Monthly Archives: June 2023

Wednesday 6th September 2023 – Edward Hopper: Painter of Loneliness

Wednesday 6th September 2023

Edward Hopper: Painter of Loneliness

Speaker: Lydia Bauman

Lydia Bauman gave a very interesting lecture on the 20th Century American Artist, Edward Hopper, known as the Painter of Lonliness and who became the poster-boy of the Pandemic.  His dramatic paintings showing very few people compared to his contempories mirrors his character, he was a man of few words, uncomfortable in company and an outsider.  His wife, on the otherhand, was tiny, vivacous, talkative and a painter in her own right. She was his subject and muse throughout their marriage.  He endeavoured to capture the way sunlight falls on a building and sundown was his favourite time.

Nighthawks – Wikimedia open access

Wednesday 4th October 2023 – Banksy: Fraud or Genius?

Wednesday 4th October 2023

Banksy: Fraud or Genius?

Pepe Martinez

This lecture traced the story of Banksy’s meteoric rise from a tagger on the streets of Bristol in the 1980s to one of the most recognisable names in the art world. It covered his early work, contemporaries, major exhibitions, and how the art worlds dramatic change of perspective shifted through time.

Dover 2019

Since qualifying as a London blue badge tourist guide in 2011, Pepe has specialised in the graffiti and street art of East London. Prior to becoming a London blue badge guide he worked as a tour manager, travelling extensively all over the world.

Wednesday 1st November 2023 – Irving Finkel: The Lewis Chessmen and What Happened to Them

Wednesday 1st November 2023

The Lewis Chessmen and What Happened to Them

Speaker: Irving Finkel

We finished our lecture season before breaking for Christmas on a high.  Irving Finkel gave us a very entertaining and funny personal account of his involvement with the Lewis Chessmen, which he has been passionate about for over 50 years. The pieces are carved out of walrus tusks and would have originated from Scandinavia in the 12th century. Further reading:

Wednesday 7th February 2024 – Sarah Lenton: Lilian Baylis: All Done on Ginger Beer

Wednesday 7th February 2024

Lilian Baylis: All Done on Ginger Beer

Speaker: Sarah Lenton

We were royally entertained at the Arts Society when Sarah Lenton gave a superb talk on ‘Lilian Baylis: All Done on Ginger Beer’.  Lilian was a formidable lady in the 20s and 30s and founded three of our National treasures – The National Theatre which started life at The Old Vic; English Opera at the London Coliseum and the National Ballet at Sadler’s Wells.  Sarah took us through the developmental of all three supported with fabulous photos and music.

Lilian Baylis by Hugh Cecil, Grafton Street, W1 – The Tatler,

Lilian had a strong sense of vocation and even though her actors and dancers received little money she encouraged them and they had very good training; many went on to be very familiar names.  Why Ginger Beer – her Aunt who owned the Old Vic also owned the cafe fronting the building and this was a coffee and ginger beer house.  The ginger beer crates were saved and used as all sorts of scenery.

Sarah Lenton has spent her working life in the theatre, at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Garsington Opera. She is a cartoonist who also writes programme articles, radio and play scripts, gives lectures on the operas and ballets and broadcasts regularly for BBC Radios 3 and 4.

Wednesday 6th March 2024 – Patrick Craig: La Serenissima: The Golden Era of Music in Venice

Wednesday 6th March 2024

La Serenissima: The Golden Era of Music in Venice

Patrick Craig

Patrick concentrated on the 200 year period 1527 – 1741, the Golden Age of Music.  We were introduced to a number of lesser known composers and superb pictures and music to liven the talk. What later became Opera was known as Musica Venezia and the composers composed music for voices accompanied by the organs.  San Marco had two choir stalls each with their own organ known as no. 1 and n.2 and the musicians and choristers followed one large sheet music. Later was introduced a third choir stall in the Doge’s private chapel at the back of the cathedral. At this time Venice was the home of musical publishing. Patrick also sang to us.  It was a lively, colourful interesting lecture.

Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi (c. 1630) public domain

Patrick Craig is a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral. For twenty years he sang with the renowned early music consort The Tallis Scholars. He founded and conducts the country’s leading all-female professional choir, Aurora Nova.

Wednesday 3rd April 2024 – Helen Oakden: Marina Abramović

Wednesday 3rd April 2024

Marina Abramović

Speaker: Helen Oakden

Helen Oakden gave a fascinating, sensitive and comprehensive lecture introducing us to Marina Abramovic.  Marina was a pioneer of performance art. Over her 50 year career she developed her work to reflect her changing perceptions of the world.  Helen looked at the question of whether performance art can outlive the performance itself.  Marina had a very harsh and severe childhood in Yugoslavia under Tito’s regime.  For the rest of her life she wanted to prove how resilient she was and collected her energy from the audience – the audience flow.  She worked for a few years with her partner and lover, the German artist –  Ulay S’he on many of their installations. When their relationship finished she continued working all over the world on installations and it was over 30 years before she saw Ulay again. She won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biannale. In her early works she was influenced by Marcel Duchamp. In 2023 the Royal Academy gave room for an exhibition of her work and it was the first time a female performance artist had been represented.

Helen was also the subject of ‘Desrt Island Disks’ in early 2024.

Here’s the link:
Desert Island Discs

Marina Abramović – The Artist Is Present – Viennale 2012 Wikimedia

Helen is the Head of the History of Art Department at St Mary’s School Ascot. She studied at Manchester University and achieved her Master’s Degree in architectural history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Based in London, she has previously worked for the Royal Academy and National Gallery, as well as leading specialised art history courses across Italy.

Click here for details of next month’s lecture.

Wednesday 1st May 2024 – Nicholas Henderson: How to Read an English Country Church: Pre-Christian to the Anglo-Saxon

Wednesday 1st May 2024

How to read an English Country Church: Pre-Christian to the Anglo-Saxon

Nicholas Henderson

Architectural, historical, religious and social changes have shaped and formed our church buildings. It is possible to ‘read’ the passage of time, movements, cultures and peoples in the architecture and art forms evident in many of our English country churches. This lecture will take us through the first of four overarching eras, from the pre-Christian era, through the arrival of the Romans, to the Anglo-Saxons.

Escomb Saxon

A graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Nicholas trained for the Anglican ministry at Ripon Hall, Oxford. He was formerly Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Lake Malawi in Central Africa (2005-2009) and undertook his doctorate on Lay Anglican Ecclesiology with the University of Wales, Lampeter. He lectures regularly and currently works as a parish priest in West London.

Click here for details of next month’s lecture.

Wednesday 5th June 2024 – Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe: The Forensic Eye: Find Your Inner Connoisseur

Wednesday 5th June 2024

The Forensic Eye: Find Your Inner Connoisseur

Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe

How do dealers, auctioneers and museum staff determine whether a piece is by one painter or another? Artists before the 18th century usually worked with a number of assistants around them, trained to reproduce the style of the master as closely as possible. How can we study these workshop productions, distinguishing between master and pupil, master and copyists? In this lecture, Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe will consider clues, weigh up their relative usefulness, and reveal some of the tricks of the connoisseur.


Chantal has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh and a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London University. She has trained as a painting conservator, and has taught at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the MA in Fine and Decorative Arts since 1989 as well as for a number of societies and institutions in London: these have included the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection.

Wednesday 3rd July 2024 – Colin Shindler: Charlie Chaplin: Tortured Genius

Wednesday 3rd July 2024

Charlie Chaplin: Tortured Genius

Speaker: Colin Shindler

Charlie Chaplin was a man of contradictions – a playboy and a workaholic, an innovative artist and the last to embrace talking pictures. Chaplin revolutionised the language of cinema and in his guise as The Little Tramp he became the most universally recognised performer of all time. He had a tortured private life, but he was adept at using elements of that life in his films. He was one of the few Hollywood producers to make an overt political stand in his films Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940). His early films, particularly The Kid (1921) drew on the experiences of immigrants and the urban poor and on memories of his own deprived childhood in the slums of London.


Colin Shindler has been lecturing on American and British social and cultural history for over 20 years. He was awarded his PhD at Cambridge University and subsequently lectured on film for their History Faculty between 1998 and 2019, exploring its relationship to modern British and American social and cultural history.  Between 1975 and 1999 he pursued a wide-ranging career as a writer and producer in television, radio and film. He won a BAFTA award for his production of A Little Princess. His production of Young Charlie Chaplin was nominated for a US Prime Time Emmy. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film Buster and was the producer of various television dramas such as Lovejoy and Wish Me Luck. He has written three novels as well as numerous television scripts and radio plays: his most recent radio play Leni Goes to Hollywood, about the German film director Leni Riefenstahl, was broadcast on Radio 4 in August 2021. Other radio plays for R4 included How To Be An Internee (about P.G. Wodehouse) and one on Private Eye & The Profumo Affair (Rumours). He is the author of Barbed Wire and Cucumber Sandwiches: The Controversial South Africa Cricket Tour of 1970 which was short listed for the MCC/Wisden Cricket Book of the Year in 2021. He is best known for his childhood memoir Manchester United Ruined My Life which was short listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His other publications include Hollywood Goes To War: Films & American 1952 Society 1939-and Hollywood in Crisis: Films & American Society 1929-1939.  I’m Sure I speak for Thousands of Others (2017) was a history of unpublished letters written to the BBC and his non-fiction novel Garbo & Gilbert in Love was an imaginative reconstruction of the infamous relationship of the two MGM stars. He is currently working on the television adaptation of his novel Hollywood Nazis. His next book is titled Granada Land: Coronation Street and the Emergence of the North 1960-1970. 

This lecture will follow the Annual General Meeting which will begin at 10:30am.