Season October 2018 – May 2019
All lectures start at 11.00am prompt.
Alexandra Epps : As Good As Gold – A Special Lecture in Celebration of The Arts Society’s Golden Anniversary
Experience the story of gold and its significance and symbolism within the history of art – as the colour of the sun; the colour of divinity; the colour of status and the colour of love. From creations ancient and contemporary, sacred and profane – all that glitters is certainly gold.
Sponsor – The Spectrum Group
Clyde Binfield : A Galaxy of Starchitects
Santiago Calatrava, Terry Farrell, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Jean Nouvel, I.M.Pei, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers: all these are starchitects. Starchitects are stratospheric. Their buildings straddle the world, if not as yet the universe. Their practices are vast and vastly cosmopolitan. Their creations are hailed as iconic and cutting-edge. Cities have been energised by them. Design has been stamped by them. Perhaps…. but what about the quality? And whence came they? Who was the first starchitect? Le Corbusier? Frank Lloyd Wright? And are we about to see the last of them as personality implodes into team anonymity and explodes into a mass of initials? Who knows? Here, as lecture or study day, I offer an opportunity for due reflection on a Galaxy of Starchitects.
Sponsors – The Travel Producer, TBA
Brian Healey : Monet And His Gardens
Everyone knows about Giverny, but few about the gardens that preceded them and the personal circumstances that were their motivation. Late in life Monet admitted that he may have owed his love of painting to his love of flowers and gardening, which he had developed in early youth as an antidote to his unhappiness. This lecture unfolds the detail behind that statement, which is both moving and beautiful, as Monet struggles with his family, his love and his art. So many of his iconic works have their subject matter located in and around his garden, from his teenage home at Saint-Adresse, his rented homes at Argenteuil and Vétheuil to his great creation at Giverny, which became his only subject in his final years. Through diary entries and letters as well as paintings, the lecture reveals with specific horticultural and painterly detail the development of this life-long passion which climaxed in his monumental waterlily series, and which he shared with his other great gardening friend and colleague, Gustave Caillebotte.
Sponsor – TBA
Anne Sebba : The Dollar Princesses: American Women Who Married Into The European Aristocracy And Whose Wealth Helped Preserve Houses And Estates
Between 1870 and 1914 hundreds of American heiresses flooded the shores of continental Europe, trading fortunes for titles. They were known as The Dollar Princesses and included Consuelo Vanderbilt at Blenheim and Mary Curzon at Kedleston. These marriages – dubbed by some as gilded prostitution – were usually hard-headed matches plotted by the parents. They may have kept many a grand estate from collapsing but few provided lasting happiness when the fairy tale was exposed. This lecture examines the clothes, the portraits, the jewels and the literature of The Dollar Princesses.
Sponsor – Spence Clarke & Co
Andrew Prince : From Downton To Gatsby
For the series Downton Abbey, Andrew was commissioned to produce many jewels for the main characters, and this inspired him to create a talk based on Downton and the changing styles of the time portrayed.
Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case.
In his talk Andrew guides you through the extraordinary periods and events between 1890 and 1929, where the great fashion houses collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce works of art of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this he discusses the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and how they were worn with the sumptuous gowns.
Sponsors – The Travel Producer, IBEX Insurance Services
Harry Fletcher : Tamara De Lempicka
Tamara de Lempicka was a Polish Art Deco painter and “the first woman artist to be a glamour star”. She had a very distinctive and individual style. Her art and her name have become synonymous with the hedonistic lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties and the Art Deco movement, of which she was the leading representative across two continents. She combined a heavy workload with frenetic social life and much of her behaviour was considered scandalous at the time. She was a favourite artist of many Hollywood stars and she was the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation among the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy, kings and queens. As a result of her connections she was able to display her paintings in the most elite salons of the era: Madonna is an admirer and collector of Lempicka’s art and other notable collectors include Jack Nicholson and Barbara Streisand. Both her lifestyle and her artwork make her a fascinating subject for a lecture
Sponsor – The Spectrum Group
James Lindow : The Rivalry Between Leonardo And Michelangelo
While Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475- 1564) are two of the most familiar figures in Italian Renaissance art, the rivalry and antipathy that existed between them remains a story without an author. This lecture throws light on these themes using select examples of their works which, it is argued, hold the key to understanding the motivations for their animosity. Particular emphasis is given to the commission bestowed upon them to undertake frescoes for the great council chamber in Florence. Though unfinished, the surviving designs placed Leonardo and Michelangelo in direct competition with one another, as well as indicating their differing artistic approaches.
Sponsors – Zen Wealth Management, Hassans International
Jacqueline Cockburn : The Great Velázquez At Court In Madrid
When Velázquez moves to Madrid his life changes and so does his art. This lecture will consider his time at court, his subjects and his development as a great artist. It will end with a discussion of his work Las Meninas. This painting with its extraordinary use of perspective will be unravelled in terms of the artist’s own life and wishes and his relationship with the Monarchy at the time.