Past Lectures

A Brief Story of Wine

History of Wine

Tuesday 21st September 2021 at 10.30am

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.

Treasures of the Fan Museum

Fan Museum London

Tuesday 20th July 2021 at 10.30am


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.

Caravaggio: Murderer or Genius

Caravaggio painting

Tuesday 18th May 2021 at 10.30am

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.

White Gold: The Splendour of Meissen Porcelain

Meissen figures

Tuesday 20th April 2021 at 10.30am

Lecturer: Scott Anderso

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. 

The Use of Colour in English Garden Design

English garden

Tuesday 16th March 2021 at 10.30am

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? 

Villa E1027 and the Career of Eileen Grey

Villa E1027

Tuesday 16th February 2021 at 10.30am

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. 

Vaux Le Vicomte

Vaux le Vicomte

Tuesday 19th January at 10.30am

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. 

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.

Restoration Theatre – Rakes, Fops and Wenches

Restoration Theatre

Tuesday 20th October 2020 at 10.30am

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.