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Lectures

Please Note: The lectures for 23 September 2022 and 24 February 2023 have been changed round.
Lectures start at 10.45am   

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Friday 23 September 2022 – The Cuisine in Art and Art in Cuisine

Lecturer: Ghislaine Howard

This lecture will be a feast for the eyes and tickle the taste buds, an inspiration for your cooking- and looking. It will feature the art, anecdotes and recipes of artists who loved their food. We will discuss Toulouse Lautrec, famous in his day for his truly fabulous meals and infamous cookbook, Renoir who introduced Paris to the pleasures of Provencal peasant cooking as well as Monet, Cézanne, Picasso and many others. We have prepared a special recipe booklet that can be posted on the internet- or bring a pen!

Friday 28 October 2022 – Selfies, self expression, celebrity and the Victorian Carte de Visite

Lecturer: Mark Hill

From the late 1850s to the mid-1870s a new craze gripped the world. Photography had just begun to be popularised, and suddenly nearly everyone could afford a portrait of themselves to share with others. These small photographic portraits mounted on card were shot professionally in studios and handed out like business or greetings cards – just like we share ‘selfies’ on today’s social media. Across nearly two decades, over 400 million cards were estimated to have been printed and shared with friends, family, and fans. We think we invented the ‘selfie’, but we didn’t – welcome to the Victorian carte de visite.

In this highly visual and relevant lecture, we’ll look at the rise and fall of the fashion, learn how these cards were used, and find ways of dating cards from clothing and hairstyles. We’ll examine in detail the hidden meanings behind the poses, facial expressions, backgrounds, and choice of clothes to reveal the fascinating histories behind these cards that were used by everyone from royalty to the man in the street.

Friday 25 November 2022 – Bruegel, the Seasons and the World

Lecturer: Gavin Plumley

In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was commissioned to create a series of paintings for a dining room in Antwerp. The images, charting the course of a year, changed the way we view the world through art. Landscape had previously been a decorative backdrop to dramas both sacred and profane. But in Bruegel’s hands the landscape and our interaction with it became the focus. Looking at paintings such as The Return of the Herd, Hunters in the Snow and The Gloomy Day, this lecture explores how Bruegel pioneered a whole new way of thinking about the environment and our individual places within a shifting cosmos.

Friday 27 January 2023 – The Amadeus Myth: Piecing together the Real Mozart

Lecturer: Sandy Burnett

“A miracle which God let be born in Salzburg” is Leopold Mozart’s assessment of his enormously gifted son Wolfgang Amadeus who conquered Europe as a child prodigy and took classical music to new heights in the Vienna of the 1780s. Yet Mozart died tragically young at just 35, impoverished and underappreciated, while writing a Requiem that had been commissioned from on condition of absolute secrecy. In this illustrated talk, featuring recorded musical examples and contemporary portraits, Sandy strips away some of the myths to piece together the real Mozart and celebrate his extraordinary legacy.

Friday 24 February 2023 – Vienna- the Melting Pot of European Culture

Lecturer: Peter Medhurst

Despite the enormous political challenges that Vienna faced between 1780 and 1830 – including major wars against Napoleon, – the city thrived, culturally. In fact, it could be argued that Vienna never had a finer moment in terms of its artistic achievements. It was a period of outstanding writers, poets, architects and painters, but above all, it was a period of great composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert who made Vienna the musical capital of the world. The lecture explores the history and the arts of Vienna in the late Classical and early Romantic eras.

Friday 24 March 2023 – Happy and Glorious – the evolution of the coronation ceremony

Lecturer: Barbara Askew

“Happy and Glorious” – Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and her Coronation.
This lecture looks at the evolution of the coronation ceremony from Saxon times. It examines the stages of the coronation, from the Proclamation through to the Homage and explains the significance of the different items of the Coronation Regalia. Finally it explains the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen, the first to be genuinely witnessed by the people through the medium of television.

Friday 28 April 2023 – The Antiques Roadshow – Behind the Scenes and Great Discoveries

Lecturer: Marc Allum

A first hand insight behind the nation’s most popular antiques programme by Marc Allum – specialist on the show for over 20 years.

Friday 26 May 2023 – Percussion: Use and Abuse

Lecturer: Nigel Bates

From calling ancient armies to battle to signalling the audience to stand for the National Anthem, drums and percussion have been a part of history well over and above their musical contributions. Often the icing on the cake and alas sometimes the bottom of the dustbin, we explore how the design, sound and awareness of percussion instruments and the demands of modern composers have developed almost out of all recognition in the last hundred years. In addition to performance video clips, this lecture contains rare footage from the orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House.

Friday 23 June 2023 – Every Picture tells a Story

Lecturer: Grant Ford

Grant will discuss some of the great pictures he has handled during his extensive career in the art world, from incredible masterpieces by the Pre-Raphaelites to Lord Leighton and Modern British works. Why did certain works fall out of fashion at a certain point in time, only to spring back and set new world records many decades later? He will explain changes in the market place and his experiences with sellers and buyers. This talk will be focused on the international art market, but will specifically look at some of the great British artists and their work within the global art market arena.

Friday 28 July 2023 – Splendours and Secrets of the Royal Collection

Lecturer: Jacky Klein

The UK’s Royal Collection contains over a million objects – paintings and works on paper, tapestries, furniture and jewels, photographs and decorative arts, carriages, weapons and armour, clocks and musical instruments, manuscripts and books. This talk reveals the dramatic histories, plots and intrigue of some of the most unexpected and spectacular objects that make up one of the world’s most important art collections. We’ll delve into the back stories of a tiara smuggled across revolutionary Europe, an Italian masterpiece accidentally rediscovered, the world’s most extravagant doll’s house, Fabergé eggs made for the Russian Imperial family, porcelain pheasants from China that once decorated Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, a royal coach containing precious fragments of the Mary Rose and Canterbury Cathedral, and a grasshopper wine cooler at the very cutting edge of modern design art.