Open to Members only or Guests accompanied by MembersLectures start at 10.45am    Coffee is served from 9.45-10.30am      Venue

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Friday 28 February 2020 – Beethoven at 250- Classical Music’s Greatest Revolutionary

Lecturer: Sandy Burnett

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, born in December 1770, Sandy guides us through the life and work of this brilliant, cantankerous, visionary and astonishingly original composer, a man who tore up the rule book of classical music. Visual illustrations include a selection of contemporary portraits, while musical examples are drawn from his genre-busting piano sonatas, quartets and symphonies, and from the revolutionary opera Fidelio. We’re talking about much more than just a musician here – Beethoven was a true Romantic artist, or as he preferred to describe himself, a “poet in sound.”

Friday 27 March 2020 – A View from the Plinth: a critical look at public sculpture

Lecturer: Mary Yule

A light-hearted but critical review of public sculpture today. Since antiquity, sculpture has transformed public spaces, celebrating and commemorating people and events and, at best, reflecting the spirit of the age. Contemporary public sculpture is more diverse and often aims to meet political, social or corporate agendas, yet at best, it can provide an enlivening and sometimes controversial focus for our public spaces. The lecture discusses many successful examples of public sculpture today, like the Angel of the North, Richard Serra’s Fulcrum at Broadgate and the series of commissions for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, plus some that are less successful. It also looks to the future and to works not yet realised, like the White Horse at Ebbsfleet – and much more besides.

Friday 24 April 2020 – Master Drawings Close Up

Lecturer: Susan Owens

What is silverpoint drawing? How can you tell the difference between a quill and a reed pen? This lecture looks in detail at the materials and techniques used by some of the greatest masters, including Leonardo and Raphael. It also explores innovative contemporary drawings made by laser-cutting, pricking, rubbing and tearing.

Friday 22 May 2020 – The Bayeaux Tapestry: 950 years of propaganda, intrigue and spin

Lecturer: Timothy Wilcox

The Bayeux Tapestry is instantly recognisable and one of the most outstanding cultural objects to survive from the early Middle Ages. Long admired for its vivid narrative, today it is the unanswered questions that most intrigue modern audiences: was it made in England or France? Was it stitched by men or women? This sparkling lecture looks not only at its creation, but also at its more amazing afterlife.
Displayed by Napoleon to bolster French ambitions for a new cross-channel invasion; cherished by Victorian embroiderers as an icon of women’s heroic joint efforts; hunted down by Hitler, who was outwitted by bureaucratic obfuscation.
A fluent French speaker, Timothy Wilcox brings a lifetime’s interest in Anglo-French relations to bear on a famous object set to become even more celebrated as it enters its next, surprising chapter.

Friday 26 June 2020 – Furniture of the Common Man – Vernacular furniture

Lecturer: Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski

A look into the lives of ordinary people through their furniture. Most furniture in museums and books is representative of the wealthier social classes and so tells us little about the living conditions of the ‘humbler classes’. Vernacular, in the sense of ‘every day’ and ‘common’, furniture was seldom ‘crude’ or ‘primitive’ and often displayed as much sophistication in construction and design as more costly items. This lecture focuses on the period 1600-1800 but also looks at earlier and later items.

Friday 24 July 2020 – Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion – the history of magic through art and pictures

Lecturer: Bertie Pearce

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread. Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. Where there was power there was magic. Then there is the age-old skill of sleight of hand, which proves that ‘the hand is quicker than the eye’. Magicians were known as ‘Jongleurs’ lest they be sentenced to death for ‘witchraft and conjuration’ under the edicts of Henry VIII.
With the emergence of the Music Hall, Magic gained a new respectability and audiences flocked in their thousands to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. This gave birth to legendary tricks such as pulling a rabbit from a hat and sawing a lady in half. And if magicians guarded their secrets with their lives, how was the Magic Circle formed ? – Home to 10,000 secrets.
Even Today in our super technical age of ipods and broadband, the wonder and surprise of magic are as popular as ever, not forgetting the Harry Potter craze.
‘Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion’ is a whistle stop tour of the history of mystery from 3000 BC to the 21st century and be careful! – you might be amazed and bewitched.

Friday 25 September 2020 – Artists, Illness and Creativity

Lecturer: James Grant

It is well known that both physical and psychological illness can affect the creative process. Both can act as a stimulus but illness can also act as a major modifying influence on an artist’s perception of the world and on an artist’s creative output.This lecture seeks to explore this relationship in artists such as Durer, Goya, Monet and Kahlo in an endeavour to understand better how different illnesses impacted on their genius.

Friday 23 October 2020 – Raphael: Painter of Perfection

Lecturer: Paula Nuttall

Raphael was one of the greatest and most influential of all painters, a superstar even in his own lifetime, who remains a byword for classic perfection. This lecture surveys his life and work, from his origins in Urbino, his early years in Florence, his meteoric rise to fame at the papal court in Rome, to his sudden death at the height of his powers, aged only 37. We look at such masterpieces as the Vatican Stanze, the Sistine Madonna, the Transfiguration and the famous Vatican tapestries, charting his astonishing artistic evolution and explaining his importance in the history of art.

Friday 27 November 2020 – In the Kingdom of the Sweets

Lecturer: Nigel Bates

The Nutcracker has delighted audiences at Christmas for many decades yet it was deemed a failure at its first performances. We take a close look at how this well-loved ballet now takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with story-telling, design and dance all come together to make the most magical escape for young and old alike. Includes several performance video clips.

Friday 22 January 2021 – Pots and Frocks

Lecturer: Ian Swankie

Best known for his outlandish appearances dressed as his feminine alter ego, Claire, Grayson Perry is now a core part of the art establishment, a Turner Prize winner, Royal Academician, popular broadcaster and colourful character. He’s possibly one of the world’s best-known contemporary artists. His works of ceramics, textiles, tapestries and prints are highly sought after. Often controversial, he tackles difficult subjects in a poignant yet witty way and holds a mirror up to society. This talk will examine Grayson Perry’s work, his exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions, and the unique character inside the flamboyant frocks.

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