Mary Alexander

12th September 2016

New York in the Gilded Age

The 'Gilded Age' - a term first coined by Mark Twain, referring to the vast fortunes of financiers and entrepreneurs such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, the Vanderbilts and many others. Who were the movers and shakers of artistic patronage? Who painted their portraits for posterity? This lecture explores the identities of an international elite of artists and designers such as John Singer Sargent, who felt equally at home in London, New York or Paris.



Denise Heywood

10th October 2016 Laos:

Temples to Silk Weaving

This lecture looks at the sacred architecture of Laos, particularly in Luang Prabang in the mist-shrouded mountains of the north. In this remote spot there are thirty two Buddhist temples, some dating from the 16th century. Inhabited mostly by saffron-robed monks, Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as examining the French legacy of late 19th century elegant wooden houses with Lao motifs, which blend harmoniously with Lao secular architectural traditions, I refer also to contemporary art, especially the shimmering silk-weaving, once the preserve of the Lao monarchy.



John Benjamin

14th November 2016

Romancing the Stone:

A Sparkling History of Diamonds

From the most basic table-cuts to the perfectly-proportioned round brilliants of today, this presentation traces man?s mastery of cutting and polishing the hardest substance on earth. The various style of cutting are discussed, including lasqué point-cut, rose-cut, old mine, and modern brilliants. The second part of the presentation covers diamond jewellery through history, the use of silver, gold and platinum and their impact on design, and the identification and assessment of diamonds today. The final part discusses fancy diamonds and famous diamonds through history.




Martin Heard

12th December 2016

1066: The Bayeux Tapestry and All That

The Bayeux Tapestry is one of Europe's best-known treasures and also one of the greatest works of art from the medieval period. Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous. It is monumental and highly intricate. The lecture initially places the Tapestry within its historical and geographical context, followed by a sequential tour that explains the events shown and points out interesting incidentals and their significance within the narrative.  Finally, two 'mysteries' scenes are considered in detail but not fully solved!



   Sarah Pearson

9th January  2017

Francesco di Giorgio Martini - Hidden Genius of the Italian Renaissance and Leonardo's inspiration?


Francesco di Giorgio, like Leonardo, was a Renaissance polymath, gifted in art, sculpture and engineering. The two men met while working in Milan and Leonardo owned a copy of Francesco's treatise on architecture and military engineering. An examination of the writings of the two men demonstrates that many of Leonardo?s famous inventions can be traced back to earlier versions in the work of Francesco. The lecture compares their work and examines the Renaissance tradition of artistic and architectural writing as a way of passing on technical knowledge.


13th February 2017

From Joinery to Cabinet-making

This lecture traces the development of joinery as a method for constructing furniture from medieval times to the end of the 17th century, and concludes with a comparison of its method with that of cabinet-making, which was to supersede it, particularly in respect of the more expensive and fashionable items being produced from the post-Restoration era onwards. Carpentry, joinery and cabinet-making are familiar, but often misunderstood, terms and NADFAS audiences have often commented on how helpful they found this lecture as an aid to appreciating furniture more fully.


 March 13th 2017

Susan Owens

Watercolour in Britain, from Cozens to Constable and beyond 

This lecture explores the golden age of British watercolour painting through works by the greatest masters of the medium including Sandby, Cozens, Cotman, Turner and Constable. It goes on to look at the use of watercolour by the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates, and also considers more recent practitioners.


Susan Kay-Williams

10th April 2017 Tapestry:

The ultimate wall decoration

Tapestries were the ultimate artistic expense in the medieval period. Frequently commissioned in sets that took years to produce, these most expensive items were often rolled up and transported across Europe as the court moved around. This lecture will look at some of the key sets of tapestries and how tapestry developed, including those commissioned by the Dukes of Burgundy, the Lady and the Unicorn set, Raphael?s set for Pope Leo X, the Abraham tapestries of Henry VIII, the seasons and months series of Louis XIV, coming right up to date with the set produced for the Queen of Denmark for the millennium.



                                                         Oliver Everett

8th May 2107 

      Buckingham Palace:

Its History, Occupants and Contents

The lecture considers how the building developed from a modest Georgian house to the present palace; from King George 111's purchase of a family home in 1762 to the creation of a stunning palace by King George IV and John Nash in the 1820's; to the royal residence used by Queen Victoria and monarchs ever since. It is the centre of British Court life and the glittering setting for thousands of official functions. The Palace contains many art treasures in the Royal Collection, including world-famous paintings, sculpture and porcelain.