Past MeetingsHere are details of our past meetings, to give you an idea of the variety and scope of the lectures. Also members might like to use the links to find out more.25 July 2018: Social evening - separate booking and payment required. Further details later.The Fascinating World of Playing CardsYasha Beresiner LL.B Surprisingly today’s playing cards date back to 1377. Decks from 1475 still survive. The English deck is of French origin and the Company of Makers of Playing Cards was founded in 1628 to protect English makers from French importations. Cards were used as a medium of communication, propaganda or education: the 1678 Titus Oates plot is illustrated on a 52 card deck published at the time and known as The Horrid Popish Plot. Francis Barlow illustrated the cards depicting Marlborough's Victories in 1707. Modern cards follow in these old traditions with some wonderful collectors’ decks of today. 27 June 2018The Silver Thread: Silver Filigree and Traditional Art in KosovoElizabeth Gowing MA From the early Kosovan silver mines which are mentioned in Dante, through the twentieth century politics over Kosovo’s mines which resulted in both a war and a golf course, a silver thread winds through Kosovo’s history. Its most intricate tanglings are in the country’s cultural capital, Prizren, where a seventh generation of filigree artisans use ‘filum’ and ‘granum’, zigzags, ‘mouse-tooth’ designs and other twists and turns to magic lacy creations from dull sticks of raw material. The results – in boxes, buttons, jewellery, religious ornamentation and the talismans of superstitition – are a fine narrative of Kosovo’s history and traditions.Background to Filigree in Kosovo with videosThe art of FiligreeUS Council article5 June 2018 Rockingham CastleGuided Tour of the Castle £35 for members and £37 for Guests23 May 2018Treasures and Curiosities of the Royal Library at Windsor CastleOliver Everett The Library is primarily used by the Queen to show to her guests after dinner parties at Windsor Castle. This is because it is so full of a great range of fascinating objects associated with the history of Britain and the Royal family. The lecture gives a tour of the Library similar to that experienced by the Queen's guests. The Library is open to academic researchers but not to the general public. The lecture therefore constitutes a rare opportunity to see its rooms and treasures. These treasures include beautiful and rare books and manuscripts; books with personal royal associations; old master drawings (Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Holbein, Canaletto) and watercolours; jewellery; insignia of Orders of Chivalry; miniature paintings; clocks; fans; maps; the shirt in which Charles I was executed; and the Queen's description (when Princess Elizabeth, aged 11) of her father's Coronation in 1937. Royal Collection web site25 April 2018Wanderings among the Nomadic Tribes of Iran and Afghanistan:Searching for the Woven Art and Symbolism of the NomadsBrian MacDonald FRGS My time spent in Iran and Afghanistan during the 1970s, began to foster a passion for the wonderful woven art produced by nomads on basic ground looms. My subsequent visits were spent travelling and searching amongst nomadic tribes for these exquisite 19th century weavings, which have become harder to find and have now virtually disappeared amongst the tribes themselves.This lecture illustrates the woven art of the nomads as they moved over the lands they have travelled for generations. We will have the opportunity of seeing their way of life and looking at the 19th century rugs and utilitarian weavings, similar to those which I discovered during my forays into the different tribal territories.During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, some tribal weavers began to weave the devastation and violence they saw into their carpets. The popularity of these soon spread, and it gained recognition as a form of Afghan folk art. In this war rug, Mujahideen combat a devil representing the USSR.Background to the history of carpets from the regionReviving the carpet weaving skillsPersian rugs28 March 2018Cultural Anxieties and Ritual Protection in High Status Early Modern HousesJames Wright FSA The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were marked by a radical increase in the numbers of accusations of witchcraft throughout Europe. Evil incarnate was a very real fear for the populace and this led to a raft of folk-traditions being employed to protect house and home from possession. Using the case studies of the Tower of London and Knole, Kent this lecture presents and explains how the houses of the rich were given spiritual protection from demonic forces.Symbols found at KnoleNorwich Castle protection spellsThe rituals of house protectionArticle from BBC about the practice of hiding shoes in buildings.28 February2018Shaken by an Earthquake: Igor Stravinsky, the Ballet Russes and the Astonishing 1913 Premier of the Rite of SpringSandy Burnett The story of one of the greatest creative collaborations of all: Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, whose team of dancers, choreographers, and costume and set designers transformed expectations of what a night in the theatre could be, and the circumstances behind its most notorious stage work of all. Sandy examines the build-up to the Rite of Spring’s première in Paris, takes a look at the original costumes, plays excerpts from this fascinatingly inventive score, and explores what divided opinions of that first-night audience quite so dramatically. No, nothing could top the riot at the Rite in 1913…Telegraph article on the Rite of SpringSee an upto date version of the ballet from Scottish Ballet's autumn 2017 tour, The Rite of Spring and The Fairy's Kiss - both set to live scores by Stravinsky - made for a double-bill that pushed the company's dancers and musicians to their limits. Now, in partnership with The Space, both productions - filmed at The Festival Theatre, Edinburgh - are being made available via BBC iPlayer - this will only be available for a while, one page says 30 days, another says 60 days from Dec 7th. The whole ballet is 38 minutes long.Click here for a reconstruction of the 1913 ballet.24 January 2018The Hitler Emigres: Their Impact on British Artistic and Cultural LifeDaniel Snowman What do these have in common: The Penguin Pool at London Zoo; the Glyndebourne and Edinburgh Festivals; the publishers Phaidon and Thames & Hudson; Pevsner's Buildings of England; "The Red Shoes" and the Amadeus Quartet? Each was created by émigrés from Central Europe who found refuge in Britain. Artists, architects, film makers, musicians, publishers, historians, psychologists and scientists: all brought something of their continental legacy to Britain. Their collective talent was enormous and their influence far in excess of their numbers. Review from the Guardian on Danel Snowman’s book on Hitler Emigres22 November 2017Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican PaintingsChloe Sayer BA (Hons.) Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. Rivera's intricate visual narratives, rich with allegory and symbolism, adorn the walls of public buildings. Inspired by Aztec and Maya imagery, and by early Italian fresco painting, his vast murals combine social criticism with faith in human progress. Kahlo's work, unlike Rivera's, is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences and dreams. This lecture surveys the work of both artists; it chronicles their turbulent marriage and Mexico's history after the 1910 Revolution.Nude with Calla Lilies (Rivera) Self Portrait (Kahlo)Background on RiveraBackground on Kahlo25 October 2017Hidden Canvases - Street Art and the CityDoug Gillen BA (Hons.) Doug Gillen’s YouTube, blog and TV channel can be accessed here.His ‘Restoring Banksie’ video is well worth seeing, click here to see it.Street art is visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues. The term gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations. Stencil graffiti, wheatpasted poster art or sticker art, and street installation or sculpture are common forms of modern street art. Video projection, yarn bombing and Lock On sculpture became popularised at the turn of the 21st century.The terms "urban art", "guerrilla art", "post-graffiti" and "neo-graffiti" are also sometimes used when referring to artwork created in these contexts. Traditional spray-painted graffiti artwork itself is often included in this category, excluding territorial graffiti or pure vandalism.Right: More than three meters above east London's Sclater Street is a mural of sprinter Usain Bolt, captured in explosive color by artist James Cochran. The street artwork, more than four meters high and six meters wide, is a dramatic sight, designed by Cochran to celebrate London's Olympic Games. Background of Street Art‘Street Art’ exhibition at Tate Modern 2008The Story Behind BanksyWheatpaste art postersSeptember 27th 2017 & AGM (this is the last lecture in the membership year 2016/17)Sarah Dunant The Most Infamous Family in History: The BorgiasMurder, poison, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? This lecture reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politics during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal, general, employer of Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince, and the journey of Lucrezia Borgia from “the greatest whore in Rome” to a devout and treasured duchess of the city Ferrara. Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth.Painting by John Collier, "A glass of wine with Caesar Borgia", from left: Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia, Pope Alexander, and a young man holding an empty glass. The House of BorgiaFamily History of the BorgiasThe Art & Historic Houses of East Sussex & Kent BUS FULL NOW3 days from £315 Departing 11th September 2017Visiting -Polesden LaceyBerwick ChurchFarley Farm HouseGreat Dixter House & GardensCharleston HouseKnole House & Deer ParkRight: Photo taken on the trip to the coast.Click here for Polesden Lacey web site (NT)Click here for Berwick Church MuralsClick here for Farley Farm & Lee Miller web site.Click here for Great Dixter HouseClick here for Charleston HouseClick here for Knole House (NT)Click here to see some photographs from the trip. June 28th 2017Dr. Rosamund Bartlett The Psychology of a City - The Architecture of St. PetersburgArriving in St. Petersburg in pre-revolutionary times was always a thrilling experience. Imagine stepping off the train and into a troika which would transport you noiselessly over the snow down impossibly wide, long streets - past spacious squares and enormous classical buildings, past imperial ministries, embassies, and imposing cathedrals with gilded domes – all the way, if you were lucky, to your opulent mansion on the embankment of the River Neva. The city’s dignity and grandeur were everywhere apparent. St. Petersburg has some of the most beautiful facades of any city in the world. But what went on behind those facades during imperial times? Peter the Great had before him a vast tabula rasa when planning his future capital at the beginning of the 18th century. The city he built was truly sumptuous – but it came at a price. This lecture tells the story of the buildings of St. Petersburg, but also the life that went on inside the buildings,.Background on the history of St Petersburg/Petrograd/LeingradInformation for visitorsNational Memorial Arboretum bus trip on Tuesday 23rd May 2017This visit to the newly developed 150 acre site in Staffordshire is primarily planned to study the moving sculptural monuments, designed as a lasting tribute to those who have served their country. Rich in design and symbolism and conceived by eminent sculptors, they are sympathetic to the lush gardens they inhabit. The iconic Armed Forces Memorial, consisting of a Portland stone structure containing two large bronze groups of figures sculpted by Ian Park-Broadley, is an especially moving highlight.The cost of the day will be: Members £29.00 / Guests £31.00 (The price includes tea/coffee on arrival.)Guests are welcome; places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basisClick here to see their web siteClick here for further information and a booking form.May 31st 2017Antony PenroseLee Miller - model, muse, photographer………For the past 30 years has conserved and disseminated the work of his parents, Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. He is the director of The Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection at Farley Farm House in Sussex and has seen his parents' work featured in major exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Whitworth. He has lectured at museums and universities around the world, and made documentaries for television. Publications include The Lives of Lee Miller, Lee Miller's War (editor), The Angel and the Fiend, The Home of the Surrealists, Roland Penrose the Friendly Surrealist and The Boy Who Bit Picasso.Lee Miller in Hitler's bath after GIs entered his Munich apartment in 1945 (DAVID E SCHERMAN)The Lee Miller web siteFarley Farm House web siteMarch 29th 2017Mrs. Sue Jackson The Huguenot Silk Weavers of Spitalfields from Riches to RagsWelcomed at first with open arms and bringing luxury skills, the Huguenots’ fortunes fluctuated wildly. I talk about their early 18th-century houses that still stand, how they were decorated and lived in. I discuss the fashionable patterned silk dresses – who designed and made them. And how, finally the trade died out, with some weavers literally dying in poverty at their looms. One of the weavers’ houses can still be visited today.BBC article on the Silk WeaversHistory of SpitalfieldsFebruary 22nd 2017Angela Smith The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Goya, A Social and Political CriticThe subject of this lecture is Francisco Goya, a Spanish artist who began his career as a painter of religious imagery and a designer of tapestries. He was a friend of many of the enlightened thinkers in late 18th century Spain known as the ilustrados and like them, he had much to say about the times in which he lived. Goya’s prints in particular proved a useful tool for his reflections on the pain and suffering generated during the French occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. In this lecture we survey Goya’s career and focus on the way in which the artist used his art as a vehicle of commentary on human behaviour.Right: Goya’s friend Sebastián Martínez y Pérez (1792)Goya and the EnlightenmentGoya’s political developmentJanuary 25th 2017Dr Michael O'BrienThe Mythology of Hindu SculptureAn account of the principal deities of the Hindu pantheon, their common manifestations and some of the associated legends, as depicted in temple sculpture, mostly from South India, but with some examples from Central India and South East Asia.Right: Figure of Shiva, as Lord of the Dance, thought to have been looted from a temple in India and purchased in 2008 from a New York dealer by the National Gallery of Australia for £3m. The 900-year-old bronze statue of Nataraj is considered a superb example of bronze casting from the Chola period in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, it is now being returned to India.More about Hindu TemplesInformation on how the temple fits into the religionClick here for more information on the deitiesWeb site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
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Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training