Malcolm Lawrenson

London Bridged – 3,500 Years of Crossing the Thames

Tuesday 19th March 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Charlie Forman

People were bridging the Thames in the Bronze Age - 1,500 years before the Romans built London Bridge. The last 200 years have seen over 50 new crossings over and under the river. Some are great feats of engineering, some are architecturally elegant. Every crossover changes the city’s genetic code.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

A Bit of a Carry On


Tuesday 21st November 2023 at 10.45 am

Lecturer: Tyler Butterworth

This is the untold story of ‘Carry On’ actor Peter
Butterworth and his wife Janet Brown, best
known for her impressions of Mrs Thatcher.
Using classic film and TV clips, personal mementos,
and rare photographs and letters from his family’s
collection, Tyler reveals the private story behind
his parents’ public lives
It’s a journey that includes the building of a
theatre in the notorious WW2 Prisoner of War
camp Stalag Luft III, nights at Chequers with a
Prime Minister, This Is Your Life, and many more
moments in their long, shared life in the theatre.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

Venice – Warts and All


Tuesday 17th October 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Nirvan Romell

The talk explores the causative connection
between the political, social and economical
history of this famous city and its arts. The
uniqueness of the city’s history and people are
reflected in the revolutionary and innovative
character of Venetian arts – both in positive
and negative ways. The lecture highlights, in
particular, the contribution that the Venetian
colonies made to the famous school of art.
Venice has been highly romanticised in the past
two centuries and the lecture tries to separate
facts from sentiment.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

Bringing India to Britain: Queen Victoria’s Indian Portraits

Restoration Theatre

Tuesday 19th September 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Helen Rufus-Ward

This lecture will focus on Victorian encounters with India and will begin by focusing on the Indian portraits decorating the corridors of Queen Victoria’s favourite palace, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Austrian artist Rudolf Swoboda was commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint authentic portraits of her Indian subjects to represent ‘various types of the different nationalities’ of India. Swoboda produced some extraordinary paintings during his two visits to India and the Queen was thrilled, calling them her ‘Beautiful Things!’ If Queen Victoria couldn’t travel to India – India had to come to her!

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

Seafaring: Art & Life at Sea from Turner to Today

Punch Magazine - the prevailing epidemic

Tuesday 18th July 2023 at 10.45am


Lecturer: James Russell

From trawlermen to submariners, migrants to merchant seamen, people across the ages have shared the experience of being at sea. This invigorating lecture explores the perils and pleasures of life at sea, while at the same time taking audiences on an art historical voyage from the age of JMW Turner to the present. Along the way we relax aboard an ocean liner, explore the interior of a wartime submarine and meet everyone from 19th century British emigrants to trawlermen and shipwrecked sailors. Expect moments of drama, a few laughs, and many stunning depictions of the sea itself.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

Tutankhamun & The Splendours of Ancient Egypt

Caravaggio painting

Tuesday 20th June 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Christopher Bradley

Fifty years ago, many of us were captivated by the 1972 exhibition of Tutankhamun’s Treasures at the British Museum. 2022 is the centenary of the discovery of those treasures by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon and 2023 will celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the tomb for the first time in 3,000 years.The darkness revealed vast riches from antiquity which amongst other influences, spear-headed the design iconography of the emerging art deco movement, lifting the depressed spirits of the inter-war years. Tut-mania affected everything from jewellery and fashion, to architecture and design.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

The Artistic Alcotts – The Real ‘Little Women’

Alcott sisters

Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Elizabeth Merry

An exploration into the lives of Louisa May Alcott and her sisters. Each of these four gifted girls had a particular talent – literature, music, acting and painting - providing some of the inspiration and back-story for Alcott’s 19th century world-famous and much loved story of family life - Little Women.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

The Life and Work of May Morris – A Remarkable Woman

English garden

Tuesday 18th April 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Fiona Rose

Towards the end of her life May Morris (1862-1938) - designer, craftsperson, and younger daughter of William Morris – wrote, ‘I’m a remarkable woman, always was, though none of you seem to think so’. Today May Morris is recognised as a leading figure in the Arts & Crafts Movement. Excelling in the field of embroidery, she was Head of Embroidery at Morris & Co. by the time she was twenty-three. May also designed wallpapers, made jewellery and was a talented amateur watercolour artist.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

The Triumph of Lutyens’ New Delhi

Villa E1027

Tuesday 21st March 2023 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Anthony Peers

In the roughly 300 years during which the British constructed buildings in India there persisted an unresolved dialogue about the creation of an authoritative British style. The Victorians and Edwardians looked with envy at the confident, distinctive and appropriate architectural style of the buildings in India constructed in the time of the Mughal Empire. The questions - as to whether the British should impose a British style, fuse a British style with Indian or even adopt the Mughal style for their own – were never satisfactorily answered in India until Edwin Lutyens penned his designs for New Delhi.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures

The Art of the Steal: Nazi Looting in WW2

Vaux le Vicomte

Tuesday 21st February at 10.45am

Lecturer: Shauna Isaac 

The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II, confiscating art from Jewish families and emptying museums throughout Europe. This lecture will provide an overview of Nazi looting by setting the scene in Nazi Germany, discussing Hitler’s obsession with art and how the Monuments Men recovered art after the war. Several landmark cases will be discussed in detail, including Gustav Klimt’s celebrated Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and the stash of over 1200 artworks found in possession of the son of a notorious Nazi dealer.

Posted by Malcolm Lawrenson in Past Lectures