Mind the Gap: Designs for the London Underground

London Underground Design

Tuesday 19th October 2021 at 10.30am

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.

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The Borgias: The Most Infamous Family in History?

Cesare Borgia

Tuesday 16th November 2021 at 10.30am

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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Gertrude Bell: Traveller, Archaeologist, Orientalist

Gertrude Bell

Tuesday 18th January 2022 at 10.30am

Lecturer: Neil Faulkner

For a woman of her time and class, Gertrude Lowthian Bell’s achievements were extraordinary. She broke free of social constraint and convention to make outstanding contributions in the male-dominated worlds of exploration, archaeology, and imperial statesmanship. Partly because of this, however, commentary has tended to be gushing and uncritical.   This lecture will assess the character, career, and contribution of Gertrude Bell to exploration, archaeology, and imperial politics in the context of the tumultuous age through which she lived.

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History of Cartoons – from Hogarth to Private Eye


Tuesday 15th February 2022 at 10.30am

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.
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The Covent Garden Piazza from Inigo Jones to Bernard Shaw and Beyond

Covent Garden Piazza

Tuesday 15th March 2022 at 10.30am

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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Portmeirion – Italianate Fantasy Village


Tuesday 19th April 2022 at 10.30am

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 Art of the Steal – Nazi Looting During WW II

American soldier looted art

Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 10.30am

Lecturer: Shauna Isaac

The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II, confiscating art from Jewish families and emptying museums throughout occupied 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 1,200 artworks found in possession of the son of a notorious Nazi dealer.
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Sunken Treasures from the East – Chinese Porcelain

Chinese porcelain

Tuesday 21st June 2022 at 10.30am

Lecturer: Marie Conte-Helm

The story of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain speaks of the important trade between East and West along both the overland and maritime Silk Roads. This lecture will trace the history of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain and the trade in export porcelain. It will also recount tales of salvaging operations that have resulted in the recovery of sunken treasures from the East.
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Dorothy Wordsworth at Dove Cottage

Dorothy Wordsworth

Tuesday 19th July 2022 at 10.30am

Lecturer: Annalie Talent

2021 marks the 250th anniversary of Dorothy Wordsworth’s birth.  Often thought of merely as sister to a more famous sibling, Dorothy deserves to be remembered in her own right.  Although she never actively sought publication, she was a talented writer, who responded with sensitivity and precision to the world around her. This lecture will explore not only Dorothy’s life, but will focus, in particular, on her key contribution to English Romantic literature; the journal she wrote whilst living at Dove Cottage in Grasmere.

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P.D. Ruel – Pioneer Dealer of the Impressionists

Money Painting

Tuesday 20th September 2022 at 10.30am

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.

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