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.Wednesday, 10th April, 2019 VisitThe Higgins Museum, Bedford and John Bunyan’s houseThe Higgins Bedford is Bedford's art gallery and museum. It's a place to explore collections of fine & decorative arts, world-class watercolours, local stories and find out about great Bedfordians. Changing exhibitions mean there is always something new to see. Click here for the Higgins Museum web siteJohn Bunyan wrote a book that transformed literature, and inspired people the world over; The Pilgrim’s Progress. Imprisoned for his beliefs, as a prisoner of conscience, his books and personal example helped transform the way ordinary people worshipped, empowering them and their communities.From rural Bedfordshire to world-renown, from pulpit to prison, and from fiery sermons to tales of great beasts and giants – his life and times make for an amazing and colourful story.Click here for the John Bunyan Museum web site.Wednesday, 24th April, 2019 Study DayWomen in ArtLynne GibsonThis Special Interest Day will be fascinating. It will look at how Traditional Art History has viewed Women in a world where the academic subject has been dominated by men.Stereotypes including the Virgin, (pure wife, loving mother), Venus, (Eve and ‘the fallen woman’) will be explored. Research over the past few decades has changed the subject of Art History as well as the Arts we see on display in Galleries and Museums.April 18, 2019Andrew PrinceJewelled Journeys: The Art of Opulent Travel Throughout history, travelling has been used as a way to display wealth, power, status, as well as a useful tool to control over mighty subjects.Today, we take a journey as a matter of course, not thinking much of a distance of a hundred miles or more. In the past it was very different as an Aristocrat had to take not only clothes, but food, furniture, cooking facilities, tents, and the like, not just for himself and family but his household as well.In this talk, Andrew shows the many lavish and opulent accessories and modes of transport that were used by Monarchs and Aristocracy alike, to ease travel while on their seasonal “progress” to and from each others estates, and where diplomatic meetings between Kings turned into a contest of rivals to see who could out do each other in the finest accommodation, jewels, silks, retinue and luggage train.Entrance of the Emperor Franz I. Stephan and his son Joseph (II.) into Frankfurt on March 29, 1764 by Johann Dallinger von Dalling, 1767March 21, 2019Barbara AskewVictoria and Albert: Art and LoveThis lecture celebrates the 200th Anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who were first cousins and born just three months apart in 1819. Their shared enthusiasm for art and music endured throughout the twenty-two years of their marriage and they demonstrated their love through the works of art and jewellery they gave each other for birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries. Victoria and Albert understood and appreciated sculpture more than any of their predecessors since Charles I. They furnished and extended Buckingham Palace, made significant changes to Windsor Castle and commissioned three other royal residences, Balmoral, Sandringham and Osborne – the single most important example of their shared taste. Theirs was a partnership of patronage by a monarch and her consort which is unique in the history of the British monarchy.The wedding of Albert & VictoriaThe portrait, known as ‘the secret picture’, was commissioned by the young Queen in 1843 as a 24th birthday present for her beloved husband Albert. It was painted by the respected artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter.February 21, 2019Rupert WilloughbyThreads of History: The World of The Bayeux TapestryCommissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux who fought at Hastings, executed by skilled English craftsmen, the Bayeux Tapestry is the last survivor of a vanished art form. Rupert Willoughby presents a lively introduction to the tapestry – so much more than the story of Hastings – in which he unravels some of its mysteries, places it in the context of its age and firmly establishes it as a landmark in the history of Western art. With its lively illustrations of languid, party-loving, moustachioed Englishmen, of the cavalcades of noble huntsmen and of the snorting Norman cavalry poised to charge into battle, the Tapestry is the next best thing to a moving picture from the time.A reproduction of the tapestry in HDBayeux MuseumJanuary 17, 2019Jennifer Toynbee-HolmesWhistler, Wilde and Sargent - The Talent in Tite StreetLondon’s Tite Street was one of the most influential artistic quarters in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A staggering amount of talent thrived in just this one street in Chelsea, including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Oscar Wilde, John Singer Sargent, Robert Brough, Glyn Philpot, Augustus John, Romaine Brooks and Gluck. Throughout its turbulent history it remained home to innumerable artists, writers, suffragettes, queers and madmen. Here Whistler was bankrupted, Oscar Wilde imprisoned and Frank Miles went mad. This lecture ties together the private and professional lives of its inhabitants to form a colourful tapestry of art and intrigue.More information on Tite Street and its inhabitants.London Borough of Chelsea web siteThursday 13th December 2018'Deck the Halls'David Bostwick BA ( Hons) MA PhD ALA AMAChristmas, as a time of celebrations, has a very long pedigree. The great midwinter festival, known to the Romans as Saturnalia, is still greeted with feasting and drinking throughout the 12 days of Christmas. Wassail bowls and bobs, boars’ heads stuck with apples, carolling, mumming, riotous games in hall – all presided over by the Lord of Misrule. Twelfth Night signalled an end to the merry anarchy with great pies and rich fruit cakes concealing a bean and a pea. Using contemporary illustrations, this lecture explores the sources and significance of these ancient customs and traditions. History of the Lord of MisruleThursday 15th November 2018. AGMThe Story of the Cook Sisters and how they used Opera to Save Lives.Anne Sebba BA (Hons)Ida and Louise Cook were destined never to marry after decimation of the men of their generation in World War One. When Ida became a successful Mills and Boon novelist they used their earnings to indulge their love of opera, travelling all over the world but especially to Salzburg. Familiarity with Austria enabled these two eccentric opera loving sisters to undertake dangerous undercover missions in the 1930s rescuing Jewish musicians and others from the Nazis.This talk will explore the world of Opera in the 1920s and 30s - the clothes, music, celebrities, and the signed photographs coveted by fans. It will also show how Opera transformed the lives not just of these two sisters but of at least 29 families they saved. In 2010 the Government posthumously created the Cook sisters British Heroes of the Holocaust. BBC page on the Cook Sisters and their history.Thursday 18th October 2018'The Dregs of the People Remain' : the Black Death and its Aftermath, its Impact on the People and how they reacted in Society and Art.Imogen Corrigan BA (Hons)It is possible to see a shift in artistic tastes following the plague years which began in the mid C14th. This is understandable considering that we now know that at least 60% of the population of Europe and beyond perished in the first wave and that the disease recurred over the next 130 years. There is a distinct increase in interest in the macabre, but also in explorations of what will happen in the next life; some of it surprisingly optimistic and amusing. We see more interest in ex-pagan images and specific demands for spiritual protection and so what might be seen as a dust-to-dust mentality also becomes one of no tragedy, no triumphThe history of the Black Death and the effects.The Black Death, will it ever end?A “BLUE-BADGE” LED VISIT TO CAMBRIDGE Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 Our planned visit in the Autumn is to the city of Cambridge – home to so many well-known places of interest, such as King’s College and the Grand Arcade. On arrival coffee and biscuits will be available and we shall then have the services of two Blue-Badge guides who will take us on a tour lasting approximately 1½-2 hours. In the afternoon we will have guides to show us around the Fitzwilliam Art Gallery.Wednesday, 3rd October Christopher Garibaldi (Director of National Horse Racing Museum, Newmarket) "Treasures of the Turf and a Survey of Royal Patronage of Silver"From the late seventeenth century to the modern period this lecture looks at the development of the sport of horseracing in England through its associated cultural material. Using the wealth of paintings, archive material and decorative art objects associated with and depicting the ‘Sport of Kings’, the lecture will take as its starting point the earliest origins of the sport including the development of Newmarket and the Jockey Club as racing’s ‘Headquarters’. Treasures of the Turf also explores other influential racing circuits and because of the national nature of the sport can be adapted to include links to the local area. If these lectures are of interest to you please download the form and return it, with your cheque for £26, made payable to The Arts Society Rutland, to Ann Kanter. Click here for a booking form and further informationClick here for the National Horse Racing Museum web siteThursday 20th September 2018The Punch and Judy Show - A Subversive Symbol from Commedia Dell'Arte to the Present Day.Bertie Pearce BA (Hons)A puppet play that would have featured a version of Punch was first recorded in England in May 1662, by the diarist Samuel Pepys. Mr Punch was in Covent Garden at the restoration of the monarchy in 1662, and he was at the Millennium Dome exhibition in Greenwich in 2000 when Punch and Judy shows played daily. He’s got the hump, and he’s keeping it, despite Punch and Judy shows being identified in a government website as one of the twelve most important British icons including Stonehenge, a cup of tea, Alice in Wonderland and the Routemaster bus.The history of Punch & JudyV&A Page on Punch & JudyThursday 21st June 2018Addition payment requiredAnniversary Celebratory Lecture and Lunch at Stanford HallIntoxicating CocktailMary Alexander BA (Hons) MABetween the wars, Paris was the hub of cutting edge experiments in the visual and performing arts. The city became a magnet for international creative talent, including African-American musicians escaping the restrictions of racial segregation and Prohibition at home. The new 'jazz hot' brought together audiences from the artistic avant-garde, the music halls and the exotic cabarets of Montmartre. A vibrant modernist design style emerged from this dynamic cultural fusion. We will meet the artists, designers, musicians, dancers and impresarios and recreate how it felt to be in the middle of this exciting new cocktail of talent.Click here for the booking formArt Deco influencesThursday 17th May 2018William Orpen (1878-1931) Still an OutsiderAnn Clements BA, FRSAMajor Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen, KBE, RA, RHA was an Irish artist who worked mainly in London. Orpen was a fine draughtsman and a popular, commercially successful, painter of portraits for the well-to-do in Edwardian society, though many of his most striking paintings are self-portraits - right.During the First World War, he was the most prolific of the official artists sent by Britain to the Western Front. There he produced drawings and paintings of ordinary soldiers, dead men, and German prisoners of war, as well as portraits of generals and politicians. Most of these works, 138 in all, he donated to the British government and they are now in the collection of the Imperial War Museum.Background on William OrpenTate page on Orpen.Thursday 19th April 2018Vivaldi in VenicePeter Medhurst GRSM, ARCMVivaldi is the one Baroque composer whose music is a direct reflection of the city in which it was composed. Listen to a Vivaldi concerto and hey presto you are transported directly to the heart of 18th century Venice. The reasons for this are many – Vivaldi’s passion for colour, display and spectacle in his music; the unusual way in which Venice solved its problems with the poor and the homeless; Vivaldi’s health problems and his eccentricities as a man and a priest. Against the luxurious backdrop of 18th century Venice, and with live musical performances, this lecture explores the amazing world of Vivaldi’s music - music that is as intrinsically Venetian as the canvasses of Canaletto. Click here to go to Peter Medhurst’s own web page.History of the Medici (fully booked)Douglas Skeggs MA (Cantab)Wednesday 11 April 2018Egleton Bird Watching Centre, LE15 8BTNo synopsis available yet.The Medici family banking businessReview of this study dayGuardian article on an exhibition on the Medici family at the National Gallery in 2011Thursday 15th March 2018From Egg to Bacon : English Painting 1850-1950Linda Smith BA ( Hons) MAThis talk gives an account of developments in British painting (and the occasional sculpture) from the days of the Pre-Raphaelites to the aftermath of World War Two. This was a particularly fertile period in the history of art, and the talk pays particular attention to the way in which developments in Paris were received by the London art world; and how British artists contributed to the exciting exchange of new ideas.Some of the artists mentioned and/or discussed (but always subject to change): Augustus Egg, The Pre-Raphaelites, James Tissot, Albert Moore, James McNeil Whistler, Gwen John, Augustus John, Walter Sickert, The Bloomsbury Group, The Vorticists, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer, Francis Bacon.Background to August EggBackground to Francis BaconThursday 15th February 2018Romancing the Rails: British Railway Posters On Track with the World's BestCharles Harris B.Sc Iowa StateThe Flying Scotsman, Golden Arrows, Belles and Pullmans; no wonder Betjeman still stands in awe at St Pancras. Covering the Golden Age of British Railways, the era of the Big Four 1923 – 1947, this lecture celebrates the most romantic period of our British travel history. You’ll see how the best travel posters connect with your heart and your mind, and how they have closely reflected the evolution of British holidays.National Railway Museum Posters web siteThursday 18th January 2018To the Far Side of the World, (James Cook's third and final voyage in 1776)Peter WarwickThe moving story of Captain Robert Falcon Scots’ last and fatal Terra Nava expedition to the Antarctica and the ‘race’ to the South Pole. The lecture assesses Scot’s leadership abilities and challenges the widely held view that he was a bungler. The centenary of Scott’s death was in March 2012. Click here to read Captain Scotts last letter.
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