We hope to hold all our 2022 Monday lectures in St George’s Hall, Blockley. Should circumstances prevent this, members will be notified and any affected lectures will be delivered online via Zoom.
Lectures will be held at 2.30pm for a 2.45pm start.


Eamonn Gearon

'Gothic or Saracenic?’ The debt the west owes to Middle Eastern architecture … or how to read a mosque

Sir Christopher Wren wrote, ‘This we now call the Gothic manner of architecture. I think it should with more reason be called the Saracen style; for we borrowed from them, out of their Arabic books, what they with great diligence had translated from the Greeks’.
Part of Wren’s brilliance came from his wide-ranging knowledge of architectural styles and innovations. He wrote, without equivocation, that ‘Gothic’ architecture had nothing to do with the Goths but instead was clearly informed by its ‘Saracenic’ or mediaeval Middle Eastern origins. Wren showed admiration for those Saracenic architects not only in his writings but also in the very stones of his buildings, St Paul’s Cathedral among them. Highlighting these architectural links, this talk reveals familiar and much-loved buildings as you may have never seen them before.

Eamonn Gearon is an author, historian, recovering journalist and now lecturer who for more than 20 years lived and worked across the greater Middle East from Kabul to Casablanca. He is the author of three multi-million selling lecture series on Middle Eastern history and culture for The Great Courses and, in addition to entertaining general and widespread audiences, Eamonn has also designed and delivers Middle East and North Africa studies training for both the British and American governments.


Nicola Moorby

Murder and modernism: Walter Richard Sickert and The Camden Town Group

The Camden Town Group was an innovative circle of painters united by the desire to paint works of a modern character. They combined the techniques and visions of European Post-Impressionism with the changing modernity of Edwardian London. This lecture introduces the core members of the group, led by Walter Richard Sickert and tells the story of their brief but significant association. Key themes addressed within their work will be examined: urban life, popular entertainment and the lower social classes, as well as Sickert’s infamous series of paintings inspired by the notorious Camden Town murder.

Nicola Moorby is an independent art historian specialising in British art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She studied at the University of York and Birkbeck College, London. Formerly a curator at Tate Britain she has curated a number of exhibitions and has published widely on JMW Turner, including contributions to the forthcoming online catalogue of the Turner Bequest. She is also co-editor and author of How to Paint Like Turner (Tate Publishing, 2010). In addition, she has published on Walter Richard Sickert and is co-author of Tate’s catalogue of works by the Camden Town Group.


Roger Butler

Canal history and heritage

This 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’.

Roger Butler is a landscape architect and an experienced writer, photographer and lecturer. He has a particular interest in the unique history, architecture and traditions of our canal network and has worked on some of the UK’s major canal restoration projects. He has also acted as a consultant to bodies such as Waterways Ireland, Natural England and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. He regularly contributes to waterway and heritage magazines and writes and provides images for a range of countryside and outdoor titles. Roger is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute.


Jacky Klein

Art and technology today: new frontiers

This lecture looks at how new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, 3D printing and Big Data, voice recognition and projection mapping are changing the way art is made and experienced and asks where technology will take artists and the art world in the next decade. These technologies are currently experimental – and have their limitations – but the lecture will explore how they are set to develop as technology becomes ever more integral to our daily lives. Don’t be put off if you think you are a technophobe: all these concepts will be explained and, along the way, you will discover some of the most powerful examples of immersive tech art.

Jacky Klein is an art historian, publisher, writer and broadcaster, specialising in modern and contemporary art. After studying at Oxford and the Courtauld Institute she worked as a curator at a number of leading galleries including Tate and the Hayward before moving into art publishing with roles at Thames & Hudson, Tate Publishing and subsequently as Director of HENI Publishing, a small independent arts publisher. She is the author of a bestselling book on Grayson Perry and co-author of a number of other art-related titles. Jacky has presented and contributed to a range of programmes for BBC television and is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row. A public and passionate advocate for the arts, she is a Trustee of the UK Association for Art History and is currently Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute on their Masters programme, ‘Curating the Art Museum’.


Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski

And so to bed

This lecture traces the significance and use of beds from the medieval period through to the 18th century both in terms of their association with the highest level of society as expressed through the great ‘State Beds’ and also the history of their construction, decoration and the, often costly, textiles associated with them. The significance of beds through the ages can be judged by the prominence given to them in wills and inventories: Shakespeare, in his will, left his wife Anne ‘my second best bed’ and modern day audiences may be surprised to learn that in times gone by, married or single, rich or poor, one never slept alone … . Look out for a wintery twist and a hint of Christmas too.

Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski is a freelance lecturer and researcher in English furniture history and a long-time antiques dealer. His lectures seek to explain furniture in terms of the skills and materials employed in its design and construction together with its socio-economic significance.