Our 2011-2012 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.


Organic Gems – From Amber to Ivory

Maggie Campbell Pedersen FGA, ABIPP

Maggie Campbell Pedersen FGA, ABIPP talked about organic gem materials, i.e. those of plant and animal origin such as amber, pearl, ivory and tortoiseshell which have been used for many centuries as adornment – both personal adornment in the form of jewellery and for decorating our surroundings as carvings and furniture inlay. The first jewellery to be used by mankind was made from organic materials. Necklaces were made of seeds, shells or teeth, depending on what was available. Head-dresses were often made of feathers, shells and horn. Maggie is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography.


Men Behaving Badly : Artists Behaving Badly on and off the Canvas

John Iddon

Throughout art men have often been shown to be behaving badly, frequently at the expense of women. From Hogarth’s “Rake’s Progress” through to other rakes portrayed by Reynolds or featured in Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian narrative paintings, the theme has been extensively explored. The lecture brings the number of “rakes” in art, both on and off the canvas, up to date and into our times with Picasso, Augustus John, Lucian Freud and others. To compensate, there is a short section at the end entitled “Women Strike Back!” John Iddon is a lecturer and guide at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern.


The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial and Treasure

William Forrester

This lecture looked at “England’s greatest archaeological discovery”. Found in a large mound above a creek near Woodbridge in Suffolk, the burial contained one of the greatest ships of its era as well as superb and often unique jewellery. Whether it held the body of King Redwald, a Bretwalda or chief of chiefs who died in 625AD is just one of the mysteries of the site. However it certainly changed our perception of the “Dark Ages” forever. The lecture considered the original and subsequent excavations as well as the spectacular finds from the ship burial itself and from other parts of the site and looks at parallels with the Staffordshire Hoard and the Prittlewell burial. For many years William Forrester has lectured on Sutton Hoo at the British Museum. He is also a life member of the Sutton Hoo Society and a National Trust lecturer.


Fine Art Forgery: Craftsmanship or Conjuring Trick?

David Phillips

Forgers have never had it so good, as cash, even now, floods into new, lightly regulated art markets. Careful connoisseurs therefore consider stylistic, technical and archival evidence before making an attribution. But the scientific and documentary evidence can also be faked and market pressures favour the forger! In this lecture, we will meet a cast of colourful characters including Otto Wacker, Hans van Meegeren and Tom Keating. David Phillips studied History at Oxford, has worked for Nottingham Castle Museum and from 1982-98 lectured in Museum Studies and Art History at Manchester University.


Angels, Saints and Virgins – The Extraordinary Art of the Hispanic Andes

Dr Geri Parlby

Angels with muskets slung over their shoulders, images of the Virgin Mary shaped like mountains, saints on horseback, dancing demons and Jesus and his disciples dining on a last supper of guinea pig and corn beer. When the Spanish tried to Christianise the peoples of the South American Andes 500 years ago and teach them how to paint, little did they know that the native people would learn their skills but make religious art distinctively their own. This merger created a colourful, vibrant and entirely original art form that is still being practised even today. Dr Geri Parlby has lectured at numerous universities and adult learning centres and is Principal Tutor on the Plymouth University/NADFAS Art History Foundation Course.


The Nymph on the Plinth – Sculpture in Public Places

Dr David Cross

In the urban environment, our lives are enhanced by admiring bronze worthies on pedestals, terracotta reliefs on public buildings, sculpture on war memorials and contemporary public art. This lecture, inspired by the lecturer’s research for his book “The Public Sculpture of Cumbria and North Lancashire”, aims to show the diversity and impact of such art in the townscape throughout the UK in a variety of media. Dr David Cross is an Honorary Research Fellow at Durham University and lectures in Art History to undergraduate and adult classes at universities.


Goya and the Turbulence of his Times

Gail Turner

Goya’s long life and career spanned the reign of four Spanish monarchs. He was an interior decorator, a skilled portrait painter, a political satirist and an experimental etcher. His ambition, deafness, imagination and deep sympathy for the suffering of the Spanish people during the Peninsula Wars all affected his work. Gail Turner is a leading expert on Spain and an internationally acclaimed lecturer on the country’s art and culture.


Love and Loss: The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice in Art and Music

Lois Oliver

The story of how Orpheus, the legendary singer, lost his love Eurydice through a single glance has inspired much great music including Monteverdi’s “Orfeo”, and visual artists too have responded to this tragic story of love and loss. This lecture explored the wealth of art and music on the theme of Orpheus with a rich array of paintings and musical examples from Monteverdi, Gluck and Offenbach, even taking in the Can-Can! Lois Oliver read English Literature at Cambridge followed by an MA in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. She has worked on the staff of the Harvard University Art Museums, the V&A and the National Gallery.


Embroidered with Woodbine and Eglantine: Elizabethan Textile Furnishings

Dr Gillian White

Textiles provided the interiors of Elizabethan aristocratic houses with colour, glamour, texture and symbolism. Now only a fraction survives of the huge collection of textiles which once graced and enlivened Elizabethan mansions and palaces. In this lecture we looked at designs, techniques and uses, as well as subject matter and the Elizabethans’ fondness for decoding hidden messages and devices. Dr Gillian White is a freelance lecturer and has contributed to Continuing Education programmes at Oxford, Warwick and Bristol Universities and is also involved with the MA in the Study of the Country House at Leicester University.


Gainsborough in Bath – High Society and the Bath Season

Mary Alexander

hen Thomas Gainsborough moved to Bath in 1758 it was a bustling cosmopolitan centre experiencing a phenomenal building boom, attracting nobility and wealthy merchants alike and described as “the busiest idle place in the world”. Contemporary journals, letters (including Gainsborough’s witty correspondence) and caricatures will be used to bring the city, its buildings and its personalities to life. The lecture explored how and why a young entrepreneurial Gainsborough identified Bath as the place from which to build an international reputation. We focused on his work in Bath and drew comparisons with his contemporaries. Mary Alexander has 30 years experience as a lecturer in History of Art and Design, including public lectures in museum galleries and as a summer school tutor for the Open University.