Monthly Archives: June 2019

Discovery Trail – St Mark’s, Milverton

St Mark’s, Milverton

St Marks, Milverton

A group of Brownies from St Mark’s Church, Milverton, was the first to use the latest trail produced by The Arts Society, Royal Leamington Spa.

The Victorian church was originally designed by George Gilbert Scott Junior but has been much altered to fit with changing needs.

The trail was created by Rosemary Jewel-Clark, Anne Roberts, Pat Whorton and Edwina McConville. They received encouragement and support from the vicar, Rev Joanna Parker and Ros Davies, the Children and Families Work Coordinator.

The Brownie pack, with their leaders, enthusiastically used their skills of observation and asked questions as they looked for information and items around the church. One Brownie was heard to say ‘This is really good fun’!

The new materials are now a gift from The Arts Society to the church, and will be available for use by visiting groups, schools and visitors to the church.

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 – Catherine de Medici: the Story of Three in a Marriage

Catherine de Medici: the Story of Three in a Marriage

Tomb of Catherine de Medici and Henry II – Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis – Paris.

Image used under Wikipedia Creative Commons Licence-SA 3.0

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

Caroline Rayman

Catherine de Medici, the only woman ever to rule France, married Henry, second son of King Francis I. This was a dazzling match for a Florentine “daughter of a merchant”. But the young bride arrived in a strange country to find a third person in the marriage, and her new husband completely uninterested in her.

She had enemies in the French court and life was a great struggle. After many unhappy years, she became ruler of France (three of her sons would rule after her) and mother-in-law to Mary Queen of Scots.

Caroline Rayman has lectured for many years to universities and art organisations in America and on cruises. She was an official guide at the British Museum and has published articles on samplers. Her lectures range from the role of the royal mistress in history to more scholarly lectures on Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Wednesday 1st July 2020 – The Art of Taking Tea

The Art of Taking Tea

The Art of Taking Tea
Afternoon Tea, 1886.
Chromolithograph after Kate Greenaway
Credit: Welcome Collection

© Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions

Wednesday 1st July 2020

Gaye Blake Roberts

This lecture will explore the extraordinary story of the development of drinking tea in Britain from its introduction, through the importance of the Far Eastern trade, to the general usage of tea in modern times. It will examine the changing styles and uses of tea wares and will also look at the implications of how the beverage altered the habits of the nation.

Gaye Blake Roberts is Curator of the Wedgwood Museum, having worked previously at the V&A and the Coalport China Works Museum.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Museums Association.

Gaye has lectured extensively throughout Britain, Italy, Australia and the USA and has often appeared on national radio and television.

She has contributed to catalogues for major exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, the V&A and other international museums and has written a number of specialist books on ceramics and the creativity and innovation of Wedgwood.

Note that this meeting will not now take place in the Royal Spa Centre due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. It may be rescheduled for a later date.

Instead, please click here to see details of our online lecture on 1st July.

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – Women Behind the Lens: Outstanding Female Photographers and Their Contribution to the Art of Photography

Women Behind the Lens: Outstanding Female Photographers and Their Contribution to the Art of Photography

Migrant Woman - Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother (1936)
Dorothea Lange

Image in the public domain

Wednesday 7th April 2021

Brian Stater

The work of women photographers has often been unfairly neglected. This lecture seeks to correct that by examining the contribution of three outstanding British practitioners; Victorian pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron, portraitist Jane Bown and landscape photographer Fay Godwin – and that of two influential Americans – Dorothea Lange, with her documentary images, and contemporary photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Brian Stater is a Senior Teaching Fellow at University College London. His principal academic interest lies in the appreciation of architecture, while a strong personal enthusiasm is for photography. An exhibition of his own photographs has been held at University College London. He is a member of the Association of Historical and Fine Art Photography and works with a pre-war Leica camera, as used by his great hero Henri Cartier-Bresson and many others.

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 7th April 2021 at 11:00am.

Click here for our May lecture

Wednesday 1st June 2022 – Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim

Guggenheim Venice
Guggenheim Museum, Venice
Image by Waldo Miguez from Pixabay

Wednesday 1st June 2022

Alexandra Epps

Peggy Guggenheim was the ‘poor little rich girl’ who changed the face of twentieth century art. Not only was she 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.

Alexandra Epps’ background is in design, having practised as a graphic designer running her own business for many years.  She now works as a guide to the City of London, and as a guide and lecturer to Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Guildhall Art Gallery and Pallant House Gallery.

Click here for our July lecture

Wednesday 1st April 2020 – Raphael: A Master in the Making

Raphael: A Master in the Making

The Transfiguration - Raphael

The Transfiguration by Raphael
[Public domain image]

Wednesday 1st April 2020

Siân Walters

Raphael, one of the three giants of the High Renaissance in Italy alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, moved from humble commissions in Urbino to become one of the leading artists at the court of Pope Julius II in Rome. This lecture explores how he achieved this extraordinary rise in status.

Siân is a highly qualified and experienced tutor and events organiser, and lectures regularly for the National Gallery, The Arts Society, The Art Fund, Friends of the Royal Academy and many other galleries, colleges and arts societies. She was a lecturer at Surrey University for many years and in 2016 was named a Highly Commended finalist in the World’s Best Guide Awards.  Siân is a firm believer in making art history fun!

Note that this meeting will not now take place in the Royal Spa Centre due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. Instead, the lecture will be streamed live on the internet. Full details will be emailed to members shortly.

Wednesday 4th March 2020 – Charles Dickens – The Man, His Life, and His Characters

Charles Dickens – The Man, His Life, and His Characters

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens by Crowdy & Loud, after G.L. Lea, or after Mason & Co (Robert Hindry Mason) photogravure, published 21 December 1901 (1863) NPG x28075

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Wednesday 4th March 2020

Bertie Pearce

Charles John Huffam Dickens brought into the world a staggering array of wonderful characters with orphans, starving children, misers, murderers and abusive school teachers among them.

People such as Mr Micawber, Fagin and Abel Magwitch remain in one’s literary psyche long after the books are put down.

Largely self-educated, Dickens possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age with fifteen major novels and countless short stories and articles.

In this lecture Bertie Pearce looks at the life and places of Dickens through his characters. The talk is interspersed with readings of his works. A truly Dickensian experience.

Bertie has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. He is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. Past experience includes lecturing and performing on cruise ships, and to U3A, historical societies, festivals, schools and colleges. In addition, he has toured the world with a magic cabaret show and a one man show entitled All Aboard and has written articles for newspapers and magazines on entertainment and theatre.

Wednesday 5th February 2020 – Art of the Islands: An Introduction to Early Medieval Art in Britain and Ireland c. 500-850

Art of the Islands: An Introduction to Early Medieval Art in Britain and Ireland c. 500-850

The Ardagh Chalice
Photograph © National Museum
of Ireland

Wednesday 5th February 2020

Michelle Brown

The different cultures present in these islands before the Norman conquest produced stunning metalwork such as the Sutton Hoo and Staffordshire Hoard, the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara brooch, magnificent manuscripts such as the books of Durrow and Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, and sculptures such as the Ruthwell Cross and the enigmatic Pictish carvings.

This illustrated lecture will trace the interaction of these cultures – Celtic, Pictic, Anglo-Saxon and Viking – across the various artistic media, setting them within the historical context.

Michelle holds a BA in History and History of Art, Westfield College, and a PhD in History, UCL.   She is Professor Emerita of Medieval Manuscript Studies, SAS, University of London, Visiting Professor at UCL and Baylor University, and Senior Researcher at the University of Oslo.

She was formerly a Course Tutor in History of the Book (SAS), Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, and lecturer at Birkbeck and Morley Colleges.

Her recent publications include The Book and the Transformation of Britain, c.550-1050 (2011) and Art of the Islands: Celtic, Pictish and Anglo-Saxon Visual Culture (Bodleian, 2016).

Wednesday 6th November 2019 – Secret Art in the Passport: How we use it to fox the forger

Secret Art in the Passport: How we use it to fox the forger

Secret Art Passport

Wednesday 6th November 2019

Martin Lloyd

From the wax seal to the microchip, man has exploited the skill of the artist and artisan in his attempt to manufacture a forgery-proof document.

Taking you through three centuries of passport design, this lecture explains the overt, and uncovers the covert, to illustrate the defences built in to the passport and the tricks the forger uses to defeat them.

Martin Lloyd has been lecturing to various groups, including U3A, National Trust, historical societies, Gresham College and business groups since 2008. He previously worked for HM Immigration Service, and has broadcast on local and national television and radio.