LECTURE PROGRAMME 2021 -2022
The following lecturers have been contracted to speak either in person in the Civic Centre or via a zoom presentation depending on the coronavirus conditions at the time.
Members will be advised by email.
13th October 2021
Alexandra Epps - LIVE IN THE CIVIC CENTRE
THE GOLDEN SECTION - DIVINE PROPORTION IN ART AND ARCHITECTURE
For thousands of years the mystery of the Golden Section has inspired thinkers from all disciplines - artists and architects, mathematicians and musicians. Discover the secrets of its sacred geometry and beauty within creations from the classical to contemporary.
Christopher de Hamel
MEDIEVAL ILLUMINATED BOOKS OF HOURS
Books of Hours are the most famous late medieval illuminated manuscripts. They are private prayer books for domestic use at home, and they often include enchanting illustrations and decorated borders, sometimes with scenes of daily life in the Middle Ages. The lecture looks at what a Book of Hours comprises and how they were used and who commissioned them. It shows how we can date and localise surviving manuscripts. It discusses how and where Books of Hours were actually made, and it follows through the various stages of writing, painting and illuminating a medieval manuscript. “Immerse yourself in the medieval world of Christopher de Hamel” (Sir David Attenborough’s advice on life, quoted in The Evening Standard on his 90th birthday).
12th January 2022
ÉDOUARD MANET AND THE ORIGINS OF IMPRESSIONISM
This illustrated lecture examines how Impressionism was born in Paris in the 1860s through a great rivalry between the painters Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier, known as ‘the two poles of art’. Meissonier was the most famous and financially successful painter of the nineteenth century, hailed for his meticulous precision and obsessive attention to historical detail. Manet, on the other hand, was reviled by the critics and mocked by the public for works such as Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe and Olympia. The context between the two men was not just about artistic expression; it was also about competing visions of a world drastically changed by technology, politics and personal freedom.
Cynthia Coleman Sparke
RUSSIAN REVIVAL ENAMELLING: AN OVERVIEW OF STYLES AND TECHNIQUES WITH A FOCUS ON FEODOR RÜCKERT, SUPPLIER TO THE HOUSE OF FABERGÉ
We turn from the glittering court of St. Petersburg towards heroes and maidens, racing troikas, and onion-domed churches set in snowy landscapes.
The myths and fairytales of Russia were distilled into objects created to satisfy Faberge’s Moscow clientele. Their forms were drawn from the wooden implements of seafaring warriors. Meanwhile, their ornament was influenced by traders whose saddlebags brought textiles, metalwork and print sources to the capital. The resulting historic revival was embraced by the empire’s most successful merchants and industrialists. The turn away from Western influences and towards native traditions was reflected in the rich enamels of Feodor Rückert.
9 t h M a r c h
M e r i A r i c h i
R I M P A A R T : L I T E R A R Y I N S P I R A T I O N F O R D E S I G N
With the establishment of military government in Edo (present day Tokyo) in the early 17th century, Japan enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity. Artists in Kyoto flourished with a new vigour to satisfy the demand of the newly affluent townspeople. The Rimpa artists were unique in the way that they were not tied with a teacher-pupil relationship, but they shared the style and the visual language that were inspired by the courtly literary themes from the past. The distinctive style of Rimpa Art is characterized by the abstraction of natural elements and the bold asymmetrical composition. The Rimpa style is considered by some as “the most quintessentially Japanese” art. This lecture will analyse the masterpieces by the Rimpa artists, and discuss what makes them “Japanese”.
1 3 t h A p r i l
T o n y R a w l i n s
B A R O Q U E O N A R O L L : C L A S S I C A L M U S I C I N T H E M O D E R N M E D I A .
Tony talks talk about the increasing popularity of classical music, especially amongst young people. He shows examples of how classical music enhances the mood - the drama, the tension, the romance - of feature films. He shows examples of how it has made many TV commercials truly memorable. He describes how a piece by an obscure 17th century German composer has become our number one favourite at weddings and funerals. And to finish he shows how classical melodies and chord sequences have been borrowed for a huge number of popular hit records. (He plays guitar and sings for this part).
1 1 t h M a y
J o a n n a B a n h a m
T H E M A N Y F A C E S O F W I L L I A M M O R R I S
William Morris was a man of prodigious energy, talent, and versatility. He was a designer, a craftsman, a writer, a lecturer, a conservationist and a revolutionary socialist. He is best-known today for his wallpapers and textiles but he also designed embroideries, stained glass, mural decoration, books and tapestries. His over-arching passions were a love of art and making, and a hatred for what he perceived as the greed and inequality that characterised contemporary society. This lecture reviews his life, ideas and achievements, exploring the highlights of his career and his relationships with his wife Jane, and other artists and designers with whom he worked and the reasons why he is still so influential today.
8 t h J u n e
N i c o l e M e z e y
T H E A R T O F S T A I N E D G L A S S