Past Lectures20 JuneCaroline HolmesMonet at GiverneyIn 1883 Monet moved into Le Pressoir, Giverny, below his house he created gardens whose colours vibrantly or contemplatively evolved under the Norman skies. Initially he painted the rural motifs of the poplars and grain stacks before devoting himself to the floral canvas of his own making until his death in 1926.Botanically and horticulturally skilled, Monet grew the latest in irises and water lilies watching them as the day reflected its course in their shapes, moments captured for eternity in over 500 paintings. The meticulous restoration of Giverny provides the canvas to explore the man, his paintings and his gardens. Web site for visitors to gardensBackground to the garden16 MayMagdalen EvansCreativity within UK PrisonsThis lecture will highlight the myriad projects going on around the country which attempt to harness people’s potential, often in a place where they are able to concentrate for the first time. A very high proportion of prisoners will have left school early or fallen out withthe education system at a young age, and although grim, prisons walls provide a back-drop where their physical lives at least are not chaotic. Fine Cell Work teaches inmates to sew, most of whom are men, as women only make up about 8% of the prison estate. Those on long sentences often prove both the best students and in due course the best stitchers and their work is sold to the smartest drawing rooms in the land through the charity’s events and pop-up shops. The Koestler Trust runs an annual exhibition at the South Bank and highlights the need for more feminine arts and crafts inside what invariably are very male environments. Fine Cell’s web site18 April Laura de BedenModern Italian Gardens, La Mortella, Sir William and Lady Walton’s Italian Garden Paradise (with music)La Mortella, “the place of myrtles”, was a rocky outcrop acquired in 1956 by the British composer William Walton and Susana, his Argentinean bride, after he had decided to settle on the Island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, in search of the necessary peace and quiet to compose his music. The task of taming the Mediterranean landscape was huge, and the Waltons invited Russell Page, a renowned landscape architect, to come to their rescue. The lecture will narrate the story of how the wild place was transformed into an amazing garden, a work of art now famous all over the world. There will be colourful anecdotes and music too. Lady Walton wrote that La Mortella is a garden of sounds – poetic, mysterious, serene and joyous. All the more true as thanks to her indefatigable efforts and unwavering loyalty, La Mortella is now the active centre of the William Walton Foundation, staging a season of concerts, and a Trust set up to help young musicians to blossom. A panorama of images accompanied by Walton’s music will conclude the lecture. La Mortella web siteSTUDY DAY 28th March 2017 at Great Ponton Hall JANE ANGELINI – The Kingdom in the Sun: Classical and Mediaeval SicilyFew islands have played such a significant role in history as Sicily, and none which is so small. Poised between Africa and Europe, midway in the Mediterranean, it has been both a gateway and a crossroads attracting a long line of invaders from Greeks, Romans and Arabs to the Normans, Spanish and Italians. The legacy of so many dominant civilisations has produced a cultural mix of great richness and variety, for the chequered history of Sicily has included periods of exceptional wealth and artistic achievement.21 March 2017Peter Le RossignolThe Stone of Heaven – Jade 1500BC - 1800This lecture explores the importance of jade throughout all periods of Chinese history from the early tombs to the magnificently carved decorative items of the 18th century. Nephrite jade was used in the manufacture of objects until the Mogul emperors annexed northern Burma into the Empire and discovered jadeite, the most prized stone of all.The Emperor Qianlong (1736 – 1795), due to his passion for jade, practically bankrupted the country, and was instrumental in building a three thousand mile long road from Burma to China, just for the purpose of transporting this stone. The symbolism of the carvings and the manner of manufacture are also discussed.Jade dragon, Western Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD)Background of the Jade gemstoneBackground on jade21 FebruaryShirley SmithThe Agony and the Ecstasy: The Sculpture & Poetry of MichelangeloMichelangelo is known today for his painting in the Sistine Chapel and his rebuilding of the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome but he always considered himself first and foremost a sculptor. Yet he was also a prolific writer of sonnets. This lecture will study his sculpture and his sonnets as a means of better understanding both the artist and his works from the optimism of the Pieta and David of his youth, through the frustration of Pope Julius II’s tomb to the agonizing Deposition of his later years. Click here for background on Michelangelo17 January 2017Ian SwankieRomans & Romantics: The Guildhall Art Gallery, London's Real Hidden GemThe City of London Corporation has been commissioning and acquiring art for nearly 350 years and now owns a vast and diverse collection. This talk explores the varied display of works in the Guildhall Art Gallery. We will look at paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as the sparkling Victorian collection. The gallery also owns many modern works including a large collection by Matthew Smith. Built on the site of London’s Roman amphitheatre, which is open to the public, the gallery was completely refurbished and re-hung in January 2015. Click here for Guildhall web site1 NovemberBrian StaterHere's One They Prepared Earlier: The First Efforts Of Britain's Greatest ArchitectsSir Christopher Wren, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Inigo Jones, Joseph Paxton.… all these outstanding architects began with modest buildings which give glimpses of their future accomplishments.This lecture traces the little-known and highly entertaining story of how Rogers and Foster struggled to complete a terrace of three beautiful houses in 1960s north London. We look also at a charming brick pavilion attributed to Jones and the bizarre use to which it was put in the 20th century. And we examine Wren’s first commission, a beautiful college chapel, and a tiny glasshouse by Joseph Paxton, who went on to build the mighty Crystal Palace.Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters, Ipswich, one of Norman Foster's earliest commissions after founding Foster Associates.18 OctoberVivienne LawesPowerhouse of the East: The British Tradition and Fine Art in SingaporeSingapore’s British heritage since its foundation in the early 19th century profoundly influenced its artistic traditions. It all began to change in the 1930s with the foundation of the Nanyang School and the fusion of Chinese ink painting with the Western modern movement. Cut to the present: Singapore is investing enormous effort and expense in developing the art infrastructure as the profile of its contemporary artists rises, with the aim of becoming the locus of the art market in the East. This lecture explores the unfolding history.Painting of NAFA's founding principal, Lim HakTaiClick here for further information on Nanyang20 SeptemberFABER & FABER: 90 Years of excellence in cover designToby Faber (Grandson of the founder) Since its foundation in 1925, Faber and Faber has built a reputation as one of London’s most important literary publishing houses. Part of that relates to the editorial team that Geoffrey Faber and his successors built around them - TS Eliot was famously an early recruit - but a large part is also due to the firm’s insistence on good design and illustration. This lecture traces the history of Faber and Faber through its illustrations, covers and designs Background history of Faber and FaberFaber and Faber’s own web siteFaber and Faber YouTube interviews with writers21 JuneTreasures of the Wallace CollectionStephen Duffy (Former Senior Curator of the Wallace collection)The Wallace Collection, a national museum containing an outstanding array of paintings, furniture, porcelain, arms and armour, and other works of art, was brought together by five generations of one family between about 1780 and 1880.All the Founders were remarkable – and sometimes rather strange - men in their own right, but the greatest collectors were the 4th Marquess of Hertford and his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace, who lived most of their lives in Paris. It is their French upbringing which largely explains the strong, but by no means overwhelming, French emphasis to much of the Collection.This lecture tells the fascinating story of the Wallace Collection’s formation, and also presents many of its finest treasures.17 MayAntoni Gaudi and his Architecture in BarcelonaAnthea StreeterAnyone who has been to Barcelona will know the extraordinary buildings of this great Catalonian architect, who spent his life working there at the turn of the 20th century. Undulating and raking forms, coloured ceramic tiles and intricate wrought ironwork all feature in Gaudi’s highly unusual designs, which he created for patrons who were prospering at the time of Barcelona’s industrial expansion.Gaudi's fantastical architecture can be broadly categorised under the term Art Nouveau (confusingly termed Modernisme). But Gaudi went further than his European contemporaries in developing a 'New Art': he used his deep love of nature not only as a decorative means but as a structural basis for a brand new form of architecture. His raking, tree-like columns are shown to great effect at his most famous work, the Temple of the Sagrada Familia. Overall, the appearance of the Sagrada Familia, even in its still unfinished state, is considered so exceptional that many say that it will be one of the world's most outstanding buildings when it is finished.This lecture would make an excellent introduction for those planning to visit Barcelona to see for themselves the realisation of Gaudi’s outstandingly imaginative designs in this vibrant Catalonian city. 19 AprilDavid Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark Fashion and Lifestyle Icons of the ‘60sMary Alexander David Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy was a lifestyle icon of the ‘60s. Using David Hockney’s commentaries, sketches and photographs of the work in progress, the lecture explores the characters and their stories. The sitters Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark, were leading fashion celebrities and close friends of the artist. The role of London will be explored as a magnet for attracting creative young art and design talent, especially designers from the north of England such as Hockney, Clark and Birtwell.In Hockney’s own words, “In the 1960s you felt a freshness that was exciting. You didn’t let the commercial side interfere with things in film, music, painting and fashion. It was an energy driven by the bohemian world”. Study DayClocks and WatchesStudy Day with Dr. Colin Lattimore OBETuesday 5th April 2016: Great Ponton Village HallDr. Lattimore is a liveryman and member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and was Master in 1999. He has also been President of the British Horological Institute. He has lectured extensively for Extra Mural Boards of various Universities on a wide range of subjects with his special interest being in the field of clocks and watches.For the afternoon session Dr. Lattimore requests that those attending bring a selection of their own watches, small clocks, and photographs of larger items.15 MarchThe corked conjurer: comedy, contempt and credulity in Georgian EnglandIan KeableWould you pay money to see a man climb inside a bottle? People in 1749 did when a newspaper advertisement claimed that a conjurer would do just that. A riot broke out at the theatre when the spectators discovered they had been duped; but the Bottle Conjurer Hoax inspired satirical prints through to the 19th century, long after the incident itself was forgotten. Graphic artists, such as James Gillray and Isaac Cruikshank, associated the Bottle Conjurer Hoax with Napoleon Bonaparte and the infamous trial of Queen Caroline for adultery by George IV in 1820. However William Hogarth’s own take on it proved so controversial that the intended print, from his seemingly innocuous painting, was not produced until 35 years after his death. British satirists continually attacked the legitimacy of the Napoleonic regime throughout the period of the wars against France. Here Cruikshank uses references to the Bottle Conjurer to reinforce the notion that Bonaparte's rule is fraudulent and to remind his readers of France's supposed duplicity in breaking the terms of the Peace of Amiens. 16 FebruaryL. 'Capability' BrownDr Twigs WayLancelot Brown (Baptised 30 August 1716 – 6 February 1783), more commonly known as Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as "the last of the great English eighteenth-century artists to be accorded his due", and "England's greatest gardener". He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. His influence was so great that the contributions to the English garden made by his predecessors Charles Bridgeman and William Kent are often overlooked; even Kent's apologist Horace Walpole allowed that Kent had been followed by "a very able master".19 January 2016The Green ManDavid Bostwick In Art & Myth the human face, carved as a mask disgorging leaves from its mouth – and known today as the Green Man – is found widespread across Europe as an ornament in mediaeval churches and secular buildings. It is a motif derived from the art of the pre-Christian past, and is thought to represent a pagan nature god absorbed into Christian imagery. Since Tudor times, actors dressed in leaves, and known variously as Jack-in-the-Green, Summer Lord or Robin Hood, have appeared in May Day celebrations, and are thought to indicate a survival of belief in the old nature spirits and fertility gods. This lecture reveals the fascinating truth.Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
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Web site and mobile pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome Handshake Computer Training