Lectures are held in St. George’s Hall Blockley and start at 2.45 pm, refreshments are available after lectures

Blue and white porcelain


Anne Haworth

Blue and white porcelain

Blue and white porcelain was developed in 14th century China in response to market demands from Islamic countries, where blue was valued for its association with life-giving water. As the domination of trade routes passed in turn to the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the English, each country shipped porcelain from China, commissioning different designs from the ever-versatile porcelain makers at Jingdezhen. The royal and aristocratic families of Europe collected blue and white for massed displays. By the 18th century, factories in London, Worcester, Lowestoft and Liverpool were able to make accomplished softpaste copies of the Chinese originals.

Anne is a lecturer at the V&A and a guide for private tours of the State Rooms and The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. She is a lecturer in British painting for American students resident in London. From 1981 to 1995, she trained and became a senior ceramics specialist at Christies and Bonhams and from 1995-2002 she was resident in Shanghai, China, visiting ancient kiln sites and lecturing to expatriate groups. In autumn 2002 Anne catalogued the Chinese porcelain at Kensington Palace.



Gavin Plumley

Cultural experiments in the Weimar Republic

After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

Gavin spoke to Blockley Arts Society in May 2017 about The Arts and Culture of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and we are delighted to welcome him back. Gavin is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to the Independent on Sunday and the Guardian. He lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, including to the National Gallery, the British Museum, the V&A, the Southbank Centre, the Tate and the Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

John Singer Sargent picture


Alexandra Epps

John Singer Sargent

From the scandal of the painting of Madame X to the trials, tribulations and triumph of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, discover the rise, the fall and rise again of John Singer Sargent, the leading portrait painter of his age – the age of elegance.

Alexandra is an official Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Guildhall Art Gallery. She lectures at Pallant House Gallery and is Art History Tutor at City Lit Institute. Alexandra is a Qualified Guide to the City of London and a Member of the City of London Guide Lecturers Association. Alexandra’s background is in design having practised as a graphic designer, running her own design consultancy for many years. She achieved BA St Martin’s School of Art, MA London College of Printing.



Bertie Pearce

Wonder workers and the art of illusion

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread. Magicians were known as ‘Jongleurs’ lest they be sentenced to death for ‘witchcraft and conjuration’ under the edicts of Henry VIII. With the emergence of the music hall, magic gained a new respectability and audiences watched the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. Even today in our super technical age of ipad 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.

Bertie has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. A member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. Bertie’s experience includes lecturing to cruise ship audiences, the Women’s Institute, theatre clubs and the Sussex Magic Circle, as well as The Arts Society. In addition, he has toured the world with a magic cabaret show. He has written an article on entertainment for the Guardian newspaper.

Peter Medhurst


Peter Medhurst

The sound of paint


11am for coffee and biscuits
At Wyck Hill House Hotel, Burford Road, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1HY

Peter Medhurst will discuss a range of Renaissance, Baroque and Classical paintings and will complement the scenes with live keyboard music and song.

Peter Medhurst is well known to our society, having visited and performed for us on previous occasions. His work as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist has taken him all over the world with frequent tours in Europe. Closer to home he has presented events at the Barbican, St. John’s Smith Square and the Royal Festival Hall. He has also directed presentations linking the visual arts with the world of 17th & 18th century music making at the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A.

Antarctic exploration


Peter Warwick

The tragic beauty of ice

Peter spoke to us last year about Captain Cook and we look forward to welcoming him back to speak about the film and photography of Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley and the paintings of Dr Edward Wilson and George Marston which capture the wonderful world of Antarctica for the first time. Their images enthralled a whole nation with their beauty and prepared the way for today’s television natural history programmes. They are a poignant legacy because of the hardship and tragedy that haunts them.

Peter is an author, historian, high-profile events organiser and a recognised authority on Admiral Lord Nelson. Peter chairs The New Waterloo Dispatch, the official body that arranged the bicentenary commemorations for Waterloo in 2015 and is now celebrating the Idea that is Europe; and Thames Alive which is re-introducing pageantry to the River Thames. In 2012 Peter arranged the manpowered squadron of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the Thames Olympic Torch Relay. He is a Founder and Trustee of Gloriana, The Queen’s Row Barge. As vice-chairman of the Official Nelson Commemorations Committee Peter played a key role in the planning of The Trafalgar Festival and Sea Britain 2005. He lectures widely in the UK at schools, universities and defence establishments, overseas, and on sea voyages.

Flowers in a vase


Alice Foster

The Scottish colourists

The work of S.J. Peploe and J.D. Fergusson was seen in Edinburgh and London in the decade leading up to World War I, but Hunter and Cadell were less well known. All were bold pioneers in the field of rich colour and exuberant brushwork. The strong light and bright colour they discovered in France was easily harnessed to their favourite places in Scotland. People, places, interiors, still life were among their favourite subjects.

Alice has lectured for Oxford University Department of Continuing Education since 1998. She lectures regularly at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock. Her busy freelance career includes organising History of Art study days with colleagues, and regular weekly classes in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire. In 2004 Alice joined The Arts Society and has lectured in Britain and in Europe. Since 2003 Alice has been a tutor on study holidays. In 2010 she was elected President of Banbury Fine Arts Society.

Conservation of a painting


Julia Korner

The conservation of paintings

This lecture comprises a practical, step-by-step guide to the conservation of paintings through the ages. It starts with a brief history of the preparation of panels and canvases and illustrates the different approaches and techniques involved in their conservation. Various ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ photographs show the pictures undergoing conservation and the processes involved.
After her talk, Julia will be happy to discuss the conservation of Arts Society members pictures and frames.

Julia is a specialist and lecturer in fine art conservation and the restoration of paintings, sculptures and frames. She is also a valuer, having spent nearly twenty years at Christie’s, passionate collector, advisor and curator of paintings and works of art. She trained as an art historian, conservator and gilder and runs a busy conservation studio in West London where she acts as an advisor to museums and private collectors, a valuer and exhibition curator for public and private collections.

Leonardo da Vinci sketch

MONDAY 20 MAY 2019

Guy Rooker

Leonardo da Vinci: the science behind the art

Leonardo da Vinci, painter and draughtsman of the High Renaissance was an artist whose works were informed by scientific investigation. Leonardo observed the world closely, describing nature as his teacher, studying anatomy and physiology in order to create convincing images of the human form. He believed the moral and ethical meanings of his narrative art would emerge through the accurate representation of human gesture and expression. Science and art are different paths that lead to the same destination. This talk reviews Leonardo’s approach to linear perspective, human proportion, emotion, light and shade together with the fashion in which his scientific studies influenced his art.

Guy comes to The Arts Society not with a background in the arts but from the world of science in general, and surgery in particular. He describes himself as a retired surgeon with a lifelong passion, fascination, and admiration for the work of Leonardo da Vinci. ‘I consider that the contribution he has made to both the world of art and the investigation of scientific concepts to be quite unique and extraordinary in the way that so many of his pioneering investigations have contributed to the understanding of our world today.’ Leonardo died in May 1519 and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of his drawings from the Royal Collections Trust, during 2019.

Chair and footstool


Tim Gosling

The DNA of furniture design

Tim writes that he has often tried to identify the inherent visual aspects
of furniture design – its DNA, if you will. If we can understand the basics of historical design as applied to furniture, we will be in a better position to break the rules, allowing us to continue moving design forward. Tim will highlight some of the iconic interiors and pieces of furniture that, for him, captures the very essence of the time in which they were designed.

Tim graduated in Theatre Design from Central School of Art and Design, before going on to create set and stage designs for major productions in the West End and Las Vegas. Following this, he became a director at Linley for 18 years, before setting up his own furniture design company in 2005. Tim has a comprehensive knowledge of classical furniture's historical context, which enables him to create designs with both relevance and contemporary style.