Nicola Moorby

11th September 2017

 'As if by magic': the secrets of Turner's watercolour techniques

J.M.W. Turner left frustratingly few written records of his processes and was notoriously reticent about his methods. This lecture examines Turner's watercolour practice in detail, unlocking the mysteries behind his exceptional effects. In addition to showcasing the diversity and richness of his achievements in the medium, we will look at his experimental approach to techniques and some of his tools and materials.



Ian Swankie

9th October 2017

Treasures of the Square Mile 

350 years of art in the collection of the City of London The City of London Corporation has been commissioning and acquiring art for nearly 350 years and now owns a vast and diverse collection. This talk covers the varied collection of works in the Guildhall Art Gallery and elsewhere in the City along with the numerous sculptures on display in the street and some of the rarely seen hidden treasures in the ancient City Livery Company halls.




Anne Haworth

13th November 2017

Artisans in their ateliers,

surprise guests at a princely Banquet in the Sèvres Service des Arts Industriels'

 The 'Service des Arts Industriels' was made at the former Royal factory of Sèvres. Each piece of this service was painted in precise detail by Jean-Charles Develly with artisans in their ateliers, all engaged in many diverse crafts. Develly's tiny paintings were windows into early 19th century French social history and progress in science and the industrial arts. Production of the service spanned 15 years from 1820 to 1835 following which it was exhibited at the Louvre and given as a diplomatic gift by King Louis-Philippe of France to Prince Metternich.




Bertie Pearce 

1th December 2017

Wonder workers and the art of illusion

(The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures)

From the beginning of time, fascination with magic has been widespread. Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer priests used scientific principles to hold power over people. The age-old skill of sleight of hand proves that 'the hand is quicker than the eye'. Magicians were known as 'Jongleurs' lest they be sentenced to death for 'witchcraft and conjuration' under the edicts of Henry VIII. Music hall audiences flocked to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion is a whistle stop tour of the history of mystery from 3000BC to the 21st century.



Christopher Garibaldi

8th January 2018

Fashion, form and function - a history of English silver 


 Hilary Guise

12th February 2018

Marc Chagall and the Supremacy of Blue

Marc Chagall was the quintessential alien in exile, saying 'My homeland exists only in my exiled soul.' Sombre early Russian works gave way to heady Cubism before settling into a more narrative style. Chagall has a childlike innocence also using significant religious themes to produce powerful and joyous images. Deep blue is the colour of wisdom and dominates much of his work, both in paintings and stained glass.



Anthony Russell

12th March

2018 Blenheim Palace - the agony and the ecstasy

Possibly the most admired historic English building outside London, Blenheim Palace is an uncompromising World Heritage monument to English military ambition and one family's self-importance. The story of its construction is a fascinating catalogue of excess and outrage. But it is in the effect that its perceived spirit has had on generations of Marlboroughs, that is most revealing.



Colin Davies

9th April 2018

Architecture, music and the invention of linear perspective Leon Battista Alberti wrote: 'We shall therefore borrow all our rules for the fixing of proportions from the musicians'. How did the musicians get involved? There is a mathematical link between visible proportions and audible proportions, or harmony, and Renaissance architects were well aware of this link. One of them, Filippo Brunelleschi, took the idea further in his invention of 'linear perspective' and thereby, incidentally, revolutionised western painting.



Paula Nuttall

14th May 2018

Botticelli's Florence

Botticelli is one of the best-loved artists of the Florentine renaissance. This lecture looks at his career and at the city that shaped his art, putting his paintings in their historical context, and showing how they reflect Botticelli's world. From The Birth of Venus and Primavera, painted during the golden age of the Medici, to the Mystic Nativity, redolent of the religious fervour of Savonarola, who dominated Florence after the expulsion of the Medici in 1494, Botticelli?s paintings are not only stunning works of art, but visual testimony to one of the most eventful periods in Florentine history.



 This lecture is preceded at 7.15pm by the AGM.