White Gold: The Splendour of Meissen Porcelain

Meissen figures

Tuesday 20th April 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Scott Anderson

The making of Hard paste porcelain going back over 2,000 years, represents one of the most important ,technical ,artistic and economic achievements in the history of mankind. Meissen became the first place in Europe where the secret of making hard paste porcelain was discovered and made commercially. This talk looks at the varied and beautiful products of this factory in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

The Use of Colour in English Garden Design

English garden

Tuesday 16th March 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Timothy Walker

What role does colour play in the design of gardens and in what ways are the principles of garden design different from those of fine art? Are there any parallels between the motivation for creating gardens and creating works of art? 

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Villa E1027 and the Career of Eileen Grey

Villa E1027

Tuesday 16th February 2021 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Nicholas Merchant

Eileen Gray, born in Ireland in the 19th century enrolled at the Slade School of Art and became one of Paris' most sought after and innovative designers of the 20th century. In the late 20th century she built an extraordinary house at Roquebrunne which became the envy of Le Corbusier. 

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Vaux Le Vicomte

Vaux le Vicomte

Tuesday 19th January at 10.45am

Lecturer: Carole Petipher 

French 19th Century design owes much to one man Nicholas Fouquet who made an error of judgement which led to his downfall, by employing the talented Vaux-le Vicomte to design a spectacular chateau for himself which completely out shone the Sun King. 

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Art and Culture in Budapest


Tuesday 17th November 2020 at 10.45am*

Lecturer: Gavin Plumley

Budapest was formed in 1873 by the unification of Buda and Pest, situated on either side of the River Danube. The new capital was the focus of resurgent Hungarian nationalism, which found expression through lavish new buildings, the continent’s first underground railway system and myriad paintings featuring specifically Hungarian subjects and locales. Meanwhile, in the countryside, composers Bartók and Kodály began to collect the music of their compatriots. Placing these endeavours in a historical context, this talk explores how the Hungarians came to understand national identity through cultural means.

*This lecture will be preceded by the AGM, also by Zoom, at 10.30am.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

Restoration Theatre – Rakes, Fops and Wenches

Restoration Theatre

Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Malcolm Jones

The return of Charles II led to the re-opening of theatres after the 18 year closure of public playhouses under the Commonwealth Government. The new theatres saw the first actress on the stage replacing the cross-dressing males.  Great actors and lively audiences in  Restoration Theatre brought the morals of the court onto the stage in its comedies of city life and an era of great playwriting was unleashed.

Posted by vivalogue in Past Lectures

P.D. Ruel – Pioneer Dealer of the Impressionists

Money Painting

Tuesday 20th September 2022 at 10.45am

Lecturer: Natalia Murray

Despite the popularity of Impressionism today, the ground-breaking shifts that occurred in French painting at the end of the nineteenth century were not immediately embraced by collectors, dealers, or the public. A vital figure in the rise of Impressionism was Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922). This talk aims to retrace the critical years from the late 1860s to 1905.

Posted by vivalogue in 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 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 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.

Posted by vivalogue in Outside Visits