Lectures will be held on-line at 2.30pm for a 2.45pm start. The Zoom link for each lecture will be emailed to all members a few days before the lecture.

MONDAY 14 DECEMBER 2020

Bertie Pearce

A Dickens of a Christmas and God Bless us everyone!

Charles Dickens has often been proclaimed as ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ and indeed on hearing that Dickens had died a cockney barrow-girl said: ‘Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?’.  Dickens revived the Christmas traditions with his warm portrayal of Christmas in the domestic setting; with plum pudding, piping hot turkey, games, dancing  and family cheer by the hearth. Although he celebrated Christmas in numerous works it is his enduring master piece, ‘A Christmas Carol’ published on 19 December 1843, which immortalises the spirit of Christmas Cheer. Dickens was a man of extraordinary energy and talent: literary genius, reformer, public speaker, actor and amateur magician.
In his lecture Bertie Pearce reveals a Dickensian Christmas with readings, biographical details and, of course, his trademark conjuring tricks!

Such is his popularity, this is Bertie's third visit to us. He has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University and a Diplôme Internationale from the École International du Théâtre, Jacques Lecoq. He is also a member of the Inner Magic Circle.

MONDAY 18 JANUARY 2021

Siân Walters

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most celebrated female painters in the history of art. A follower of Caravaggio, Artemisia rose to become one of the most sought after painters of her day. She was the first female member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence. She also enjoyed fame in Rome, Venice, Naples and London where she worked alongside her father for King Charles I. Despite a series of tragic events in her youth and the constant challenge of working within what was still very much a male-dominated environment, Artemisia overcame personal difficulty to produce some of the most sublime and moving images of the early 17th century.  Her extraordinary life and work was chosen by the National Gallery as the subject of one of 2020’s most important exhibitions.

Siân lectures both at the National Gallery and The Wallace Collection and has taught at Surrey University, specialising in 15th and 16th century Italian painting, Spanish art & architecture, and the relationship between dance and art. She also teaches private courses and organises lectures, study days and art holidays abroad. Siân has also lived in France and Italy, where she worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice.

MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2021

Raymond Warburton

Pop Art on both sides of the Atlantic

Pop Art arose simultaneously in the UK and USA. Perhaps Andy Warhol was right when he said everyone was reading the same comics. While British Pop Art was heavily influenced by the consumer boom and the films and music of the USA, it had its own identity, which was often ironic and self-reflective.
Leading British practitioners in the 1950s and early 1960s were Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton and Peter Blake. American Pop Art had the superstars including Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, who simply used the formats of advertising, mass production, magazines and comics, to play back to the public what the public was already eating, watching or thinking.
This lecture will use a wide collection of Pop Art paintings to explain the differences between British and American Pop Art, and why some British artists, after trying it, distanced themselves from it. This lecture will be jargon-free with audience engagement, backed by high quality slides.

Raymond studied art history at the Open University and the University of Buckingham. He is a Guide at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, leading public tours of all the permanent displays and Raymond also undertakes exhibition tours. Raymond is an experienced public speaker who has given presentations and lectures on a range of themes to diverse audiences over many years.

MONDAY 15 MARCH 2021

Suzanne Perrin

The art of the kimono: Japanese signs, symbols and stories

Of all the fascinating arts and crafts made in Japan, perhaps the most exciting are those of textiles. We trace the art of the kimono from the many layered robes of court dress throughout the changing styles that encompassed intricate and bold designs that wove signs, symbols and stories into the fabrics that people wore during the Endo Period from the early 1600s to the mid-1900s.
From courtesans to theatre costumes, daily wear and special occasions, wearing kimono advertised one’s wealth, rank and status at every level of society. We explore the hidden codes of dress formality, the awareness of the seasons, the historical stories and layered patterns depicted in the colourful and complex materials used for kimono. Specialised craftsmen and women are still using traditional and modern methods to produce the complex patterns in Nishijin weaving, or Yuezen dyeing and many other ways of decorating the fine silk used for kimono.

Suzanne Perrin is a visiting lecturer at both the University of Brighton Art & Design School, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She teaches on the Asian Arts courses at the British Museum and the V&A. In 1995 Suzanne founded Japan Interlink to promote the understanding of Japan in educational and cultural circles and she studied Nihonga (traditional Japanese painting) at Nagoya University of Arts, Japan, 1986-87. She conducted guided tours of Japan for students and adult groups; gave lecture tours on Japanese Art & Culture in Australia in 1987 and 2000 for ADFAS.

MONDAY 19 APRIL 2021

Angela Findlay

Art behind bars: the role of the arts in breaking the cycle of crime, prison and re-offending

Years of working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and Germany have given Angela unique insights into the destructive and costly cycle of crime, prisons and re-offending. In this thought-provoking talk she offers a deeper understanding of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. With slides of art projects and prisoner’s art, she demonstrates how within the process of creating art of any discipline, there are vital opportunities for offenders to confront their crimes and develop the key life skills so essential in leading a positive and productive life. A frequent response to this talk has been ‘I had no idea!’ and indeed it casts light onto areas of our society where the arts not only are visual, decorative or commercial, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant and potentially life changing.
This talk is moving, informative and very original. Interspersed with personal accounts of humorous or slightly horrifying situations, these talks have kept audiences across the country engrossed.

Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. Her time ‘behind bars’ and later as Arts Coordinator of the London-based Koestler Trust, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation. Her ideas were novel but effective and in 2016 she was invited to the Ministry of Justice to present the case for the arts to be included in their new rehabilitation and education policies. Angela has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, a Diploma in Artistic Therapy (specialising in colour) and her paintings are widely exhibited both nationally and internationally.

MONDAY 17 MAY 2021

Lynne Gibson

Double Dutch: the secret language of Dutch still life

Merchants of the Dutch Golden Age filled their town houses with paintings. But these upright Calvinist citizens rejected biblical subjects and Baroque melodrama. Favourite themes were found closer to home. Still lifes reflect the prosperity and self-esteem of the new Republic. The detailed realism of these paintings is compelling but is there more to Dutch art than meets the eye?
Banketje (banquets) and ontbijtjes (breakfasts) celebrate an abundance of foodstuffs. Could the curl of lemon peel, platter of oysters, kraakware bowl of blemished fruit or spiced meat pie warn of the dangers of gluttony and pleasures of the flesh?
Vanitas, ‘pronkstilleven’ and ‘blompots’ display treasured possessions. If we look closely, however, the pocket-watch, fading bloom or, more explicitly, human skull, might hint that consciences are troubled by such ostentation.
Join us to explore the secret symbolic language of still life paintings and become a fluent reader of ‘Double Dutch’!

Now working as a freelance lecturer in the History of Art, Lynne originally trained as a fine artist and has taught painting, drawing and printmaking in higher and adult education. She lectured as an art historian for the universities of Sussex and Bristol where she introduced ‘Understanding Art’ to the Lifelong Learning programme and residential summer schools. She also gives talks, lectures and guided tours to a wide range of organisations and institutions including ARCA colleges, The National Trust, National Gallery, art museums and art societies. Lynne has worked as a professional artist specializing in oil painting and etching. Solo and group shows have included the RWA, British Museum and the Barbican.

MONDAY 21 JUNE 2021

Ross King

The competitive sport of fresco: Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel

In 1508, Pope Julius II, known because of his military expeditions as the ‘Warrior Pope’, commissioned Michelangelo to fresco the vault of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo had very limited experience of the physically and technically difficult technique of fresco, much less on the underside of a 12,000-square-foot surface. His reputation had been made in sculpture with works such as the Pietà and the monumental David, rather than in paint. This illustrated lecture examines the circumstances surrounding Michelangelo’s commission and how, in the four years between 1508 and 1512, he worked on his immense fresco in direct competition with Raphael, his younger and prodigiously talented contemporary, who was working on his own frescoes a few steps away in the Papal Apartments.

Ross King is the author of eight books on Italian, French and Canadian art and history. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and he has won both the Governor General’s Award in Canada and the BookSense Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the United States. Born and raised in Canada, he has lived in England since 1992. Ross has lectured widely in both North America and Europe and given lectures and guided tours in Florence, Rome, Milan, Paris and Giverny.

MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

Deborah Lambert

Artists and espionage – the Lawn Road Flats NW3: modernist living in mid-20th century London

This story has a plot worthy of Agatha Christie. The cast includes Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszlo Moholy Nagy, refugees from the Bauhaus in Germany, Henry Moore the sculptor, the writers Nicholas Monsarrat and Agatha Christie herself as well as numerous other writers, intellectuals and civil servants.
The setting is the Lawn Road Flats, a startling Modernist block in a leafy road in North London. It offered a radical new housing concept for young professionals: small serviced flats with a communal restaurant and popular club. But was there a darker side to this lively bohemian environment? It was in fact also home to a nest of Soviet spies, including the recruiter and controller of the Cambridge five.
This is the story of a groundbreaking building, now Grade I listed, and of the rich and complex lives of its residents.

After reading for an MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, London University, Deborah became an arts administrator. In 1978 she joined Christie’s Education, part of Christie’s Auctioneers, as tutor, lecturer and academic director teaching fine and decorative art history. From 2006 until stepping down in September 2015, Deborah was Curator of the Schroder Collection, an important private art collection, and she now concentrates on her freelance lecturing and research. Deborah has lectured to a variety of organisations in the United Kingdom and abroad, and for over 20 years appeared on BBC Television’s Antiques Roadshow as a furniture specialist.

MONDAY 18 OCTOBER 2021

Justine Hopkins

The world in a grain of sand – William Blake The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

William Blake: poet, painter and philosopher; rebel, radical revolutionary. Called the man without a mask by his friends, Blake was less ahead of his time as outside it, creating his own mythology of embattled beings and strange prophecies to tell the truths he perceived as the heart of all existence. His paintings and poems are particular and specific to the life of eighteenth-century London as they are universal.
This lecture examines the worlds of William Blake in the context of his time and our own, exploring their extraordinary and vivid symbolism and revealing the celebration of life in all its richness that informs even the strangest of his works: a paradoxical way of seeing the world which challenged orthodoxy and continues to do so.

Justine Hopkins studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. She has lectured regularly for Tate Britain, Tate Modern, V&A, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. Justine lectures at Oxbridge and Bristol Universities, Christie's Fine Art and The Art Fund. Groups such as the Bradford on Avon Arts Association, Friends of Covent Garden and U3A have also benefited from her lectures.

MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2021

Antony Buxton

Iconic objects of art: the bird

The bird, moving between the terrestrial to aerial domains, occupies a symbolic place in ancient mythologies. The owl represented learning in Athens, the eagle and swan both feature as symbols of power in Roman art and the peacock finds a place in the mythologies of both East and West for its display of exotic beauty. Christian art adopted the peacock as a symbol of the resurrection and of the Church, and the classical myths associated with the peacock were reinterpreted by academic art of the seventeenth century. The peacock plays a part in the mythologies of the cultures of India and the Far East and became a symbol of the appreciation of ‘superfluous’ beauty by the Aesthetes of the nineteenth century.

Dr Antony Buxton lectures on the history of art, architecture and design, and material and domestic culture for the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford and other British and American institutions of higher education. Prior to academic teaching he was for many years a furniture designer-maker and period furniture conservator, leading to an interest in the way in which material and aesthetic culture, social life and values interact.

MONDAY 6 DECEMBER 2021

Mary Alexander

Meet me at the Waldorf: the extraordinary story of two iconic hotels built on Astor feuds, fortunes and art patronage

Immortalised in Cole Porter’s lyrics ‘You’re the top! You’re a Waldorf salad’, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was ‘home in New York to the stars’, international celebrities and world leaders. Built at the height of the Depression and famous before it opened, its glittering Jazz Age interiors were created by leading European designers, artists and sculptors. We will explore the intriguing story of the hotel’s equally iconic predecessor on Fifth Avenue, in its heyday the place to meet and be seen, where high society paraded in the latest Parisian fashions in Peacock Alley, and where business tycoons and acquisitive art collectors such as J P Morgan and Henry Clay Frick met to ‘do deals’ in finance or art, before it was demolished in 1929. This lecture recreates the stunning interiors of both hotels, the personalities who created them, and the stars who met, feasted and lived there.

Mary Alexander has thirty years’ experience as a lecturer, with a BA in History and History of Art and a MA with distinction in History of Art from University College London. Her experience includes public lectures in museums, tutoring for the Open University, as visiting lecturer at Christie’s Education in London, museum curator at Platt Hall, the Gallery of Costume, Manchester. Now, Mary is a freelance lecturer to various arts, heritage and antiquarian societies. She has also worked in the Pentagram design consultancy in London and New York, organising conferences and special events. Mary is the author of various articles on design and visual awareness issues and her background combines an unusual blend of academic and visual communications skills. She lectured for ADFAS Australia and New Zealand.