Monthly Archives: July 2020

Tuesday 11th August 2020 – The Old East End – A Virtual Tour

The Old East End – A Virtual Tour

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Pepe Martinez

Cabinet at Rodmarton Manor

The Arrival Memorial
Liverpool Street Station

Image: Wjh31 Own Work
Used under Creative Commons licence

The East End is one of London’s most fascinating and dynamic districts.  It is essentially the story of immigration, wave after wave of people coming to London to seek refuge and look for a better life.

The Old East End Virtual tour tells their story.  Using powerful images, video and Google street view, our journey takes us from the arrival of French Huguenots in the 1680s through to the more than 10,000 Jewish Kindertransport children who arrived at Liverpool Street station in 1939. 

Pepe Martinez is an award winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide.  He was born in the East End and has lived there all his life. He is an accredited Institute of Tourist Guiding Trainer and is currently tutoring on the London Blue Badge training course.

This “virtual tour” was streamed online on Tuesday 11th August 2020 at 2:00pm.

Click here for our September lecture

Day – August 2023 – Sezincote and Batsford Arboretum

Wednesday 9th August 2023

Sezincote and Batsford Arboretum

Sezincote Palace and Gardens
Image © Sezincote website
Used with permission

Sezincote is a family run estate, covering over 4,500 acres of rolling countryside and featuring waterfalls and canals. At the heart of the estate stands a 200 year old Mogal style house complete with temples and grottoes and a beautiful orangery.

Following our trip and refreshing morning coffee, we were treated to tours of the house. Lunch was taken nearby at a local establishment in a countryside setting, before we departed for Batsford Arboretum.  Created in the late 1800s by Lord Redesdale and now run by the Batsford Foundation, the Arboretum is heavily influenced by the Far East. It houses a unique collection of beautiful and rare trees, shrubs and bamboos.

Batsford Arboretum
Image © Batsford Arboretum
Used with permission

We had free flow of both the garden, garden centre and garden terrace cafe before departing for home.

The weather was very kind and an enjoyable day was had by all.

Day – May 2023 – Dorneywood House and Dorney Court

Wednesday 10th May 2023

Dorneywood House and Dorney Court

Dorney Court
Image © Ann Pitt

Dorneywood House is an 18th century house in Buckinghamshire traditionally used as the grace and favour house of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Originally a Georgian farmhouse, it has Victorian and later additions, and following a fire in 1910, was remodelled in 1919 by Robert Lorimer. The house will be opened especially for us in the morning. 

After our journey the day began with a refreshing coffee, followed by a tour of the house and free flow of the gardens. We then enjoyed a private finger lunch under the marquee at Dorneywood.

Close by is Dorney Court, a grade one listed Tudor Manor House dating from around 1440.  It is one of England’s loveliest houses renowned for its architectural importance and often used as film and television settings.  It has been in the Palmer family for nearly half a millennium, and we had guided tours of the house, followed by a visit to the nearby garden centre.

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – The Ashcan Painters: Founders of New York Realism

The Ashcan Painters: Founders of New York Realism

Men of the Docks

Men of the Docks

George Bellows 1912
Image credit: © The National Gallery, London

Wednesday 13th April 2022

Mary Alexander

“The fun of being a New York painter is that landmarks are torn down so rapidly that your canvases become historic records almost before the paint on them is dry.”  John Sloan

The term ‘Ashcan School’ was used to describe the realism and contemporary subject matter of a New York based group of artists, exhibiting as ‘The Eight’ in 1908.  In fact, they were not a formal school or an ‘ism’, nor were their subjects confined to gritty realism, but they shared a fascination with zesty everyday life scenes, delighting in depicting the leisures and pleasures of the city’s working inhabitants, as well as their trades and toils.  Each had an individual style, and all rejected the stolid conservatism and rigid teaching practices of the National Academy of Design.  In this lecture we will explore the work of this extraordinary group of individual artists and friends who came together to exhibit paintings, share ideas, and create vivid and stunningly beautiful images of a New York city in transition at the beginning of the twentieth century. 

This lecture will explore the work of this extraordinary group of individual artists who created vivid and stunningly beautiful images of a New York city in transition at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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

Note this lecture is on the second Wednesday of the month.

Click here for our May lecture

Wednesday 2nd June 2021 – David Bomberg’s Lost Legacy: A Master Painter and His Students

David Bomberg’s Lost Legacy: A Master Painter and His Students

Sappers at work - Canadian Tunnelling Company, R14, St Eloi

Sappers at work – Canadian Tunnelling Company, R14, St Eloi

David Bomberg, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Kate Aspinall

In this lecture we’ll discover the power of one of the most passionate, pugnacious and underappreciated painters in twentieth-century Britain.

Neglected for much of his lifetime, David Bomberg has only recently been rightfully celebrated with exhibitions across the country.  

We’ll explore what it is in his painting that touches a nerve today as much as it did for the talented group of artists who studied with him. From Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff to Dennis Creffield, David Bomberg’s passion and craft revived the British tradition of expressive naturalism and created a visual language that remains very much alive today.

Dr Kate Aspinall is an independent historian, writer, and artist.  Based in London, she focuses her art historical work on British visual culture in the 20th century.  She teaches for the Courtauld and Yale in London and has spoken at a range of galleries and public institutions, including Tate, the Towner and Pallant House.  

In addition to her art practice, which recently won a grant from the European Commission, she was a long-term consultant for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and until recently she served as a Trustee of the Association for Art History, representing freelance and independent art historians.  She has degrees from the University of St Andrews, the Courtauld Institute and the University of East Anglia. 

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 2nd June 2021 at 11:00am.

Click here for our July lecture

Wednesday 6th July 2022 – Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion: The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures

Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion:
The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures

Burning playing cards

Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash

Wednesday 6th July 2022

Bertie Pearce

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic has been widespread. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. In the age of the Music Hall audiences flocked in their thousands to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. Even today, with the craze for Harry Potter, the wonder and surprise of magic are as popular as ever. This lecture will be a whistle stop tour of the history of magic from 3000 BC to the present day.

Bertie Pearce is a member of the Inner Magic Circle. He has toured the world with his one-man cabaret show All Aboard, performed on cruise ships, and lectured to a wide range of art and history societies including twice recently to great acclaim at Royal Leamington Spa.

This lecture will follow the AGM which will begin at 10:30am

Wednesday 5th May 2021 – Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Poster for the Bauhaus Austellung (1923)

Poster for the Bauhaus Austellung (1923)
Joost Schmidt

Image in the public domain

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Gavin Plumley

After World War I, with Europe reeling from the worst conflict ever known, artists and architects were in a state of flux; 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 lecture will look at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

Gavin Plumley lectures widely on the culture of Central Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide.

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 5th May 2021 at 11:00am.

Click here for our June lecture

Wednesday 3rd March – The Sphinx of Delft: Vermeer’s Masterpieces

The Sphinx of Delft: Vermeer’s Masterpieces

The Girl with the Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675)

Mauritshuis Museum, The Hague
Image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday 3rd March 2021

Stella Grace Lyons

Johannes Vermeer is today regarded as one of the most important painters in art history. Yet this wasn’t always the case. He was almost entirely forgotten for two centuries after his death, only to be rediscovered in the 1800s. 

Vermeer’s works are revered for their rich colours, quality of light and for his ability to imbue everyday scenes with poetry and serenity.

Vermeer is a highly mysterious figure; there is very little historical documentation about him in existence, and fewer than forty works are attributed to him. As a result, he’s earned the nickname ‘the Sphinx of Delft’.

This lecture will  explore his masterpieces, including ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’.

Stella Grace Lyons is a freelance lecturer in art history. After gaining her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol and her MA in History of Art from the University of Warwick, Stella spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice.

Stella is also a part-time lecturer for the University of South Wales.

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 11:00am.

Please note that this is a change to our published Programme for copyright and intellectual property reasons. We hope that Stella will present her original lecture on Norwegian art in February 2022.

Click here for our April lecture

Wednesday 3rd February 2021 – Coventry Cathedral: Icon and Insipration

Coventry Cathedral: Icon and Inspiration

Stained Glass, Coventry Cathedral

Stained Glass, Coventry Cathedral

Image by Julia Schwab from Pixabay

Wednesday 3rd February 2021

Alexandra Epps

Ahead of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, this lecture will tell the extraordinary story of the rebuilding of the Cathedral as a symbol of peace and reconciliation and its inspiring commitment to the modern.

We’ll experience the work of many of the world class artists associated with its treasures, including Jacob Epstein, Elizabeth Frink, John Piper and Graham Sutherland.

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.

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 11:00am.

Click here for our March lecture

Wednesday 6th January 2021 – Giles: His Life, Times and Cartoons

Giles: His Life, Times and Cartoons

The Giles Grandma Statue, Ipswich

The Giles Grandma Statue, Ipswich
© Jim Linwood on Flickr

Used under Creative Commons Licence

Wednesday 6th January 2021

Barry Venning

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.

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’.

Barry Venning is an art historian with a particular interest in the work of JMW Turner. His interests and his teaching extend from medieval architecture to contemporary British art. He is currently Associate Lecturer with the Open University and lecturing on a freelance basis for The Arts Society and Christie’s Education.

This lecture was streamed online on Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 11:00am.

Click here for our February lecture