Our 2015-2016 Discovery Days


Capability Brown and the British Landscape

James Bolton

Time: Study day: 10.00am - 15.30pm (Registration From 10.00am - First Lecture 10.30am)


Bookings Open

2016 celebrates the tercentenary of the birth of Lancelot (Capability) Brown,. Capability Brown brought a completely new approach to English gardens and estates in the eighteenth century, designing the estates, moving hills and constructing elegant lakes and meandering waterways in content companionship with the countryside.

Described as a 'complex genius', his asthma lead to restrictions on his life despite which he not only designed over 260 grand landscapes which are treasured today as his hallmark, but also he was a skilled arctitect contributing to the design of several grand country houses, including Burley House, Northants.

Come to discover more about the works and the man, Capability Brown, who has influenced landscape gardeners and architects both in Britain and the developed world for over two centuries.

Venue: Lecture Theatre, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth

Organised by: South West Area

Cost: £36 To include a two course lunch and coffee


Bankrolling the Renaissance: History of the Medici Family

Douglas Skeggs

Time: Study day: 10.00am - 15.30pm (Registration From 10.00am - First Lecture 10.30am)


Ambitious, greedy and occasionally corrupt, the Medici family were a successful but not always attractive dynasty. And yet, without their love of art, and their almost limitless wealth we might never have had the works of Donatello, Botticelli and Michelangelo. This Special Interest Day looked into the legacy of this fascinating family who sponsored the Florentine Renaissance and without whom it might never have existed.

Session One: God’s Bankers,

Under the guidance of Cosimo Medici, the family became the unofficial rulers of Florence and leading patrons of the arts. This inevitably aroused fierce jealousies, which boiled over in the attempted assassination of Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo.

Session Two: Popes and Patrons

With Florence gripped by the apocalyptic preaching of Savonarola, the Medici were exiled from Florence. But they re-emerged triumphantly as Popes in Rome. Here their decadent and eccentric rule led to the Sack of Rome and ultimately opened the door to Luther’s Reformation of the Church.

Session Three:From Riches to Royalty

Although the Medici were a spent force in Italy, an ingenious marriage had put Catherine de Medici on the throne of France, to be followed, shortly afterwards, by Marie de Medici. This last talk looked at the impact these two formidable queens had on the shape of French history.

Venue: Lecture Theatre, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth

Organised by: Falmouth DFAS

Cost: £30, Including lecture, mid-morning coffee and light buffet lunch


The Mysterious Orient. Artists, Traveller and Symbols From the Near to the Far East

Clive Stewart-Lockhart

Time: Study day: 10.00am - 15.30pm



The uneasy relationship between East and West is nothing new and this session explores the travellers and artists who ventured to the Near East, the area today known as the Middle East. They were called Orientalists, and many (particularly in the 19th century) went to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the Holy Land. Some were simply adventurers who tried to be power brokers between the Ottoman Empire and the West; others were eccentric travellers, including the extraordinary Sir Richard Burton whose amazing mausoleum in Mortlake features in the talk. The last group, the artists themselves include, amongst others, David Roberts, Richard Dadd, J F Lewis, Frederick Goodall, Ingres and Osman Hamdi Bey, possibly the greatest Turkish artist of the late 19th century.


Two Chinese characters may have the same sound and tone, but entirely different meanings. For example, the character Fu can mean a bat and also prosperity, thus the symbol for prosperity is a bat. In this talk, the dazzling array of signs and symbols are explored whilst painting a picture of the richness of Chinese art and architecture. Themes covered include blessings, marriage and the wish for many sons, as well as wealth, longevity, peace and the passing of exams. Mandarin Ducks are symbolic of trust, affection and marital bliss. Lotus plants symbolise fecundity. A magpie stands for happiness and is a harbinger of spring. These and other themes are seen in images of objects from travels in China as well as pieces that have passed through the salerooms. By the end of this session you will know exactly what to give your friends to represent any important occasion in their lives.


An exploration of the art market and a time to examine some special pieces!

The subject of countless daytime TV shows as well as high-end international trade, how do all the elements fit in together? Who are the main players and how has it changed during the last 40 years? When Clive started, there was no Internet and cheap air travel was yet to change the way we move about the world. Governments, both domestic and International, have had a profound effect, alongside a general demographic change. After his 40 years in the profession, all but 18 months of which as an auctioneer, he will base this session on a continuing fascination with the dynamics of the art world and explores these and many other themes. Why is a George III bureau worth so little? Images show the main players as well as some of the great objects that have been sold, and explain how some are now worth so much and others so little.

Clive Stewart-Lockhart studied on the Sotheby's Works of Art course and has now been working in the fine art world for 40 years. He is Managing Director of Woolley and Wallis, the UK's leading regional auctioneers, in Salisbury, and has been a specialist on the BBC Antiques Roadshow for over 20 years. Has also lectured on cruise ships as well as for many other groups, and recently published a major article in the Journal of the Decorative Arts Society on Betty Joel.

Venue: The Best Western Hotel, Tiverton, EX16 4DB

Organised by: South West Area

Cost: £35 to include a two course lunch


The Story of Art – In the Footsteps of Gombrich Part 3: A crisis of Art to the Age of Reason (Late 16th and 18th centuries)

Dr Geri Parlby and Jeni Andrews-Fraser, MA

Time: Study day: 10.30am - 15.30pm


This course follows and builds on the chapters of E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art. It is run by Area Southwest and devised/presented by NADFAS lecturer Dr Geri Parlby and Jeni Fraser, both art historians and seasoned educators. It provides a chronological survey of the history of art as well as an examination of the religious, ritual, social and political life in which art was created..

Following on from the success of the courses run in October 2013 and 2014, this is the third in the 3 Part series. .

Parts can be taken independently of each other..

Part 1: Covered Pre-history to the 11th century, including primitive, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman art, through the Byzantine period to the Gothic..

Part 2: Considered the period from the 14th to the late 16th century, starting with Giotto and the early Renaissance and continuing up to the time of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

Part 3: The art and architecture produced in the Baroque period and that of the ‘Enlightenment’ (Late 16th and 18th centuries).

A Crisis of Art to the Age of Reason covers the late 16th to the 18th centuries (Chapters 16 – 23 in ‘The Story of Art’)

Session One: - From Light & Colour to a Crisis in art – Europe in the 16th century and early 17th century.

Session Two: – The Mirror of Nature – Holland in the 17th century.

Session Three: – Power and Glory I – Italy and Spain 17th and early 18th century.

Session Four: – Power and Glory II – France, Germany & Austria, late 17th and 18th century.

Session Five: – The Age of Reason – England and France, 18th century.

Venue: Merchant Manor Hotel, Truro

Organised by: South West Area

Cost: £125 for over 20 hours tuition (for Part 3) - Coffee and tea available (small donation) plus a delicious sandwich lunch (about £6), but you are free to bring your own packed lunch if you would prefer