Previous LecturesWe will be archiving the lectures as we go through the year, so you can look back on lectures, perhaps look at some of the links associated with them.2024 Membership Year18 January 2024Chris AslanUnravelling the Silk RoadWool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures that were to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today as well as human misery and environmental catastrophe. The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx.2023 Membership year AGM at 10:30 please be seated by then16 November 2023Caroline BendixWhy can’t we read them? Conserving the National Trust’s librariesThe National Trust’s collection of some 600,000 books in 170 locations is cared for by property staff, volunteers and freelance conservators, working together to maintain the libraries in good working condition. Managing the environment, tracking down pests, creating conservation techniques that are discreet, and stabilising the collections for use are the main elements. Conservation evolves as the books’ use evolves, e.g. the catalogue is now available on-line and more researchers require access. The increased wish to use the books for visitor engagement projects provides further challenges. Given that most of the books have not been restored, the collection provides a physical history of the book trade and of the interaction between books and their owners/readers that is difficult to match elsewhere, so the conservation of books as objects is as important as preserving their texts.19 OctoberBertie PearceCharles Dickens - the Man and His Life Through His CharactersCharles John Huffam Dickens brought into the world a staggering array of wonderful characters with orphans, starving children, misers, murderers and abusive school teachers among them. People such as Mr Micawber, Fagin and Abel Magwitch remain in one’s literary psyche long after the books are put down. Largely self-educated, Dickens possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age with 15 major novels and countless short stories and articles. In his lecture Bertie Pearce looks at the life and places of Dickens through his characters. The talk is interspersed with readings of this works. A truly Dickensian experience. Study Day Tuesday 3rd October 2023 Cancelledat Egleton Bird Watching Centre LE15 8BTG F Watts: Painting the Soul of the Victorian AgeTwo lectures Mark Bills former Director of the Gainsborough Museum SudburyGeorge Frederic Watts RA OM (1817-1904) was one of the greatest artists of the Victorian age. From 1897 until 1938 Watts had a permanent room devoted to his work at the Tate Gallery and was the first living artists to be given a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. We will explore the life and work of this extraordinary artist from his first works at the Royal Academy in 1837 when Queen Victoria came to the throne, to his creation of a purpose built gallery in Compton at the heart of a Surrey village, a year before his death in 1903. One of the most complex artists of the Victorian period, Watts's work encompasses the ambition for grand history painting in the 1830s to his almost abstract painting of the early 1900s. Considered a genius by his contemporaries, he was quintessentially the Victorian Old Master. In his gown and scull cap he cut a distinguished and recognisable figure based upon Titian and painted great allegories which struck a chord with his age. Explore the extraordinary art of G F Watts and the great legacy he has left us.21 September 2023Julia MusgraveSex and the City. Hogarth and 18th Century LondonThis lecture examines Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode other ‘modern moral subjects’. It looks at how the artist used his work to wage war against London’s sex trade and child poverty as part of his personal crusade to establish modern urban life as an appropriate subject for high art. Insights into the darker side of life in 18th century London are blended with the story of how Hogarth worked his way up from an apprenticed engraver to successful painter and philanthropist.Tuesday 12th September 2023Milton Hall Peterborough 2.15-4.00pmThe largest private house in CambridgeshireArchitect James GibbsWe are exceptionally fortunate to have secured a unique opportunity visit to Milton Hall Peterborough, the largest private house in Cambridgeshire. The property is owned by Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland and is not open to the public. The Grade 1 Hall dates from 1594 and is the historical home of the Fitzwilliam family and has links with both Daphne du Maurier and Margaret Thatcher. Again, you will need to make your own way to Milton Hall, which is approximately 3 miles from the city centre and just off the A47. The tour will be from 2.15 – 4.00pm. Please note, there are no disabled facilities or tearooms at the property. The cost of this visit is £20 per person and is limited to 24 people. Bookings are also now open for this visit with directions etc to follow nearer the time.15 June 2023John BenjaminA History of Jewellery from Elizabeth 1 to Elizabeth TaylorFour hundred years of international jewellery design, examining the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. This presentation covers many of the key elements of manufacture, including the progress of diamond cutting, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, 19th century Archaeological and Renaissance Revivalism, the impact of diamond mining in South Africa, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, Post War Modernism and designs of the future. Three Brothers jewel, worn by Queen Elizabeth I. Crop from the c.1587 painting "Elizabeth I of England holding an olive branch" cc WikimediaBackground to Elizabeth Taylors jewels18 MayRoger ButlerCanal History and HeritageThis lecture provides a colourful introduction to the secret world of our 2000-mile inland waterway network and looks at all aspects of their exceptional artistic, architectural and engineering vernacular. Features range from sweeping aqueducts to tiny bollards; from colourful historic narrowboats to 'Roses and Castles' artwork; from grand World Heritage Sites to quirky listed buildings. A well-known architectural historian once described our canals as a 'poor man's art gallery'.20 April 2023Antony Penrose Lee Miller and PicassoThe relationship between Lee Miller and Picasso began during the enchanted summer holiday they shared in the Côte d’Azur in 1937 and lasted until Picasso’s death in 1973. Picasso painted 6 portraits of Lee Miller and she photographed him more than 1,000 times. She was a frequent visitor to his home in post war years accompanying Roland Penrose on his many research trips whilst he was writing his biography of the artist Picasso,’ His Life and Work’. The story is told mainly using Lee Miller’s own photographs and contains a brief biography of her and of Roland Penrose. Tuesday 21st March 2023at Egleton Bird Watching Centre LE15 8BTHome is where the Art is: The Renaissance Palace InteriorTwo lectures 10.30 - 11.40 12.00 – 1.10James LindowThis lecture demonstrates the distinct contribution the urban palaces of Renaissance Italy made towards the development of the visual arts. Significantly many of the paintings, sculptures and decorative objects from this period were originally intended for the domestic interior. While a number of the great palace facades survive largely intact, their interiors have been lost or remain at best greatly altered, since the fifteenth century. Examining diverse visual and written sources, together with surviving objects, the opulence of the Renaissance palace interior is vividly recreated using the speaker’s extensive research from his scholarly book, The Renaissance Palace in Florence: Magnificence and Splendour in Fifteenth-Century Italy. Lecture 1 10.30am – 11.40am The Development of the Renaissance Art MarketLecture 2 12.00pm – 1.10pm The Renaissance Palace and Private Patronage16 March 2023 Raymond WarburtonGender and 20th Century British Sculpture: Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth FrinkThis lecture explores gender in modern British sculpture through the lives and times of Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth Frink. Hepworth is often overshadowed by Henry Moore and other male artists, which does a disservice to her work, where she took abstract sculpture to new levels of expressiveness and lyricism. These days her sculptures have a timeless quality to them, where form – and sometimes colour – take centre stage. Born a generation later, Frink ranks alongside Hepworth as a great British sculptor of the 20th century. The subjects for her work were usually birds, horses and men. In fact, she saw men as both heroes and villains, and her sculptures of fallen (male) angels, Greek warriors and a Dying King reflect this point of view. In doing so she was heavily influenced by wartime experiences and memories. She remained steadfastly figurative at a time when most sculptors – including Anthony Caro - embraced abstraction. The lecture argues that Hepworth’s abstract forms are ‘divine’; while Frink looked for the ‘divine’ in human form. During the lecture, there will a discussion of the opportunities and challenges faced by women artists, such as Hepworth and Frink, in an artworld often dominated by men. 16 February 2023 Jennifer Browning The Rutland Roman Villa Mosaic A new Roman villa was discovered during lockdown in Rutland in 2020, prompting a series of archaeological investigations, carried out primarily by the University of Leicester and Historic England. This extraordinary site is famous for the figured mosaic depicting scenes from the Iliad, which has been widely publicised. Having only completed excavations in September 2022, analysis is still in its early stages. This talk will describe the discovery and place the mosaic in the wider complex, based on the evidence to date. The talk will also discuss the artwork of the mosaic and its significance, as we understand it so far. Stunning Trojan War Mosaic Uncovered in England. January 2023Sandy BurnettMisshapen Pearl: an Overview of Music of the BaroqueStarting in 1607 with Monteverdi’s astonishing opera Orfeo, and ending in 1759 with the death of that great “English” composer George Frideric Handel, the Baroque era produced music of great brilliance and emotional depth. In helping to navigate us through its choppy waters, Sandy draws on his experience as broadcaster, conductor and hands-on practical musician. His in-depth exploration of this fascinating period of Classical music draws on hand-picked images, autograph scores and recorded musical illustrations, with a special focus on the work of Johann Sebastian Bach.AGM starts at 10:30 please be seated for then17 November 2022 to be at The Raven in Corby, 63 Rockingham Road, NN17 1AGIan Swankie Thomas Heatherwick - A Modern Leonardo?The past decade has seen the meteoric rise of this extraordinarily versatile British designer with his acclaimed Olympic cauldron, the iconic new London bus and designs for a spectacular new HQ building for Google. Over the last twenty years the Heatherwick Studio has used an intriguing combination of curiosity and experimentation to produce a vast range of solutions to design challenges around the world. This talk looks at the problems presented, and the wonderfully creative ways in which Heatherwick and his team have responded.20 October 2022 to be at The Raven in Corby, 63 Rockingham Road, NN17 1AGNicole Mezey The End of Shadows: Light and the PainterSymbolic, illuminating, awe inspiring – light is a vital tool of the artist. The brooding moods of Rembrandt, the dappled pastures of Constable, the reflections of Impressionism, the symbolism of haloes and divine radiance - all would be impossible without the emotional and physical effects of light. From the gold of medieval altarpieces to photography, techniques and materials capture its rich and subtle possibilities. 15 September 2022 to be at The Raven in Corby, 63 Rockingham Road, NN17 1AGFrank Woodgate THE SECOND ELIZABETHAN AGE - BRITISH ART SINCE 1952A great richness and variety can be seen in the work of post-war British artists, including Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the younger generation, e.g. Gormley, Hirst and Emin, all of whom have been instrumental in placing British art at the forefront of the international avant-garde by the turn of the century.
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