Rosa Bonheur, Animal Painter Extraordinaire

The Horse Fair

Tuesday 20th February 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Lois Oliver

French painter Rosa Bonheur had an extraordinary gift for painting animals that brought her international fame and recognition and in 1865 she was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, Defying convention, Bonheur obtained official permission to wear men’s clothing, so that she could study animal anatomy in the male-only spaces of livestock sales. Her painting ‘The Horse Fair’ was so famous that Queen Victoria requested a private viewing at Buckingham Palace.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Charles I: King & Collector

Money Painting

Tuesday 16th January 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Barbara Askew

Charles I’s obsession for collecting art began when he saw the magnificent collection of Spain’s King Philip IV. He then purchased the fabulous collection of the Dukes of Mantua including works by Titian and Raphael; he engaged Rubens to paint the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall and he appointed Van Dyck as his Court Artist. Overall, he amassed over 2000 works, thereby bankrupting the nation.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Lancaster Priory – 2,000 Years of History

Lancaster Priory

Tuesday 15th November 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Christopher Newlands

The mother-church of the City and County of Lancaster, this site of this ancient Priory Church reveals elements of the Roman fort on the site, a Celtic burial site, a Saxon church, a Benedictine Monastery, and a historic parish church. Its history tells the story of this city covering wars, plagues, and the Kings and Queens of England who have held the title 'Duke of Lancaster'.
Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

The Odd Couple – Lutyens and Jekyll

Lutyens - Jekyll

Tuesday 18th October 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Steven Desmond

In the spring of 1889 the young Edwin Lutyens, later to become the most famous British architect of the 20th century, met the artist-gardener-craftswoman Gertrude Jekyll for the first time at an afternoon tea-party in rural Surrey. She was a well-known eccentric, of whom her parents had despaired, and a generation older than the young man who communicated with the world through drawings and elaborate jokes. Separately they were interesting, curious, isolated: together they proved irresistible.
Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Rescuing Zeugma from the Floodwaters of the Euphrates

Medieval revelry

Tuesday 16th April 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Louise Schofield

In Spring 2000 an archaeological drama unfolded on the banks of the Euphrates in Turkey when a Roman city was found with mosaics and wall-paintings finer than those of Pompeii. However, just beside it was the almost completed Birecik Dam and flooding the reservoir would take the city under water. This lecture tells of the extraordinary archaeological rescue excavation that took place and of the fabulous treasures recovered.

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Stamford Raffles, Art Collector and Discoverer of Singapore


Tuesday 21st May 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Denise Heywood

Raffles, whose name is synonymous with a luxury hotel rather than the greatest Buddhist temple in the world, was a scholar, polymath and the enlightened colonial administrator of Java. In 1804 he discovered the C8th temple of Borobudur, hidden under volcanic ash. He founded Singapore and also acquired wondrous artefacts in Java, such as shadow puppets and textiles, now in the British Museum.
Posted by vivalogue in Lectures

Arts and Crafts of Mexico, Past and Present


Tuesday 16th July 2024 at 10.45am


Lecturer: Chloe Sayer

Arts and crafts remain an essential part of Mexican life. After the Spanish conquest of 1521, the techniques and art styles of Europe merged with those of the New World. Drawing on skills inherited from Aztec, Maya and Spanish predecessors, makers bring a modern vision to ancient traditions. Exquisite textiles, silver jewellery, wooden dance-masks, imaginative toys and fine pottery are still used in many regions
Posted by vivalogue in Lectures

Grace Darling and the Fine Art of Saving Lives at Sea

Gertrude Bell

Tuesday 17th September 2024 at 10.45am

Lecturer: James Taylor

Darling’s daring rescue of steamship passengers off the Northumberland coast in 1838 brought her international fame. Discover more about her bravery and short life and the artistic contribution that has helped to keep her in the public eye. Grace became the ‘poster girl’ of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and was the first woman awarded their medal for gallantry.

Posted by vivalogue in Lectures

Grimsthorpe Castle, Near Bourne

Grimsthorpe Castle
Grimsthorpe Castle State Drawing Room

‘Grim by name but not by nature’ (according to Simon Jenkins), Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire is one of the great houses of England. It is a marriage of architectural styles, with the quirkiness of its Tudor façade contrasting with the Baroque splendour of its north front, and is Sir John Vanbrugh’s last masterpiece -  a ‘true northern Blenheim’.

In 1516, Grimsthorpe and its lands were presented by Henry VIII as a wedding present to William, 11thLord Willoughby de Eresby, and his Spanish bride, Maria de Salinas, lady-in-waiting of Queen Katharine of Aragon. For the next 500 years it remained in the same family, united under the ancient title of ‘Barony of Willoughby de Eresby’. Now owned by a Charitable Trust, it is occupied by the 27thBaroness Willoughby, and because the family held the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain to the monarch, Grimsthorpe houses one of the largest collections of royal thrones and furnishings outside the Royal Palaces.

The Great Hall interior is to Pevsner ‘unquestionably Vanbrugh’s finest room’, having the scale of a Tudor great hall but the perspective of a Roman palace, with its walls of two storeys of arcades, a chimneypiece by Hawksmoor,  and a double flight of stairs rising to a landing, beneath which is Vanbrugh’s Piranesian undercroft. Upstairs, in the state dining room is the Coronation Throne used by George IV, and the King James Room has fluted gilt pilasters and a full-length portrait of King James I. At the end of the upper corridor is the chapel gallery, which houses an almost hidden treasure, Zurbaran’s portrait Benjamin, that has been separated from the rest of the set now at Bishop Auckland Castle, which we may coincidentally see on our visit there in September this year.

 After lunch, we will be invited back to Grimsthorpe to enjoy the Gardens that have been there since the early 1500s, evolving over the years due to Grimsthorpe’s long history of gardening, with intricate parterres with box hedges close to the House, and a dramatic herbaceous border framing views across the lake. Finally, the Georgian Coach House has been converted into a licensed tearoom, serving afternoon tea and home-made cakes, for anyone wishing to indulge, before we rejoin the coach for our homeward journey.

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