Category Archives: Previous Lectures

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 5th July 2023 – A Bit of a Carry On: Tyler Butterworth

Wednesday 5th July 2023

A Bit of a Carry On

Lecturer: Tyler Butterworth

This lecture will tell the remarkable story of Carry On actor Peter Butterworth and his wife, Britain’s first female television impressionist Janet Brown, best known for her impression of Mrs Thatcher. Using classic film and tv clips, personal mementos, and rare photographs and letters from his family’s unseen collection, Tyler will reveal the private story behind his parents’ public lives. It’s a journey that will take in MI9, the building of a theatre in the notorious WW2 Prisoner of War camp Stalag Luft III, nights at Chequers with a Prime Minister, This Is Your Life and many more moments in their long, shared life in the theatre. 

Tyler Butterworth spent twenty-five years as an actor working extensively in film, television, theatre and radio. He then worked as a development producer in television documentaries and was closely involved with NASA on a landmark commemorative television series. He now works as a voice actor, recording audiobooks, documentaries and voiceovers, and produces walking audio guides to cities across Europe. He lives in Sussex where he walks on the South Downs and the South Coast.

Wednesday 7th June 2023 – Leni Riefentahl: Hitler’s Filmmaker

Wednesday 7th June 2023

Leni Riefenstahl: Hitler’s Filmmaker

Lecturer: Howard Smith

Leni Riefenstahl was undoubtedly one of the most creative women of the twentieth century. From her early days dancing on Berlin’s stages, to becoming an actress and then producing her own films, she was always difficult and uncompromising in what she wanted to achieve. Her iconic films of the 1934 Nuremburg Nazi rally and the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were exceptional, using techniques that were way ahead of their time and still used in documentaries today. After the war, having been cleared by three Nazi tribunals, she went to live with a remote tribe in Africa, producing stunning photographs and documentaries.

Howard Smith is a retired graphic designer. Born during the Second World War, he was educated in Scotland and gained an MA from Trinity College, Dublin. In the 1960s he worked for UK and International advertising agencies before starting his own marketing and print company in Canterbury.

Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Joaquin Sorolla: Painter of Light

Wednesday 5th April 2023

Joaquin Sorolla: Painter of Light

Lecturer: Jacqueline Cockburn

Jacqueline Cockburn certainly brightened our very dull and rainy day with an excellent and uplifting lecture on the Spanish painter, Joaquin Sorolla, known as the Painter of Light.  Sorollo has become more well known in the last 5 years. A prolific and very famous painter during his lifetime. The screen lit up with his large colourful bright canvasses, many showing his favourite theme of the beach in Valencia.

Jacqueline Cockburn is a course director and lecturer at the V & A, lectures at The Royal Academy, The Art Fund and The London Art History Society, and has toured New Zealand and Australia for The Arts Society. Her specialist field is Spanish Art. She is Managing Director of an arts tours company running residential courses in Andalucía in the art and culture of the region.

Wednesday 5th October 2022 – Thomas Heatherwick: A Modern Leonardo?

Wednesday 5th October 2022

Thomas Heatherwick: A Modern Leonardo?

Lecturer – Ian Swankie

The past decade has seen the meteoric rise of this extraordinarily versatile British designer with his acclaimed Olympic cauldron, the iconic new London bus, and designs for a spectacular new headquarters building for Google.

Over the past twenty years the Heatherwick Studio has used an intriguing combination of curiosity and experimentation to produce a vast range of solutions to design challenges around the world.

This lecture looked at the problems presented, and the wonderfully creative ways in which Heatherwick and his team have responded.

A Londoner with a passion for art and architecture, Ian Swankie is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral. He is a qualified freelance London guide and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars.