Our 2010-2011 Lecture Programme

Lectures begin at 10.30 a.m. at the Princess Pavilion, normally on the second Friday of the month. Refreshments are available in the Garden Room from 10.00 a.m. Lunches are available post lecture.

Below is a list of lectures and a brief synopsis of each. You can download a Printable Copy of the lecture programme.


Joseph Wright of Derby – "A Great and Uncommon Genius"

Nicholas Bagshawe

Nicholas Bagshawe looked at all aspects of this strikingly individual Midlands painter and placed him in the context of his day – that of the 18th Century Enlightenment. Wright was a Derby man and one of that small band of painters who made a national reputation outside the capital. His money was made by a successful portrait painting practice but he is best remembered for his observations of the scientific and technological advances of his day. Nicholas Bagshawe has over 15 years of experience as a lecturer including Tate Britain, Sotheby’s Institute and the V & A Museum.


Emma Hamilton: Scandal, Celebrity and Portraiture in the 18th Century

Dr Kate Williams

This richly illustrated talk explored how Emma Hamilton ascended through British society. From courtesan to ambassadress and mistress of Lord Nelson, her life was a rags to riches story but she died in penury. Drawing on her 5 years of research in archives across the world, Dr Kate Williams, author of “England’s Mistress” explored Emma’s relations with artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Romney, showed how she manipulated her image through portraiture - and revealed her impact on the visual culture of the time.


The Shakers: Their Beliefs, Architecture and Artefacts

John Ericson

The Shakers of North America have left behind an enduring and intriguing legacy. In this presentation, John Ericson explored why there is still so much interest in the Shakers today, and by examining examples of their beautiful buildings, furniture and artefacts, discovers the origins, beliefs and way of life of this fascinating sect. John Ericson has recently retired from the University of Bath where he was Director of Studies in the School of Education.


From Turkey to Trifle – Festive Food and Customs of the Georgians and Victorians

Jane Tapley

A gourmet’s journey through the origins of festive fare and the traditions that we have adopted and adapted from Georgian and Victorian times. From the turkey stagecoach to the habit of drinking port with Stilton cheese and the placing of the napkin over the left shoulder – all was explained in this fascinating portrayal of our Christmas customs. Jane Tapley has been the Special Events Organiser at the Theatre Royal Bath for the past twenty years.


The Colour of Light – Contemporary Stained Glass

Tom Errington

Tom Errington has been a practising artist, gilder and painter of trompe l’oeil murals for over 20 years. He is adviser on Art, Art History and Stained Glass to the Diocese of Southwell and adviser on Stained Glass to the Diocese of Coventry. In this lecture he traced the history of stained glass from the end of the 19th century and how the Arts and Crafts Movement established the designer and maker as equal partners for the first time. We followed a line of artists (Karl Parsons, Harry Clarke, Douglas Strachan, Eddie Nuttgens and Carl Edwards) who were successively influenced by each other, leading to the brilliant designs of John Piper and Marc Chagall also more recent artists (Mark Angus, Brian Clarke and Jane Campbell), who have rediscovered the essential point of the medium: the revelation of colour and light.


The Sacred Art of Mongolia

Zara Fleming

Mongolia, the homeland of Genghis Khan, is a vast country of rugged mountains, rolling steppes and awesome desert, lying in the heart of Central Asia. Its people are predominantly nomadic herdsmen and yet they have produced a highly sophisticated artistic tradition, which reflects their nomadic and spiritual culture. The most profound and long lasting influence on Mongolian art is that of Vajrayana Buddhism, which, having inspired a rich and vibrant artistic tradition, was all but annihilated by Soviet-inspired communism. This lecture explored this rich tradition of sacred art and commented on the extraordinary renaissance present in Mongolia today. Zara Fleming is an independent art consultant, lecturer and exhibition curator with specialist knowledge of Buddhist art; focusing on the art and culture of Tibet, the Himalayan areas and Mongolia.


Skin Deep - The Beastly Art of Beauty: Reality and Ridicule

Amanda Herries

Illustrated with entertaining and merciless contemporary caricatures of the absurdities and extremes of high fashion of the 18th and 19th centuries, this lecture made a revealing examination of a highly colourful period in English decorative and social history. From the 18th century “Macaronis” with hair piled high, waists nipped in and plenty of rouge (and that’s the men!) to the 19th century Dandies and Dandizettes who padded their bodies wherever necessary, these were the “fashionistas” of their day, many falling victim to the poisons they plastered on their faces and in their hair. Amanda Herries has a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University and is a former curator at the Museum of London.


Italian Gardens: Their Beauty, Meaning and Relevance Today

Dr Laura De Beden

The great Italian gardens of the Renaissance were created at a pivotal time for Western civilisation, when man’s spirit and intellect attained new heights in all fields of human expression. This lecture showed how their architects applied the principles of great art to the outdoor spaces; it also helped us to understand the genial essence of these gardens, the harmony and beauty of their proportions, the joyful experience of the senses contained within their boundaries: a feast for the soul and body which inspired gardens all over Europe and has lasted well into our modern epoch. Dr Laura De Beden is a chartered landscape and garden architect, international lecturer and writer on landscape issues. She is the course leader in Garden Design at Kingston University.


Britain at War 1939 – 1945: as Seen through Artists’ Eyes

Dr Anthony Kelly

Produced by the nation’s finest painters and graphic designers, Britain’s wartime art offers many outstanding images of enduring artistic quality. In addition to demonstrating mastery of creative techniques and approaches, these images constitute a fascinating and inspiring record of British wartime experiences and achievements. Some controversial works were also examined. Dr Anthony Kelly has worked as a University Lecturer in French and as an Adult Education Lecturer in Art History. As a former reserve officer with Commando Forces, he combines a practical knowledge of military topics with his artistic interests.


Boxing Clever: The Use, Evolution and Design of Boxes in England

Deborah Lambert

The need for storage is perennial. Nowadays we have plastic air-tight boxes and tins, but what did people use in earlier times? Boxes are among the most unusual objects brought to the Furniture Table of the Antiques Roadshow, but often people know very little about them. This lecture looked at the use, evolution and design of boxes in England from the 17th to the 19th century. It explored the materials – wood, tortoiseshell, silver.... - and decoration - marquetry, carving, painting....- what purposes boxes were put to – tea caddies, lace boxes, writing slopes, sewing boxes, games compendiums....- and looked at the context in which they were used and by whom. Deborah Lambert is Curator of the Schroder Collection, a private collection of fine and decorative art, and previously spent 25 years as an academic director and lecturer for Christie’s Education. She frequently appears as a furniture specialist on “The Antiques Roadshow”.