Pomp, & Feast, & Revelry: The Medieval Year in Art

Medieval revelry

Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Richard Whincop

Illustrated with rare medieval manuscripts as well as the work of renowned artists such as Bruegel, Dürer and Botticelli, this lecture offers a fascinating glimpse into a typical year as it unfolded in late medieval Europe – and explores the world view that underpinned the seasonal calendar.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Portmeirion – Italianate Fantasy Village


Tuesday 19th April 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Matthew Williams

Portmeirion is an extraordinary surprise; a colourful and delightful fantasy village on the coast of north Wales.  Created from the 1920s by the remarkable architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion was his personal defiance against the advance of modernism and what he saw as the despoilment of Britain. Matthew Williams also draws on some personal memories, as his uncle was Resident Director of Portmeirion for 30 years
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The Covent Garden Piazza from Inigo Jones to Bernard Shaw and Beyond

Covent Garden Piazza

Tuesday 15th March 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Daniel Snowman

Covent Garden was the first great square in London: an Italianate ‘piazza’ with colonnaded arcades and a Palladian church by Inigo Jones.  Over the centuries, Covent Garden has embodied all that is most characteristic of British cultural life: a state of grace which - as Bernard Shaw's Eliza Doolittle might have put it - must at times have seemed ‘not bloody likely!'

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History of Cartoons – from Hogarth to Private Eye


Tuesday 15th February 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Ian Keable

The first time the word cartoon was used in the sense that we know it today was in 1843 in Punch magazine.  But the employment of satire, caricature, speech bubbles and the writing of captions had been around long before then.  In this talk Ian tracks the early stages of cartoons and how, through the works of Hogarth and James Gillray, they gradually evolved.
Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Grinling Gibbons – Virtuoso in Wood

Gertrude Bell

Tuesday 18th January 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Nicholas Merchant

Few can hear the words ‘wood carving’ and not think of the genius of Grinling Gibbons who left his spectacular carvings in many British stately homes including nearby Rowley Manor, and the royal  palaces of Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. 2021 was the tercentenary off his death, so now is a good time to revel in his ability to make still lives in wood appear real in matchless trompe l’oeil.

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The Borgias: The Most Infamous Family in History?

Cesare Borgia

Tuesday 16th November 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Sarah Dunant

Murder, poison, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? This lecture reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politics during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal, general, employer of Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince, and the journey of Lucrezia Borgia from “the greatest whore in Rome” to a devout and treasured duchess of the city Ferrara. Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth.

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Mind the Gap: Designs for the London Underground

London Underground Design

Tuesday 19th October 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Charles Harris

“Mind the Gap” examines the world-beating graphics, designs, maps and posters created for the London Underground. From early days through the inventive inter-war years, this lecture is rammed with well-known artists and great stories. Modern London was shaped by the Underground. Tunnel Vision has never been so celebrated.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

A Brief Story of Wine

History of Wine

Tuesday 21st September 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: David Wright

Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years, and the story tells of its origin and appearance in all societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role wine has played in these societies and how it became an important component of faith, well-being and festivity. From the kwevris of Georgia in 5,000 B.C., the symposia in ancient Greece, the thermopolia of Pompeii, the hospices of Europe, to the dining tables of fine society wine has been ever present. Drawings, paintings, engravings, buildings, pottery and wine labels themselves all contribute to the story.

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Treasures of the Fan Museum

Fan Museum London

Tuesday 20th July 2021 at 10.45am


Lecturer: Jacob Moss

Occupying a pair of early Georgian townhouses nestled in historic Greenwich, the story of how The Fan Museum came to fruition dovetails into the multifaceted history of the handheld fan. From an especially rare Elizabethan-period embroidered folding fan to contemporary examples decorated by street artists, discover some of the key objects within the Museum’s extraordinary collections which encompass more than 5,000 fans and related objects dating from the eleventh century to the present day and gathered from most parts of the world.

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Caravaggio: Murderer or Genius

Caravaggio painting

Tuesday 18th May 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Julia Musgrave

Caravaggio’s paintings inspired many artists during his lifetime and would go on to influence many more, from Orazio Gentileschi to Peter Paul Rubens, Gerard van Honthorst and Rembrandt.

Each absorbed a different aspect of his work. His style spread across Europe and gave rise to the international movement known as ‘Caravaggism’. Yet for many, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is famed as much for his art as for his criminal record. Was it the violence of his times or his own violent spirit that inspired the dramatic lighting and intense naturalism of his work? This lecture follows the dramatic incidents of the artist’s life and looks at why and how his influence spread so far.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures