13 October 2010From the Underworld: Allegory and Narrative in the Garden

This lecture visits a wide range of sites across Britain and Europe to examine and explain the significance of garden layouts, views and features from the standpoint of the select band of people who understood them when they were new.  We view the water features of Renaissance gardens in Italy, the temples and grottoes of Georgian landscape gardens, Grand Tour statues knowingly placed in gardens to trigger a response in those who knew the originals, and the Masonic emergence from darkness into light found in many gardens.

Lecturer: Steven Desmond, MA FIHort FLS is an independent landscape consultant specialising in the conservation and management of historic parks and gardens in Britain and Europe. As an established broadcaster and writer he is especially interested in the idea of the garden as an integral element and indicator of art and social history, and believes that historic gardens throughout Europe are much more culturally intertwined than is generally supposed.

10 November 2010The Developing Face Of London, The Good, The Bad And The Olympics

London is changing more than at any time in its history, as its success as a financial and commercial centre spurs developments.  The lecture looks at developments since the 1980s, including the construction of a ‘Manhattan on the Thames’ at Canary Wharf, the British Library and the Millennium Dome.  There is greater awareness of historical context with sympathetic combinations of old and new seen in Tate Modern and St Pancras International station. Olympics regeneration for the East will lead to many new buildings and a green belt along the Lea Valley.

Lecturer: Ian Gibson studied at Cambridge and SOAS, London, History of Art MA. He is a Blue Badge Guide, working in London and Southern England and guides regularly in the British Museum.  He has a particular interest in London architecture and leads walks looking at the development of the capital and its buildings.

8 December 2010The Drawings of Raphael

Raphael is one of the greatest draftsmen of all time. The brilliance of his art was based on a seemingly instinctive talent for drawing. This lecture will follow the transformation in his drawing style as he reacted firstly to the work of Perugino, then to the art of Leonardo, and finally to the art of Michelangelo, creating out of their art, a body of drawings which has had a profound influence upon the whole course of Western European art. Many of the drawings illustrated are in the Print Room of the Ashmolean which holds the largest and most representative collection in existence.

Lecturer: Jon Whiteley began his career at the Christ Church Picture Gallery after reading Modern History at Pembroke College. He left to join the staff of the Ashmolean as Assistant Keeper in the Department of Western Art where he has remained ever since.

12 January 2011Flights of Angels: Stained Glass in the 19th Century

This lecture traces the revival of stained glass in the 19th century from Pugin’s early experiments to the sophisticated and glorious work of William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and their fellow Pre-Raphaelite artists.  Incorporated into the lecture will be examples that can be seen in Oxford.

Lecturer: Christopher Rogers read Geography at Oxford, gained a PGCE qualification and taught Geography. He became interested in country house architecture while at Oxford.  He lectures for the National Trust, and regularly participates in the courses at Marlborough College’s Summer School.

9 February 2011The World of Contemporary British Craft

An overview of the contemporary craft scene in the UK with examples of the finest innovative work in all the craft disciplines – ceramics and glass, jewellery, silver and metalwork, textiles, furniture, baskets, paper and wood.

Lecturer: Mary La Trobe-Bateman has a BA from Kingston College of Art, and an MDes from the Royal College of Art.  She lectures at the RCA, Sotheby’s Institute and the Goldsmith’s Company amongst others, and is one of the UK’s foremost experts on contemporary crafts.  She was a former Director of Contemporary Applied Arts in London, and ran her own gallery in Somerset.  In 2001 she was awarded an OBE for services to contemporary craft.

9 March 2011Skin Deep – The Beastly Art of Beauty:  Reality and Ridicule

Beautiful in the society portraits, haggard in the merciless lampoon.  The artifice pursued by 18th and 19th century ‘fashion victims’ was, quite literally, hair-raising and often fatal.  Do you ever look at a Reynolds or Gainsborough portrait and wonder if the sitter really looked like that?   How do these grand society portraits tally with the humorous, ridiculous but savage caricatures by Cruickshank, Gillray and other cartoonists of the 18th century?  What was the truth and what was the effect of the cosmetics and beauty aids available at the time?

Lecturer: Amanda Herries read Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge.  In 1978 she became curator at the Museum of London, specialising in the decorative arts from 1718 to present day.  In 1988 she moved to Japan, lecturing and writing on Oriental/Western cross-cultural and artistic influences.  She writes and lectures worldwide on decorative arts topics.

11 May 2011The Pleasures of Paris Seen Through the Eyes of French Painters from Daumier to Toulouse-Lautrec

An account of the redesigning of Paris and its social life from the time of Napoleon III to 1900, seen through the paintings of the new boulevards, parks and racecourses.  We see Parisians at the opera, the ballet and the theatre, at the circus, on the train by the river and at the Moulin Rouge with Toulouse-Lautrec.

Lecturer: Shirley Turner read Modern History at St Hilda’s Oxford and gained a Diploma in the History of Fine and Decorative Arts.  She is a course lecturer for V&A Museum.  She lived in Paris, Brussels and The Hague from 1960-83, working for King Leopold of the Belgians and for the Dutch Home and Foreign Ministries.

8 June 2011Embroidered With Woodbine and Eglantine: Elizabethan Textile Furnishings

Textiles provided the interiors of Elizabethan aristocratic houses with colour, glamour, texture and symbolism.  This talk looks at Elizabethan textile furnishings and considers them first as physical objects and then as the medium for conveying symbolic messages.  We’ll look at designs, techniques and uses, as well as subject matter and the Elizabethans’ fondness for decoding hidden messages and devices.

Lecturer: Gillian White has an MA in Medieval Studies from York and a PhD in Renaissance Studies from Warwick.  She worked for the National Trust as Curator & Collections Manager at Hardwick Hall, and gives presentations to various groups, including the Embroiderers’ Guild and the BAA.  She teaches continuing education classes for Oxford, Bristol and Warwick universities, and contributes to postgraduate courses at Leicester.