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Monday, 30 January 2017

Oliver Everett – India: British Contribution to

its History, Archaeology and Languages 


Britain's historical involvement with India is sometimes criticised. And there were undeniably dark and culpable episodes. But a number of British individuals were very dedicated to India and made great contributions to the study of its history, languages, religions, archaeology, architecture, topography, sociology, zoology and botany. The talk describes the very successful work in those fields of a series of Britons who are not often given the recognition they deserve. Between Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General, and Lord Curzon, a most prominent Viceroy, there were civil servants, soldiers, judges, doctors, engineers, surveyors and others who immersed themselves in the local culture and revealed a great deal about India's amazing past. 



Monday, 27 February 2017 

Liz Merry  – An Evening with Lord Byron:

Monsters, Vampires and the Gothic Imagination


The date is June 1816; the venue is the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva and the dramatic Jura mountains. Byron’s guests are the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary and her stepsister Claire, and his secretary Dr Polidori. Outside, the rain is beating down; thunder and lightning flash across the lake from the mountains. Inside, each of the five tries to intensify the Gothic atmosphere by telling a ghost story. Mary’s creation becomes ‘Frankenstein’ - which was the most enduring result of that stormy night. This talk explores the origins of the Gothic revival in art and ideas, at the fascination with dramatic scenery and natural disasters as well as with vampires, monsters We look at a range of weird, supernatural and fantastic subjects pictured by a range of artists like Fuseli, Blake, Wright of Derby, and at depictions of Prometheus to explain Mary Shelley’s subtitle to Frankenstein: ‘The Modern Prometheus. 



Monday, 27 March 2017  

Twigs WayLancelot ’Capability’ Brown –

Landscape, Art and Dame Nature


Born in the small village of Kirkharle, Northumberland, Lancelot Brown rose to become the most famous landscape designer in England. Working with contours, water and trees, he created landscapes so breathtakingly natural the poet Whitehead commented that only Dame Nature could distinguish between his work and hers. At sites such as Stowe, Blenheim, Bowood, Luton Hoo, and Croome Court, Brown’s style gently echoed the Italian artists of the previous centuries, and was itself further popularised in contemporary paintings of landscape as fashions in late 18th century art turned from artifice to nature, or more correctly to artificial nature. In the 300th year anniversary of his birth this talk will consider the life and work of Brown, and examine the accolades and the charges laid at his feet - genius or vandal, artist or copyist? The talk is illustrated with images of Brownian landscapes


Monday, 24 April 2017  

Carole Petipher – The Collection of Napoleon

and Josephine at Chateau de Malmaison:

giving an insight into one of the most famous

Couples in History


How was Napoleon such an excellent self-promoter? What was it that drove him? What on the other hand drove his wife? And what was it that made Napoleon and Josephine one of the most followed couples in history? These questions can be answered giving a true insight into their character by exploring the collections at the Chateau de Malmaison. The Estate, which was bought by the couple as their private retreat, away from the Pomp and Ceremony of the Official Residences, was made into a National Museum in 1905 amassing a huge collection of their possessions. Paintings, personal objects, complete room layouts, and some magnificent pieces of porcelain are just some of the things on display.



Monday, 29 May 2017

Ian Swankie – Underground Cathedrals – the

Architecture of London Underground, above and

below street level.  


The world’s first underground railway has a wonderful heritage of architecture, ingenious design, powerful advertising posters and unique calligraphy. In this talk we plot the early development of the Underground, examine the legacy of Frank Pick and Charles Holden, look at some of the iconic posters, and celebrate the award winning architecture of the modern Tube in the Jubilee Line Extension. We’ll also take a peek at some of the forthcoming Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) stations, designed by some of the world’s top architects.




Montag, 19 Juni 2017  

Thomas Hoffmann - Luther im Bild – Eine Ikone wird erschaffen                                                                                                                          

Martin Luther zählt zu den meist abgebildeten Personen des 16. Jahrhunderts. Bis in die Moderne haben sich Künstler mit dem Konterfei des berühmten Reformators auseinandergesetzt.

Der Kunsthistoriker Thomas R. Hoffmann begibt sich auf Spurensuche nach dem „wahren“ Bild Luthers in den vergangenen 500 Jahren und wird auf ganz 

unterschiedliche Luther-Darstellungen treffen.



Monday, 25 September 2017  

Jane Choy-Thurlow - Rembrandt: Bohemian or Businessman, Romantic or Rebel?   


Rembrandt is considered by many to be Holland’s greatest artist and the equal of Mozart, Shakespeare and Michelangelo.  Unlike van Gogh, the other great Dutch artist, Rembrandt has not left much written material explaining his views on art, but what he has left is a unique visual autobiography in his self-portraits which he did from the age of 20 to 63, the year of his death. This lecture will use the self-portraits as a thread through his life and with his other masterpieces explore the man and what, why, and how he painted. Was he indeed a businessman or bohemian, rebel or romantic?



Monday, 30 October 2017  

Dr. Helen Rufus-Ward – A Pilgrimage to

St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai: Exploring the

Treasures of this UNESCO World Heritage


St Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, Egypt was founded in the sixth century by Byzantine emperor Justinian I - the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the location of the legend of the Burning Bush and the resting place of the martyred body of St Catherine. The Greek Orthodox monastery is packed full of precious religious art – a splendid basilica with exquisite little chapels, intricately carved wooden doors and breathtaking mosaics, an amazing collection of the rarest early icons to survive, and a library of rare and beautiful religious manuscripts.



Monday, 27 November 2017

Peter Medhurst – Parody and Satire in the

Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan


The operas of Gilbert & Sullivan are rich in contemporary satire and witty personal allusions and this lecture recital shows how each of the 14 operas - on which the partners collaborated - drew inspiration from the world in which they lived. As a result, celebrities, politicians, social mores, manners, artistic taste, the class system – even Queen Victoria’s red drawing room at Windsor Castle – are poked fun at.  Peter Medhurst will present a programme of songs and arias which he will self accompany on the piano.  



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