Past Lectures & VisitsAfter the AGMJune 19thLINDA SMITH Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves: the Representation of the Working Classes in ArtThis 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 artGypsies in art23May2018VisittoHatfieldHouse.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 siteMay 15thDOMINIC 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 ChaucerHistory of the Kelmscott ChaucerApril 17thCOLIN DAVIES Architecture, Music and the Invention of Linear PerspectiveIn 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 BrunelleschiFilippo Brunelleschi’s Linear PerspectiveLinear Perspective in PaintingOn 27 March 2018 Study Day Morning plus lunch. Toby Faber Fabergé Eggs 2 lectures and a buffet lunch £28.00Before 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 detailMarch 20thJAMES RUSSELL Georgia O'Keeffe in New MexicoThis 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 MuseumHistory of Georgia O’KeeffeFebruary 20thSTEVE KERSHAW The Elgin MarblesIt 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 MarblesBritish Museum page on the Elgin MarblesJanuary 16th 2018SARAH COVE Constable – From Chocolate Box to Jackson PollockConstable'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 NovemberLYDIA BAUMAN The nude - a history of lust, vanity and scandalNudes (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 1885-9028 November (Christmas lecture)Seasonal refreshments from 9:45amJANET 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 ClausNicholas 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 ClausThe Art & Architecture of Barcelona, Abbey of Montserrat & Dalí’s Figueres5 days from £849 Departs 1st November 2017Click here for photos from the recent trip to BarcelonaFour night stay in a 4* hotel in the centre of Barcelona. Guided coach tour of Barcelona stopping at Gaudi’s Park Güell, visiting Gaudi’s home within Park Güell and then travel on to view the exterior of the church of La Sagrada Familia. Visiting Figueres, the home town of Salvador Dali. With have a guided tour of the Museo Teatro, founded in 1974 and now the most visited museum in Spain.Also visiting Casa Batlló (left) on the prestigious Passeig de Gràcia. Designed by Gaudi for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, this extraordinary building was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005.Next day a beautiful drive to Montserrat's Benedictine monastery affording dramatic views over Catalonia. Then in the afternoon a guided tour of the Fundació Joan Miró to explore the permanent collection of graphics, paintings and statues by the surrealist artist Joan Miro.On the final day we have a guided tour of the collection at Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) this morning introduces us to one of the most important art collections in the city, ranging from the 11th century Romanesque through the Gothic era to modern art with works by artists such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Gaudí, Dalí and Picasso.Click here for the web site for Case BatlloHotel web siteWeb site for Park GuellMuseo Teatro web siteJoan Miro web siteBuy tickets for concerts and football!17 OctoberANTHONY RAYWORTH Living With History (Interior Design)A richly illustrated talk, tracing the development of the residential interior from the 17th to the 21st centuries and examining ways in which historical spaces may be reinterpreted to accommodate contemporary living. An inspirational selection of interiors within farmhouses, cottages, country estates and townhouses, as well as those located within buildings from our industrial heritage and other non-traditional contexts, are presented as stylish and successful examples of this approach to interior design.Link to 50 interior design web sitesBringing a Victorian house into the 20th century9 SeptemberDAVID BOSTWICK Fashion and Friendship: The Embroideries & Decorative Schemes of Mary, Queen of Scots & Bess of HardwickFrom 1569 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! Right: A modern recreation of the 1592 dress that Bess of Shrewsbury (of Hardwick Hall) embroidered for her friend Queen Elizabeth I.Mary’s embroideryBackground to Bess of Hardwick20 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 gardenWeb 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