The Punch and Judy Show (A Subversive Symbol from Commedia Dell’Arte to the Present Day)
Wednesday 4th July 2018
Mr Punch – the most famous puppet figure of all time. His comic irreverence gave “Punch” magazine its title, and his anarchic vitality has inspired opera, ballet and punk rock. His enduring popularity has seen his likeness on goods ranging from Victorian silverware to video games.
Appearing in England in 1662, Punch is descended from the clown Pulcinella of the 15th Century Commedia Dell’Arte tradition. Even today this Lord of Misrule uses his slapstick to dispense with oppressive authority, be it politicians, Political Correctness or the devil, while proclaiming his notorious refrain “That’s the way to do it!”
N.B. This lecture will follow our AGM which will start at 10.30am.
Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture
Wednesday 6th June 2018
One of the most derided towns in England, renowned for its dullness, Basingstoke is distinguished only by its numerous roundabouts and absurd Modernist architecture.
Rupert explains that the post-war planners, who inflicted such features as “the Great Wall of Basingstoke” on the town, were politically motivated and bent on destroying all traces of its past. He reveals the nobler Basingstoke that is buried beneath the concrete, and the few historic gems that have survived.
It is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, “What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns”.
Piero della Francesca
Wednesday 2nd May 2018
It is just over 600 years since the birth of this enigmatic painter.
His grave, solid figures set in a timeless landscape and lit by a clear light, encapsulate the harmony of man and his world that was at the heart of Italian Renaissance thought. But they are, in fact, a perfect fusion of the influences of the North and South, of light and logic, which reflect his native countryside while yet conveying a spirituality that reaches out over time and boundaries.
Whether working for the church or his patron, Federigo da Montefeltro, his paintings radiate serenity and timelessness.
The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: religious architecture of the world
Wednesday 4th April 2018
Religion has been the inspiration for many of the greatest buildings of the world. Indeed for much of human history the stories of architecture and religion were synonymous.
We will move from early societies such as Mesopotamia and Egypt before focussing on the living faiths: the great continuities of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the revolutionary changes brought about in monotheistic Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Painters of Provence
Wednesday March 7th 2018
Ms Juliet Heslewood
This lecture tied in with our Society’s trip to Provence in April.
In her richly illustrated lecture, Juliet explained how the development of the French railway network in the mid nineteenth century encouraged artists to leave Paris and join fellow artists working in such areas as Provence. Features of the work of the newcomers included using more vivid colours.
Besides examining the work of Cezanne, van Gogh and Gaugin, she introduced the audience to local artists including Leo Lelee and Monticello.
250 Years of the Royal Academy
Wednesday 7th February 2018
We will look at the position of artists before and after the formation of the Royal Academy in 1768, and some of the characters involved, from the first President Sir Joshua Reynolds to more oppositional artists such as Gainsborough and the initially clandestine Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood.
As with any important institution the Academy has been embroiled in intrigue and controversy over its history and no scandal or outrage will remain unexposed.
Warwick Castle – A Forgotten Collection
Wednesday 1st November 2017
Warwick Castle remains one of Britain’s best preserved and most popular medieval castles. The walls were raised by the Earls of Warwick who took a leading role in the most important events of Medieval England. In 1604 the castle was transformed into a fortification and a luxurious stately home.
The Earls of the eighteenth and nineteenth century filled the castle with a wealth of paintings, furniture, arms and armour and objets d’art. This lecture will introduce us to some of these undiscovered treasures.
“Mars and the Muses” – the Renaissance Art of Armour
Wednesday 4th October 2017
Dr Tobias Capwell
Armour was one of the great Renaissance art forms, but it is often overlooked. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries almost all the richest and most powerful noblemen could be counted as dedicated patrons of the art.
This was an intensely personal art, both expressive and decorative. It also demanded great skill in the sculpting of iron and steel as well as mastery of complex decorative techniques. The end result embodied more complex messages about status and the social order, divine power, and attitudes and identities.
Magyars and Gypsies – Liszt and the Hungarian Nation
Wednesday 6th September 2017
Franz Liszt was a cosmopolitan figure – he even visited Leamington Spa –but with the rise of Hungarian nationalism he was increasingly seen as the soul of the Magyar people, a position solidified with his wildly popular Hungarian Rhapsodies. Why did Liszt and others associate Hungarian music with gypsies?
This lecture explores what it was to be Hungarian at the time of the creation of the new capital city of Budapest in 1867, and why the much younger Bartok challenged his view of the Hungarian national style.
In February 2015 a study day was given, at the Glebe Hotel, Barford, by Anne Howarth, entitled ‘Spain, a history of Art, Power and Passion – A Memory of Al Andalus’. This was chosen to link with our short break to Andalucia, and gave us a good deal of information about many of the places we later visited. It also covered the history, geography, art and architecture of the area.
In November 2014, at the same hotel, Ann Clements presented a most illuminating day to us on ‘ Three Scandinavian Painters – Splendour and Surprises’- featuring the painters Anders Zorn, Karl Larsson and Wilhelm Hammershoi. It was a most enlightening day, prompting several questions from the audience, and giving people an insight into a somewhat hitherto little known genre of painting.
In November 2013 our study day was given by Anne Howarth, and was entitled ‘3000 Years of Chinese Civilisation’. It covered art, history and culture from the Quin Shi Huang Di dynasty (259 – 210 BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was a most interesting and informative day which we enjoyed very much.