist who achieved an international reputation for her monumental works depicting the human figure, birds and other animals. Sadly she died in her early 60s but, from the first small sculpture acquired by the Tate Gallery (when she was a student of 21) until her death, she produced an astonishing body of work. Her bronzes varied in scale and feeling, from small, threatening birds to the life-size, tranquil Walking Madonna in Salisbury Cathedral Close. Frink’s work will be examined in the context of great British and European predecessors such as Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin and Alberto Giacometti, as well as her contemporaries, including Reg Butler, Jean Fautrier and Germaine Richier.“Elizabeth Frink Estate web siteElizabeth Frink background and history.Wednesday, 18th April 2018Conservation and Restoration of PaintingsSarah CoveThese lectures discuss the nature of oil painting materials, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and common problems associated with the ageing and deterioration of, and damage to, easel paintings. These can be on canvas, panel, board or paper in a range of mediums: oil, acrylic, egg tempera, or mixed media. Problems can involve natural deterioration and neglect, accidental damage, vandalism and even war – the most surprising event being a large hole caused by a Turkish cannon ball going through a picture in the 18th century!! Modern ‘museum standard’ approaches to conservation and restoration will be illustrated with detailed slides ranging from early Italian religious paintings in egg tempera via rapid oil sketches on paper by John Constable to 20th century British paintings and modern abstract works. Hints and advice on the general care of paintings in homes is given in liberal doses throughout! Background on conservation and restoration techniques.National Gallery web page on conservationApril 10thGilded GloriesJoanna MabbuttThe art of beating gold leaf and gilding dates back to ancient Egypt. Gold leaf is nearly 500 times thinner than aluminium foil and traditionally craftsmen pounded gold for hours to create sheets thin enough to cover the most finely detailed surfaces. For over 22 centuries from Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus to Rachel Whiteread’s gilded frieze for the Whitechapel Gallery, skilled artisans have exploited paper-thin metal leaf to enrich materials such as wood, metal, marble, leather, paper, glass, porcelain and textiles – even food and drink. Artists and craftsmen have illuminated manuscripts and icons, decorated noble houses from top to bottom, adorned domes inside and out, embellished erotic canvases and gilded chocolate and schnapps. Gold leaf continues to be used as the ultimate faux decoration and dazzling ornamentation. Types of gildingMarch 13thThe Cook Sisters and how lives were saved through OperaAnne SebbaA WW2 story of bravery via music. Ida and Louise Cook were destined never to marry after decimation of the men of their generation in World War One. When Ida became a successful Mills and Boon novelist they used their earnings to indulge their love of opera, travelling all over the world but especially to Salzburg. Familiarity with Austria enabled these two eccentric opera loving sisters to undertake dangerous undercover missions in the 1930s rescuing Jewish musicians and others from the Nazis. This talk will explore the world of Opera in the 1920s and 30s - the clothes, music, celebrities, and the signed photographs coveted by fans. It will also show how Opera transformed the lives not just of these two sisters but of at least 29 families they saved. In 2010 the Government posthumously created the Cook sisters British Heroes of the Holocaust. BBC page on the Cook Sisters and their history.Feb 13thThe Art of Seduction Lynne GibsonSeduction had been one of the enduring themes of art since Eve offered Adam an apple. Courtly love blossomed in manuscripts and miniatures of the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance offered painters an Olympian cast of amorous gods and goddesses. Puritanical Dutch and Prudish Victorians tutted over the loose morals of fallen women. Rococo artists revelled in the flirtatious fun of Fetes Galantes and Belle Epoque ‘Gay Paree’ flaunted the Femme Fatale. But in our permissive society had ‘Battle of Sexes’ killed the spirit of romance? I do hope not! Join me to celebrate the theme of love and courtship, through painting from the Age of Chivalry to the Modern Age, The Art of Seduction.Jan 9th 2018Venice, Canaletto and his Rivals Anthony RussellFollowing the National Gallery of London's exhibition of the same title, this lecture gives a heady mixture of 'superstar' painter, immensely rich patrons on the move and a city whose modern face hides behind a romantic mask. Though some were little better than modern hooligans, many a grand tourist was highly sophisticated and had a lasting impact on Venice and how it is perceived today. These are magical paintings by an Italian artist greatly influenced by British taste and Britain boasts the greatest collection of his works, both in public and private hands. While these views depict a serene dreamland and have always been highly prized, Venice is now in serious trouble and needs a truly global cooperation to save it from sinking forever. National Gallery web page on CanalettoIndependent article on the damage to Venice and it’s canals.
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