8 September 2014

Mervyn Miller

Building with wit & grandeur: the architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens 

Born in London in 1869, Edwin Lutyens spent his boyhood in Surrey, observing and absorbing the work of country builders. He briefly served articles under Sir Ernest George, one of the best regarded Victorian architects, where he met Herbert Baker, with whom he would collaborate and quarrel over the building of New Delhi. In 1889, with a commission for a country house Lutyens opened his practice, and two years later met Gertrude Jekyll (1833-1932), which resulted in a sequence of country houses integrated into superb garden settings, ranging from Arts and Crafts informality of Munstead Wood to the grand manner of Heathcote.

His interest in civic design brought commissions for the twin Churches and Institute at Hampstead Garden Suburb (1906-12) and for the layout of New Delhi and the Viceregal Residence (1912-31). One of the Principal Architects of the Imperial War Graves Commission, his memorials in north-eastern France include the mighty Arch to the Missing at Thiepval (1924-8). His best known memorial is The Cenotaph, Whitehall (1919-20), the stark simplicity of which bears witness to the enormity of sacrifice in commemoration of 'The Glorious Dead'. Lutyens was renowned for his wit, which was often expressed in his buildings by idiosyncratic use of architectural elements. Knighted in 1918, he died on New Year's Day 1944, and his ashes are interred in St Paul's Cathedral.

This lecture will review the highlights and diversity of the work of one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, whose faith in the enduring values of classical architecture transcended the emergence and dominance of modernism. As Architectural Adviser to The Lutyens Trust (1985-2011) and a Trustee, I have visited Delhi frequently, and have comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of Lutyens' life and work.


Image from Google Images


13 October 2014

Timothy Schroder

Rivals in magnificence: gold and silver at the courts of Henry VIII and Francis I

Almost exact contemporaries, Henry VIII and Francis I were two of the most extravagant monarchs Europe has ever seen. This lecture looks at some of the brilliant goldsmiths' work commissioned by them and the artists, such as Holbein and Cellini, who worked for them.


Image from Google Images


10 November 2014

Julia Korner  

The pier-head painters: a study of the naïve ship portrait painters in Europe & America, from 1780 to early 20th Century

An illustrated talk looking at the informal, 'spontaneous' watercolours of the Roux family dynasty of Marseilles and its influence on the painters of the ports and harbours of Europe and America.


Image from Wikipedia


8 December 2014

Malcolm Kenwood

Fakes & Forgeries: the art of deception, insight into the methods used by criminals to dupe the art market

The question of fake decorative art has been in vogue for hundreds of years, however increasingly sophisticated methods are being used by criminals to generate vast profits.

This lecture reveals actual case studies, demonstrating the lengths forgers will go to in passing off works as legitimate. Skilled forgers capable of imitating well known artists have provided the ability to dupe many at the highest level within the art market. Experts have estimated that a high percentage of all works within the art market are fake. These scams ultimately inflict considerable damage to collectors and the trade.


 Degas forgery by Tom Keating


12 January 2015

Gail Turner

Cities of Castile: hidden treasures of Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Toledo and Madrid, Burgos and Leon

Each of these cities has its own individual personality, and art treasures. Toledo has its Visigothic and Moorish background. Avila, active in the campaign for Christian re-conquest, has its fortified walls and was the birthplace of the 16th century reformer St Teresa. Segovia surprises with its fairy-tale castle, Roman aqueduct and wealth of Romanesque churches. Salamanca has its university and great 'plaza', and Madrid its superlative museums and neo-classical boulevards. This lecture can be given with any combination of the above cities - or by adding on Burgos and Valladolid - to suit forthcoming tours.


 Salamanca, Spain.

Image from Google Images


9 February 2015

Suzanne Perrin

The Silk Road then and now: update on Western China's cities, towns and Buddhist cave sites.

 The Silk Road has held a fascination for travellers since the early Christian era, and the legacy of the Silk Road lives on through the artifacts, writings, maps and contributions of the many travellers throughout the region for many centuries. Along the various routes that make up the network of the 'Silk Road' - itself a misnomer - flourished an exotic mixture of cultures. However,modern technology is changing the face of this region, with as yet indeterminate consequences.


A Westerner on a camel, Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) 

Image from Wikipedia 


9 March 2015

Anton Gabszewicz

18th Century porcelain: contexts and chronology

The purpose of this lecture is to put English porcelain that first appeared in the mid 1740s, within the broader context of world ceramics. This includes a brief outline of the development of ceramics from China and Japan in the east via the short lived experiments in Florence under the Medici in the late 16th century and the first introduction of hard paste porcelain to Europe at Meissen in the early 18th century. Meanwhile the French had developed soft paste porcelain at St. Cloud and Chantilly; England was soon to follow this tradition at Bow and Chelsea. In exploring this complicated background it is interesting to see how the English manufacturers were so strikingly influenced.

Image from Google Images  


13 April 2015

Mark Corby

Medieval London: "Flower of cities all"

This description of Medieval London was made, rather surprisingly, by the Scotch poet William Dunbar (1465?-1520?) a member of the Scotch delegation sent to London in 1502 to negotiate the marriage of Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, to James IV of Scotland. In fact, he astutely observed that London easily dwarfed all other cities of the British Isles. It was the only city that could bear comparison with the great European examples such as Paris, Florence, Cologne, or Prague. As such, its architecture reflected its pre-eminence with a plethora of outstanding 'Gothic' buildings, representing as they did the centre of Royal, Ecclesiastical & Mercantile power. Despite its continuation as a major financial and political nexus, a surprisingly large amount of this visible medieval heritage still survives, albeit in a rather 'damaged' state. However, enough remains to show how our Plantagenet Kings struggled to compete in architecture with their Capetian 'cousins' of Isle de France. This lecture will illustrate the results of this competition & the truly extraordinary Gothic world it inspired. A world that has left us with some of the most outstanding buildings ever to have been built in this rainy, damp, wind swept island at the very edge of the known world.


Image from Google Images    


11 May 2015

AGM 7.15pm

Aliki Braine

 A History of Western Painting in 12 Masterpieces

From the beginnings of the Renaissance in 13th century Italy to the birth of Abstraction in the 20th century, this lecture charts the main developments of Western European painting. Focusing on a limited number of acclaimed masterpieces, this dynamic lecture charts both the stylistic and thematic development of European painting alongside the historical contexts in which they were created.

See adjacent text. 

Image from Wikipedia