Our Monday lectures are held in St George’s Hall, Blockley at 2.30pm for a 2.45pm start.


Sophie Matthews

Music in art

(note early 2:15pm start for this lecture only)

So many of our historical references for musical instruments can be found in works of art. Not only can these windows into the past show us what the instruments looked like but also the social context in which they would have been played. Music and different instruments also play a strong role within symbolism in art. In this lecture Sophie explores the instruments in selected works and then gives live demonstrations on replicas of the instruments depicted.

Sophie Matthews is a musician who is well-known for her prowess on the English border bagpipes and has become one of the foremost players of the instrument in the UK. She also plays a variety of early woodwind instruments such as shawm, rauschpfeife, crumhorn and recorder. She is also one of a handful of British players of the baroque musette, an 18th century French bagpipe similar to the Northumbrian smallpipes.
When not touring with GreenMatthews, Sophie also makes instruments (she made her own baroque oboe) and works with respected luthier Tony Millyard on his flutes. Sophie is self-taught on all of her instruments.


Charles Hajdamach

The genius of René Lalique

René Lalique was quite simply the greatest glass artist of the twentieth century. As a jeweller, glassmaker and architectural artist he spanned the two great movements of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The dynasty that he established continues to produce bold and exquisite creations, which are coveted by glass collectors around the world. This talk features every major element of his genius from stunning car mascots to the interiors of the great ocean-going liners.

Charles Hajdamach is one of the top authorities on glass in the country. From its opening in 1980 he was in charge of Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford, which was respected as one of the top glass museums. He lectures internationally, writes extensively on the subject and his two books, British Glass 1800-1914 and 20th Century British Glass, remain the standard works on the subject. In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology and in 2009 he was elected Life-President of The Glass Association, now The Glass Society. Currently he is involved in the curation of the new Stourbridge Glass Museum.


Joanna Banham

The home beautiful – Pre-Raphaelite interiors

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood not only challenged conventional definitions of beauty within the fine arts, they also rejected many of the fashions associated with the mid and late Victorian home. Inspired by their admiration for the Middle Ages and the medieval guild, they believed that artists should also be craftsmen, as capable of decorating furniture as painting on canvas. For Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, a beautiful home was ‘the most important production of art’ and they expended considerable time and energy on beautifying their own homes. Morris’s work, first at Red House, then at Kelmscott House Hammersmith and Kelmscott Manor Oxfordshire, exemplifies his ideas about the synthesis of art and design. This lecture explores the decoration and lifestyles associated with these and other famous Pre-Raphaelite homes.

Jo Banham is a freelance curator, lecturer and writer. From 2006-2016 she was Head of Adult Learning at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and before that Head of Learning and Access at the National Portrait Gallery, and Head of Public Programmes at Tate Britain. She has also been Curator of Leighton House and Assistant Keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Jo has published on many aspects of Victorian and early 20th century decoration and interiors. She is currently curating an exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Juan March Fundacion in Madrid and the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya in Barcelona. She is also Director of the Victorian Society Summer School.


Frank Woodgate

Antony Gormley and the new face of tradition

Antony Gormley studied archaeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge. His art makes use of his expertise in such varied disciplines; he makes fascinating and challenging sculptures based on his own and other people’s bodies. Many of his works are life-size and made of lead or other metal, and can often be found in unusual locations such as the Australian desert, in the sea off the Liverpool coast or on the rooftops of London or New York.
Other works range from the enormous Angel of the North, which is 20 metres high, weighs 200 tonnes and can be seen at a great distance from the A1 at Gateshead, to his various Fields of tens of thousands of small clay figures made under his guidance by ordinary members of the public. At both ends of the scale, his work is astonishing and thought-provoking, and sheds a new light on the tradition of sculpture involving the human body.
This lecture takes us through the history of sculpture, from classical Greek marble carvings and cast bronze works, and its development until the present day, showing how innovative and imaginative Gormley and other modern sculptors can be.

Frank Woodgate lectures at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and for the Art Fund, the National Trust, U3A and other organisations. He also lectures and runs courses at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

MONDAY 15 MAY 2023

David Haycock

Lucy Kemp-Walsh: painter of horses

When Lucy Kemp-Welch’s painting Colt Hunting in the New Forest (now in the Tate Gallery) was first exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 1897 it caused a sensation. The Times predicted that the artist would ‘very rapidly become our most successful and popular painter of horses’. She also made a number of important paintings of the First World War. This lecture explores her life and work, and coincides with both a new biography (written by the lecturer), and two exhibitions curated by him, to be held in Hampshire and East Anglia in 2023.

© Gary Rogers


Simon Seligman

Debo – Mitford, Cavendish, Devonshire Duchess, housewife 1920-2014

Deborah Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters and wife of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, was hefted by marriage to one of Europe’s greatest treasure houses, Chatsworth. In partnership with her husband, she imbued it with a spirit, elegance and sense of welcome that transformed it from being the worn-out survivor of decades of taxation, war and social change into one of the best-loved, historic estates in the country. With responsibility for Lismore Castle and Bolton Abbey as well, no wonder her passport stated her profession as ‘housewife’.
Along the way, she became a best-selling author and sell-out speaker, champion of the countryside, trustee and patron of numerous charities, businesses and good causes, and the most famous poultry keeper in the country. She met Hitler and Churchill, was a trusted confidante of the then Prince of Wales, and was friends with a dazzling array of some of the brightest and most fascinating of her contemporaries, including President Kennedy, Evelyn Waugh, Oscar de la Renta, John Betjeman, Lucian Freud, Tom Stoppard, Neil MacGregor, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Alan Bennett.
She said herself that charm was the hardest quality to describe in another person; hers lived in her unique turn of phrase, her stoic Mitfordian perspective on life’s challenges, her curiosity about everyone she met, her stylish beauty, quick wit and delight in all that life offered her. Our lecturer was lucky enough to work for and with her over more than 20 years and in this lecture pays tribute to an astonishing life.
Picture © Gary Rogers

Simon Seligman studied art and architectural history at Warwick University. For 19 years until 2010, he worked at Chatsworth in a variety of roles, latterly as Head of Communications. He has lectured about Chatsworth, the Devonshire Collection and associated topics, throughout the UK and on several US tours. Alongside his lecturing, he is a Life Coach in private practice, and works part time for John Ruskin’s charity the Guild of St George.


Rosamund Bartlett

The culture of Ukraine

This lecture tells the multifaceted Ukrainian story through the shared culture,
which binds its diverse people together. This involves exploring the sacred art and architecture of Kyiv, inherited from Byzantium, the history of the Cossack element in Ukrainian identity, and the distinctive characters of Odesa and Lviv. We will also look at the important part played by folk culture in the years before Ukraine’s emergence as an independent nation, ranging from ‘red icons’ on glass and ancient songs, to the secret codes embedded in the country’s remarkable embroidery tradition.

Rosamund Bartlett combines expertise in Russian and Western European cultural history with a particular interest in the connections between the arts. She completed her doctorate at Oxford and has lectured at universities and public institutions around the world, from the V&A in London to the Harriman Institute in New York, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. The author of biographies of Chekhov and Tolstoy, she is also their translator. She has written on art, music and literature for publications such as The Daily Telegraph and the magazine Apollo, and been commissioned to write programme essays by Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and the RSC. In 2010 she led the campaign to save Chekhov’s house in Yalta, and remains a Trustee of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, which established its first ‘Anton Chekhov’s Garden’ at a surgery in Devon in 2018.


Timothy Walker

The healing power of plants – why plant-derived treatments are not an alternative but the real thing

Mankind has exploited the medicinal properties of plants for thousands of years, yet the role of plants in modern medicine is still considered to be peripheral by many people. This talk attempts to put the record straight and to show that plant products are used every day by all of us to relieve pain and suffering, to heal wounds and cure diseases.

From 1988 to 2014 Timothy Walker was the Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Botanic gardens are often described as living museums, and garden curators lecture about them in the same way as museum curators talk about their collections. Gardens can be thought of as a place where science and art meet on equal terms and Timothy’s lectures often investigate this relationship. Since 2014 Timothy has been a college lecturer and tutor in Botany and Plant Conservation at Somerville College Oxford.


Gillian White

Nicholas Hilliard and the art of the miniature

Nicholas Hilliard captured a glowing, delicate and intimate image of the Elizabethans in his jewel-like portrait miniatures. He has left us a legacy of colour, pattern, symbolism and likeness, as well as an opinionated insight into the thoughts and practices of a sixteenth-century English artist. This lecture outlines Hilliard’s career and explores the changing styles demanded by his patrons.

Dr Gillian White specialises in the history and visual arts of late medieval and sixteenth-century England. After beginning her career at the Warwickshire Museum, she worked for the National Trust as Curator/Collections Manager at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, about which she wrote her PhD at Warwick University. Since then she has taught part-time at Leicester University in the Centre for the Study of the Country House and continues to teach History of Art in the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University and elsewhere.


Tobias Capwell

Nothing says Christmas like an axe-fight: courtly spectacles of the Renaissance

In the Renaissance, Christmas was a popular time to hold jousts, tournaments and courtly spectacles. In the dark, dead of winter, a colourful, glamorous celebration of chivalry very much took on the role of a kind of sixteenth-century ‘festival of light’. In England, Christmas jousts became especially popular under that famous lover of armour and fighting, King Henry VIII. Such events were a kind of performance art, which fused real armoured combat with fantastical, mythological and allegorical themes. In this lecture, this rich history will be explored through the personal experiences of the lecturer, an academic specialist but also one of the world’s foremost jousters and medieval martial artists.

Toby is an internationally acknowledged authority on Medieval and Renaissance weapons, armour and art. He is a freelance curator, broadcaster and author of numerous books on the subject of arms and armour. He has recently completed a major research project on armour in late medieval England, entitled Armour of the English Knight, published in three volumes. His other books include Arms and Armour of the Medieval Joust and Arms and Armour of the Renaissance Joust.Toby is also active in the world of film and television, most recently serving as historical advisor on the feature film The Lost King. Toby is an accomplished jouster and historical martial artist, fighting in tournaments all over the world. In 2015 he had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of King Richard III, from the battlefield at Bosworth to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral.