LECTURE SEASON 2021-22

Our programme is available to members only.  Guests of members are welcome for a fee of £10.00 per lecture.

Membership Fees £40 single & £80 for joint

We currently have a waiting list for membership, please register below to secure a place on that list.

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POST WAR AUSTRALIAN PAINTING

Friday 17th September 2021

Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd from the ‘Heide School’ working in a naïve and expressive style, John Brack’s figurative paintings give a social critic of Australian post-war culture, John Olsen’s celebratory abstract expressions of the landscape, Brett Whiteley’s personal vision of his life in Sydney, Fred Williams' landscapes and Jeffery Smart’s surreal depictions of urban life are all essential in our understanding and appreciating the modern art of Australia and its place in the history of Western Art.

Our lecturer is Paul Chapman, art historian, gallery guide and lecturer.

Paul also leads art tours of the stunning collection in Longford Castle, Salisbury.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

The lecture will also be delivered simultaneously via zoom at 6.30pm

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SELFIES, SELF-EXPRESSION, CELEBRITY 
& THE VICTORIAN CARTE DE VISITE

Friday 15th October 2021

From the late 1850s to the mid-1870s a new craze gripped the world. Photography had just begun to be popularised, and suddenly nearly everyone could afford a portrait of themselves to share with others. These small photographic portraits mounted on card were shot professionally in studios and handed out like business or greetings cards – just like we share ‘selfies’ on today’s social media. Across nearly two decades, over 400 million cards were estimated to have been printed and shared with friends, family, and fans. We think we invented the ‘selfie’, but we didn’t – welcome to the Victorian carte de visite.

In this highly visual and relevant lecture, we’ll look at the rise and fall of the fashion, learn how these cards were used, and find ways of dating cards from clothing and hairstyles. We’ll examine in detail the hidden meanings behind the poses, facial expressions, backgrounds, and choice of clothes to reveal the fascinating histories behind these cards that were used by everyone from royalty to the man in the street.

Our lecturer is Mark Hill, lecturer, auctioneer, publisher and one of the BBC's Antique Roadshow experts.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

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COPIES, CURTAINS AND WAYS OF LOOKING:
EXPERIENCING PAINTINGS IN THE PAST

Friday 19th November 2021

How does our experience of living with and looking at works of art today compare to the viewing experience of earlier centuries?  This lecture will consider the very different conditions in which paintings were displayed and enjoyed in earlier centuries, as well as the very different responses that they evoked. It draws on the evidence in paintings themselves for the many surprising ways in which people handled, hung, used or responded to the art that they owned. From concealing their paintings with a small curtain, to the lighting by candle or window, and the grouping of copies together with originals.

Our lecturer is Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe, art historian and trained paintings conservator. 

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

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THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD

Friday 21st January 2022

In June 1520 Henry VIII and Francis 1 meet to ratify an Anglo-French alliance and celebrate the betrothal of Henry’s daughter Mary to the Dauphin. The two handsome ‘Renaissance Princes’ are in their 20s with similar reputations in military prowess, sport and patrons of the arts. Both have imperial ambitions and are eager to display themselves as magnificent nobleman and warrior kings. Each brings an entourage of 6,000 to a field south of Calais for 18 days of various events and entertainments staged to display the skill and splendour of each King and country. The logistics of transporting, accommodating, ordering, feeding and watering, protecting and entertaining the English contingent for this spectacular event is staggering and the supply chain, often through the City of London Guilds, is equally fascinating. 3,217 horses shipped across the ‘Narrow Sea’ to Calais; a vast quantity of wood sourced from Flanders and floated along the coast; a huge temporary palace is built on stone foundations with brick and timber-framed walls reaching to 40 feet. Royal palaces were virtually emptied of their silver, gold, tapestries and furniture to decorate the temporary palace, other principal tents and a chapel (with an organ); gold and silver cloth, velvet and sables, jewels and pearls were imported to ‘dress and impress’.

How was it all achieved?

Our lecturer is Joanna Mabbutt, decorative artist and accredited Arts Society Lecturer  

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

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A POTTED HISTORY OF BRITAIN

Friday 18th February 2022

The first pots appeared in Britain about 6000 years ago and this lecture will chart the ways in which ceramic production has evolved from this time to the present day. From the hand-formed and bonfire-fired pots of our prehistoric ancestors to the products of both modern industry and individual craft potters, this lecture will examine the major changes that have shaped the ways pots are produced and distributed. Roman industrialisation, the introduction of the potters wheel and kiln, the effects of the industrial revolution on rural potteries and the rise of the art potteries of the 19th century are all part of this evolving story, told through the pots themselves and the potters that made them. This is a genuinely a ‘potted history’.


Our lecturer is Julian Richards, archeologist, author, TV and Radio Broadcaster.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

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LOVE AND DELUSION:
THE ARTIST WIVES OF STANLEY SPENCER

Friday 18th June 2021

Visionary and eccentric, the worlds created in the paintings of Stanley Spencer are quite unique.  Just as remarkable was his relationship with his two wives. Hilda Carline became his first wife in 1925. Capable of sensitive and tender portraits and Spencer-like landscapes Hilda’s career never fully progressed after her marriage. Spencer then met a Cookham woman, Patricia Preece. She too was an artist but less gifted than her ‘companion’ Dorothy Hepworth. Paintings by Dorothy were exhibited and sold as by Patricia.

Spencer became obsessed with Patricia but for her his only attractions were his celebrity status and money. Four days after divorcing Hilda in 1937 he married Patricia. But Patricia and Dorothy continued to live together, deluding the art world with their paintings and Spencer that he had a loving second wife. This lecture examines the art produced by this infamous group of artists, including some of Spencer’s most powerful paintings.

Our lecturer is Alan Read, art historian and gallery guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery.


Venue:  Nadder Centre 4.30pm & 6.30pm

The lecture will also be delivered simultaneously via zoom at 6.30pm

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HERE LIES OUR SOVEREIGN LORD THE KING

Friday 18th March 2022

Our Arts Society accredited lecturer, Clive Barham Carter, writes:


"The excitement surrounding the discovery of Richard III (now, alas, forever to be known as the ‘king in the car park’) rekindled the enthusiasm I had, as a history teacher, to find out what we have done with our other kings. You may think we have them all safely at Westminster or Windsor, but it isn’t so: we have been pretty careless. Some are lost, some have been mauled about and at least five are abroad. So this lecture is a sort of quest, a monarch-hunt which, since this is The Arts Society, will concentrate on: architecture (splendid), sculpture (astonishing), painting (jewel-like), with a little bit of history (odd, mostly) for excitement. Those of a nervous disposition will be relieved to hear that it’s not gruesome... well, not very.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 6.30pm

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THE ART OF RABINDRATH TAGORE

Friday 16th July 21

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is arguably the most important Indian artistic figure of the modern era. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that he had two gurus: Gandhi and Tagore. A renowned poet, novelist, composer and painter, Tagore is also the only person in history to have written the national anthems for two countries (India and Bangladesh). He became a global sensation when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the first non-European to do so. This lecture provides an introduction to Tagore’s remarkable life and work, including his novels, poetry, songs and paintings. It also explores the role Tagore’s art played in the story of India’s fight for independence.

Our lecturer is Dr John Stevens, academic at School of Oriental and African studies at the University of London and author regularly appearing in Indian media. He discussed Tagore in BBC's In our Time with Melvyn Bragg.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 4.30pm & 6.30pm

The lecture will also be delivered simultaneously via zoom at 6.30pm

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THE BORGIAS

THE MOST INFAMOUS FAMILY IN HISTORY

Friday 21st May 2021

Murder, poison, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? This lecture reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politics during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal, general, employer of Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince, and the journey of Lucrezia Borgia from “the greatest whore in Rome” to a devout and treasured duchess of the city Ferrara.

Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth.

Our lecturer is novelist and broadcaster Sarah Dunant.

Venue:  Nadder Centre 4.30pm & 6.30pm

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GEORGE CHINNERY


THE GREATEST ARTIST OF BRITISH INDIA AND THE FAR EAST

Friday 16th April 2021

Horace Walpole said, in 1783, that ‘No man ever went to the East Indies with good intentions’ and George Chinnery was certainly that man. Running away from debt and his wife, who he charmingly described as ‘the ugliest woman I have ever seen’, he settled in India for 23 years before running away from debt again to China. This talk covers his portraits of many of the leading figures of the East India Company as well as his beautiful scenes of everyday life and landscapes.


Our lecturer is Clive Stewart-Lockhart, with a long career in the fine art world, including appearing as a specialist in BBC's Antiques Roadshow he now lectures for the Arts Society and is an independent art advisor.

Via Zoom 6.30pm

 

LECTURE SEASON 2020-2021

Inform, Educate, Entertain

Our programme is available to members only.  Guests of members are welcome for a fee of £10.00 per lecture - call on 07391 237 776

Membership Fees £40 single & £80 for joint 

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PEGGY GUGGENHEIM

Friday 19th March 2021

The'poor little rich girl' who changed the face of twentieth century art. Not only was Peggy Guggenheim ahead of her time but she was the woman who helped define it. She discovered and nurtured a new generation of artists producing a new kind of art. Through collecting not only art but the artists themselves, her life was as radical as her collection.


Our lecturer is Alexandra Epps, Official Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Guildhall Art Gallery.

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm

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ART BEHIND BARS
THE ROLE OF ARTS IN THE CYCLE OF CRIME,
PRISON AND REOFFENDING

Friday 18th September 2020

In this thought-provoking talk our lecturer Angela Findlay, offers a deeper understanding of the minds, lives and challenges of offenders. 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. With extraordinary 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. Angela is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. 

Venue:  Dinton Village Hall - 4.30pm and 6.30pm 

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DISCOVERING  MCDONALD GILL

ARCHITECT, ARTIST AND MAPMAKER

Friday 16th October 2020

MacDonald 'Max' Gill, younger brother of the sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, was an architect, graphic designer and letterer, best known for his pictorial maps, especially those for the London Underground. He also created painted maps for Arts & Crafts houses including Lindisfarne Castle, magnificent murals for Cunard liners, and eye-catching publicity posters for organisations such as the Empire Marketing Board. An enduring legacy is his alphabet for the Imperial War Graves Commission used on all British military headstones since the First World War. This illustrated talk by Max Gill’s great-niece, Caroline Walker presents a colourful overview of this versatile artist's personal life and artistic achievements.



Venue: Nadder Centre - 4.30pm & 6.30pm 

The lecture will also be delivered simultaneously via zoom at 6.30pm

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DIDO ELIZABETH BELLE &

THE BEGINNINGS OF ABOLITION

Friday 30th October 2020

In the late 18th century, Britain led the way in the major industry of slavery, which although it did not invent, it did industrialise to an extent never seen before in human history.

This lecture will trace the beginnings of abolition through the eyes of Dido Elizabeth Belle a black woman living in Kenwood House in the late 18th century, and the only known portrait of her painted by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810). The lecture will take us back in time on a journey that will not only look at the image of Dido, but will also look at a variety of images by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and Joseph Mallord William Turner.  These artists and their paintings will be seen in the context of abolition, the changing social attitudes towards the industry of slavery, and the first stirrings of the Anti-Slavery movement in Britain. Our lecturer is Leslie Primo, who not only lectures for the Arts Society but guides in both the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. 

Venue: Nadder Centre - 4.30pm & 6.30pm 

The lecture will also be delivered simultaneously via zoom at 6.30pm

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THE TWO GUSTAV'S: MAHLER AND KLIMT

Friday 20th November 2020

Gustav Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the imperially endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Secession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. Comparing these two totemic fin de siècle talents, this lecture places Klimt and Mahler in context, asking what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides them. Our lecturer is writer and broadcaster, Gavin Plumley.

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm

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PHOTOGRAPHY AS ART

Friday 4th December 2020

Should we accept that the very best photographs can be regarded as Fine Art? This question is at the heart of a lecture which argues that photography can equal, not to say exceed, more traditional disciplines in the key genres of portaiture, landscape and still life. Photography, moreover, has carved its own area of excellence in depicting the human condition. All these ideas are discussed with reference to the work of some of the acknowledged masters of photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fay Godwin, Bill Brandt, Ansel Adams and Wolfgang Tillmans.  Our lecturer is Brian Stater,  Senior Teaching Fellow at University College London and 

member of the Association of Historical and Fine Art Photography.

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm

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GILES: HIS LIFE, TIMES AND CARTOONS

Friday 15th January 2021

The cartoonist, Carl Giles, once said that he loved his creation, Grandma Giles – that fearsome, black-clad, gambling, drinking battleaxe – because she allowed him to say things through his cartoons that he was too polite to say in person. She helped him to poke fun at authority in all its forms, from Hitler to traffic wardens and even his employers at the Daily Express, who didn’t trust him and had sub-editors scouring his cartoons for subversive background details. His admirers included Prince Charles, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Tommy Cooper, and it was no surprise when he was voted Britain’s best-loved cartoonist in 2000. Few people realise, however, that this likeable and humane satirist was also a war correspondent who witnessed the horrors of Belsen, where he found that the camp commandant, Josef Kramer, was also a great fan of his work. Giles gave us a remarkable picture of a half-century of British life. He was also, as his editor John Gordon put it “a spreader of happiness’ and ‘a genius…with the common touch’.


Our lecturer is Barry Venning, historian of British Art

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm

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THE QUEEN OF INSTRUMENTS:

THE LUTE WITHIN OLD MASTER PAINTINGS

Friday 29th January 2021

The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden-haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages.


Our lecturer is Adam Busiakiewicz Art Historian & lutenist and will include live music.

The lecture will also be delivered  via zoom at 6.00pm

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SPANISH STILL LIFE -17TH TO 19TH CENTURY

Friday 19th February 2021

Robert Hughes wrote of Still life painting; ‘Still Life is to eating what the nude is to sex’, although he did admit that Spanish Still Life painting is ‘more sacramental than gastronomic’. The lecture will cover a cabbage that has been painted with such astonishing accuracy that the painted version is more alluring than the vegetable itself. You’d rather make soup with a cabbage painted by Sanchez Cotán than a cabbage bought in Waitrose.... Goya’s painting of a pile of 6 silvery fish, is a political commentary on the disasters of war. These bream have been abandoned on a beach in the middle of the night, left to rot in the sand, evidence of reckless waste at a time of famine. Through this and others paintings by Velazquez, Zurburán, and Meléndez, we shall explore several stunning key themes that can all be discerned from arrangements of simple food stuffs; religious fervour and symbolism, the absence of presence and that importance generates waste.

Our lecturer is Dan Evans, Housemaster at Cheltenham College. 

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm

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CATHERINE DE MEDICI: POOR QUEEN

THE STORY OF THREE IN A MARRIAGE 

Friday 26th February 2021

This is the story of this unfortunate young woman who left Florence to be Queen of France, and the unhappy life that followed. She was a brave woman, who suffered every indignity at the French Court, but survived all her enemies.


Our Lecturer is Carline Rayman, a regular and popular Arts Society Lecturer.

The lecture will be delivered via zoom at 6.00pm