Past Lectures & Visits Visit to Burton Constable Hall and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. Tuesday 23rd October 2018 Burton Constable Hall is a large Elizabethan country house with 18th and 19th century interiors, and a fine 18th century cabinet of curiosities. The Hall, a Grade I listed building, is set in a 300 acre park designed by Capability Brown. The Hall has been the home of the Constable family for over 400 years. During the eighteenth century William Constable elected to spend a fortune re-fashioning his house in the taste of the day.  A number of items were purchased from Thomas Chippendale for the Hall, and also for the Constable’s London House, which was later brought to Burton Constable Hall. 2018 is the three hundredth anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth, and Burton Constable is one of a small number of venues taking part in the Chippendale 300 Festival. The Ferens Art Gallery is a well-regarded provincial gallery which hosts both a permanent collection and visiting exhibitions. 16 October – James Wright CASTLES OF NOTTINGHAMSHIRE Based on a four year research project, which culminated in a popular book on the subject (Nottinghamshire County Council 2008), Castles of Nottinghamshire looks in detail at the lesser known earthworks and ruins of lost castles and fortified manor houses in the county. The subject is set in the context of wider castle studies and focuses on both documentary sources and fieldwork to tell the often surprising story of aristocratic life in in Medieval Nottinghamshire. List of Castles & Houses in Nottinghamshire 1st Lecture of our new membership year. 18 September – Denise Heywood SACRED ART OF BURMA The temples, iconography, sculptures, textiles, dance performances, literature, landscapes and people of Burma are infused with the spirit of Buddhism. This gentle philosophy, preaching peace and serenity, has inspired some of the greatest art and architecture in the world, nowhere more so than in Burma, now known as Myanmar. This lecture shows the artistic glories of temples throughout the country, their spires, statues, carvings, murals and rituals. It illustrates the religious symbolism of exquisite textiles and compelling dance ceremonies. Background of Myanmar Background to Burma Buddhism After the AGM June 19th LINDA SMITH Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves: the Representation of the Working Classes in Art This lecture looks at ordinary working people: skilled and unskilled workers in both urban and agricultural environments, craftsmen, artisans, shopkeepers, domestic servants, entertainers, prostitutes, beggars, paupers, slaves. Throughout the history of western art, they have always been there: for centuries as mute observers, background detail or comic relief. But as the world changes, art changes, and this talk will discuss the move of low-life subject matter from the despised and vulgar fringes of popular taste into the respectable mainstream; and out again into political radicalism and avant- garde edginess. This Da Vinci drawing might be "Scaramuccia, king of the gypsies” Grayson Perry talking to the Telegraph about working class art Gypsies in art 23 May 2018 Visit to Hatfield House. The Rainbow Portrait at Hatfield House. 'Perhaps the most colourful Tudor portrait, full of inventive iconography.' Elizabeth holds a rainbow with the inscription “Non sine sole iris”, “No rainbow without the sun”, reminding viewers only the Queen’s wisdom can ensure peace and prosperity. Hatfield House web site May 15th DOMINIC RILEY Beautiful British Books (bookbinding) In this lecture Dominic tells the story of fine bindings in Britain over the last hundred years. The journey begins with William Morris and the Kelmscott Chaucer, possibly the last great book of the printed age. He will then show some of the amazing bindings from Sangorski and Sutcliffe, the finest bookbinders in the twentieth century, as well as work from their contemporaries. Dominic will then discuss the new world of Design Binding which emerged after the second world war, as modern design entered this ancient craft, and finish with examples from some of the best artistic bookbinders working today. One of the more elusive copies of the Chaucer is in a jewelled binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe British Library web site on the Kelmscott Chaucer History of the Kelmscott Chaucer April 17th COLIN DAVIES Architecture, Music and the Invention of Linear Perspective In his dissertation on architecture, Leon Battista Alberti – the original ‘Renaissance man’ – wrote: ‘We shall therefore borrow all our rules for the fixing of proportions from the musicians’. It is not surprising that the question of proportion should be an important theme in Alberti’s book, but how did the musicians get involved? It turns out that there is a mathematical link between visible proportions and audible proportions, or harmony, and that Renaissance architects were well aware of this link. They saw it as proof that their architecture could participate in the harmony of the whole cosmos. One of them, Filippo Brunelleschi, took the idea further in his invention of ‘linear perspective’ and thereby, incidentally, revolutionised western painting.  Church of Santo Spirito in Florence (1434-82) by Brunelleschi Filippo Brunelleschi’s Linear Perspective Linear Perspective in Painting On 27 March 2018  Study Day Morning plus lunch. Toby Faber Fabergé Eggs  2 lectures and a buffet lunch £28.00 Before the Revolution: 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. After the Revolution: These eggs 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. After going missing in the Revolution, most of the eggs re- emerged in the store-rooms of the Kremlin, where they were immediately identified as a source of much-needed foreign exchange. Their subsequent history holds up a mirror to the twentieth century and encompasses Bolsheviks and entrepreneurs, tycoons and heiresses, con-men and queens. Eggs have been sold and smuggled, stolen and forged. Now, as they return to Russia, their history – like that of Russia itself - seems to have come full circle. Then there are the eight eggs which remain missing….  The lecture is illustrated with pictures of the eggs today and their owners, and with archival material showing some of the missing eggs. Great web site showing the eggs in detail March 20th JAMES RUSSELL Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico This colourful lecture explores the relationship between an extraordinary American painter and an equally remarkable place: the picturesque state of New Mexico. Having visited the mountain art colony of Taos for the first time in 1929, she moved permanently to New Mexico after World War II. Fascinated by the mountains and desert, adobe churches and sun-bleached bones, and above all by the brilliant light and vast skies of the state they call the Land of Enchantment, O’Keeffe painted constantly. She was a fearless explorer, setting off alone into the empty landscape in a battered old car, and a tremendous character. Drawing on my own twenty-year-long experience of New Mexico and an archive of personal photographs and reminiscences, this lecture brings to life one of America’s greatest artists, and one of its most beautiful places. Click here for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum History of Georgia O’Keeffe February 20th STEVE KERSHAW The Elgin Marbles It is now around 200 years since the purchase of the  so-called 'Elgin Marbles' from Lord Elgin, by the British Parliament. This lecture, beautifully illustrated with specifically taken slides and video, will explore the aesthetics, the back-story, and the heated debates surrounding these fascinating and controversial works of ancient Greek art: what do we mean by 'the Elgin Marbles'? How and why were they originally created? Why are they so highly regarded? What happened to them between their creation and Elgin's time? How did he acquire them? Why are they now in the British Museum? And why are there such passionately held views both for and against their repatriation to Greece?   Background to the Elgin Marbles British Museum page on the Elgin Marbles January 16th 2018 SARAH COVE Constable – From Chocolate Box to Jackson Pollock Constable's “six-footers” include some of his most famous and iconic paintings: The White Horse (1819) right, The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil drawings and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size oil sketch.  These “six-foot” sketches were unique and extraordinary creations in the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his family and closest friends during his lifetime. This lecture is based on Sarah's extensive research on Constable's oil painting practice carried out over 30 years of the Constable Research Project. Constable's dynamic late works and artistic temperament are brought to life in a new and exciting manner revealing a “Jackson Pollock of the 1830s. 7 November LYDIA BAUMAN   The nude - a history of lust, vanity and scandal Nudes (mostly female), have preoccupied artists (mostly male) for centuries. Far from being 'eye candy' however, they tell us a great deal of the social forces which shaped standards of beauty in the human form over the centuries. From Titian's Venus of Urbino to Manet's Olympia, we will consider the role of classical mythology in legitimising the unclothed female body as a subject, trace the changing canons of beauty and hear of the scandals which occasionally beset paintings of nudes at odds with the times. Right:  A Bather by Pierre-Auguste Renoir probably 1885-90 28 November (Christmas lecture) Seasonal refreshments from 9:45am JANET ROBSON Would the real Santa Claus please stand up? Who is Santa Claus? The familiar image of the jolly fellow with the white beard and red suit was to a large degree the creation of American illustrator Thomas Nast in the 1860s. This lecture follows the various transformations of St. Nicholas through 1,600 years of history. Originating in Byzantine Turkey in the fourth century, the cult of ‘Nicholas of Myra’ was actually the result of two completely different Nicholases getting muddled up. In 1087, when a bunch of Italian sailors snatched the saint’s relics and took them back to Puglia, ‘Nicholas of Myra’ became ‘Nicholas of Bari’. Medieval Europe made St. Nicholas into one of the greatest miracle-workers of all time. His stories were painted everywhere. Saving poor girls from prostitution and sailors from shipwreck, rescuing boys from kidnappers, clerks from murderous innkeepers, and babies from boiling bathwater... Above: 1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus Nicholas became the Mister Fix-It of western sainthood. Add a propensity for gift-giving, and a feastday during Advent, and what do you get...? Santa Claus. Norman Rockwell's 1921 cover for the magazine The Country Gentleman shows Santa with his modern red and white theme. Background on Santa Claus Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
The Arts Society Grantham
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