2017 Lectures

January 12th 

The Historical use of Wallpaper in the British interior – 1685 to Today

Diana Lloyd  wallpap-ad-2

The first serious use of wallpaper in Britain began in the late 17th century. The designs were influenced by costly fabrics, cut velvet and damask which inspired flock wallpaper. The arrival of the first hand-painted Chinese wallpapers helped to develop softer pastel shades used in interiors after 1730. London was the centre of production; later in the 18th century Leeds and York joined in. Madame de Pompadour is known to have ordered a flock paper for her private apartments. Later, Marie Antoinette had an English blue paper hung in her apartment at Versailles. By the 19th century the range was enormous and Morris and Company and Christopher Dresser were to become household names. The Oriental style became fashionable, Art Nouveau featured fine floral papers and the great French decorator Ruhlmann, inspired some outstanding Art Deco examples. Artists contributed in the 20th century, most famously Andy Warhol.

Diana Lloyd  is a freelance lecturer in ceramic, glass and the history of interior decoration in Europe, North and South America. Lectures at the Inchbald School of Design, the Interior Design School and for American University Groups, NT and Antiques Societies and Christie’s Education. Guides groups through museum collections and country houses. Collects ceramics and glass. Diploma with Distinction in the Fine and Decorative Arts, Inchbald School of Design

February 9th

Artists and Espionage: The Lawn Road Flats NW3: Modernist Living in mid-20th Century London

Deborah Lambert lawn-rd

This story has a plot worthy of Agatha Christie and its cast includes the author herself, along with Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, refugees from the German Bauhaus; Henry Moore and many intellectuals and civil servants. The setting: The Lawn Road Flats, a startling modernist block of small serviced flats with a restaurant and club, both bohemian and sinister. It was also home to a nest of Soviet spies, including the recruiter and controller of the Cambridge Five.

This is the story of a ground-breaking building, now Grade I listed, and of the rich and complex lives of its residents.

Deborah Lambert Formerly Curator of the Schroder Collection, a private art collection. Studied for her MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. Worked for many years as an academic director and lecturer for Christie’s Education. Appears regularly as a furniture specialist on the Antiques Roadshow.

March 9th

AGM evening NOTE EARLIER START at 7 pm.  Lecture at 7.30pm

The Garden – An Art Form

Marilyn Elmthumb_marilyn_elm_3-_

Throughout history, garden making has reflected and responded to the artistic trends of the day, sitting alongside developments within architecture, interior design, fashion and the fine and minor arts. Its own art form has found expression in the choice of layout, materials, ornamentation, buildings and planting design, and the creative interplay between space, composition, colour, texture and form. This talk examines that expression, tracing some of the notable artistic developments in mainly English gardens up to the present day.

Marilyn Elm is an experienced course leader in garden and landscape design and history, and freelance lecturer for a variety of organisations, universities and specialist groups, including the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society, WEA, U3A and NADFAS and ADFAS. She has run study days, courses and summer schools and conducted garden tours in the UK. As a qualified landscape architect and interior designer, she has been involved with art and design for over thirty years. Passionate about promoting garden history, she has published articles, and broadcast for BBC television and radio, and the Discovery Channel. Member of the Garden Media Guild.


Insular Manuscript Illumination c.550–850 CE

Michelle Brown


The books made in Anglo-Saxon England and Ireland in the centuries after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire bear witness to the vibrant response of these islands to the challenges of literacy. A highly unique and internationally significant cultural legacy was formed, featuring the learning of Aldhelm and Bede and the artwork of codices such as the Ceolfrith Bibles, the Vespasian Psalter, the Cathach of Columcille, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells. This illustrated lecture will excavate the evidence they offer and set them in their historical, artistic and technical context. Who made them and read them, and what were the pigments made from?  These and other questions will be explored, including the place of the Bodmin Gospels, Cornwall’s earliest book.

Michelle Brown Holds a BA in History and History of Art, Westfield College, and a PhD in History, UCL. Professor Emerita of Medieval Manuscript Studies, SAS, University of London, Visiting Professor at UCL and Baylor University, and Senior Researcher at the University of Oslo. Formerly a Course Tutor in History of the Book (SAS), Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, and lecturer at Birkbeck and Morley Colleges. Recent publications include The Book and the Transformation of Britain, c.550-1050 (2011) and Art of the Islands: Celtic, Pictish and Anglo-Saxon Visual Culture (Bodleian, forthcoming).

May 11th

The Geography of Art, Maps, Rocks, Weather and Painting

Stephen Taylor

Coleridge, Constable, Wordsworth and Turner lived and worked in many regions of Britain, thus becoming the Art Geographers of their time, so this is an opportunity to experience the excitement of intimate landscape discovery in their work. We look at Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s maps of his new Lake District home, and explore how geology, place, weather and flora all played an active role in the work of Romantic painters and poets. The talk considers not so much how artists made landscape, but how landscape made artists. From this point of view, Cezanne was not the father of Cubism, but the child of Provence. The speaker, who is a landscape painter himself, uses his experience to throw fresh light on familiar paintings.stephen taylor.jpg

Stephen Taylor Ex Resident Artist Felsted School; post graduate work on John Constable at Essex University. Visiting lecturer at the Inchbald School of Design, London. Professional painter specialising in landscape. Recent exhibitions: one man show at King’s College Cambridge 2002; Olympia (Mark Jason Fine Art) 2003; Art London (Vertigo Gallery) 2003. Bernarduccui Meisel New York 2005; Vertigo “Oak” 2006; OK Harris, New York, 2007. Pictures in private collections world-wide.

June 8th

Inspired by Stonehenge                                 

Julian Richards 

stonehStonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans.

We then explore how, over the past two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are among those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how its instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Julian Richards  Studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist, in commercial archaeology, for English Heritage, for the BBC and as an independent. Elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and is being awarded an honorary doctorate in July of this year. Has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. A career in broadcasting involved researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. Author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge, including the previous and current guide books to the monument and landscape.


Summer Break


September 14th

Indians, Buffalo and Storms –  the American West in 19th Century Art

Toby Faber headshot1-toby-faber

Artists were not far behind the explorers who opened up the West of America in the 19th century – sometimes they painted what they saw, sometimes they painted what they wished they saw. Either way, artists like Alfred Miller, Frederick Church and Albert Bierstadt have left us a powerful, if romanticised, record of the country and people that the settlers found. Now we can use their pictures to chart the history of the opening of America’s West – the arrival of the railroad, the confinement of Native Americans into reservations, and the extermination of the buffalo.

This is a story on a big scale and it seems appropriate that among the pictures illustrating the lecture are some of the largest and most grandiloquent paintings of the era which are now very much back in vogue. Whatever one thinks of their artistic merits, the speaker hopes that members will agree that they are, above all, great fun.

Toby Faber Has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius and Fabergé’s Eggs, published by Macmillan in the UK and Random House in the US, and given lectures associated with these two subjects at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Bath Theatre, The Library of Congress and the Huntington Library, as well as a number of literary festivals. His career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board. Is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music, a trustee of Yale University Press (UK) and a director of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.

October 12th

The Other Side: Germany’s post-WWII Culture of Memorials and Counter Memorials 

Angela Findlay 

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Relatively little is known in this country about Germany’s complex post-war process of remembrance and the counter memorial movement that started there in the 1980s and continues to this day. Instead of commemorating their own losses German artists looked to creating art forms that would respond to questions of apology and atonement: How does a nation of former persecutors mourn its victims? The idea behind counter memorials is to keep the memories and lessons of the past alive in the individual psyches of the people. The results are extraordinary, brave, and inspiring.

With her Anglo-German roots, artistic background and years of research, Angela is in an ideal position to give insights into Germany’s fascinating and on-going efforts to find artistic forms for the remembrance of the victims of one of history’s darkest periods.

Angela Findlay is an artist, lecturer, writer, consultant and teacher – the common thread linking all these roles is her passion for instigating behavioural and emotional change through the medium of art. She is a motivational speaker in schools and societies in UK and Germany and became a NADFAS accredited lecturer in 2013 and Advisor to the Ministry of Justice on Art as Rehabilitation for Prisoners in 2016.

November 9th

What did the Greeks and Romans ever do for Art?

Gillian Hovell


Ancient Greek art blossomed and then the Romans took that art – the sculpture, frescoes, vase painting, architecture and so much more – and made it their own. New media, new styles and new expressions burst forth, and this vibrant cocktail created the basis for Western Art for millennia. Just what did those Greek and Roman artists achieve that was so world-changing? It wasn’t just the media they expressed themselves in and the unforgettable works they created which have been echoed over the millennia, it was a mindset that established how we would look at art for centuries to come.

Gillian Hovell BA (Hons) Latin and Ancient History, Exeter University, and then branched out into archaeology. Ex-BBC, an award winning writer and author who specialises in relating the ancient world to our modern lives, in person, in the field, on line and in the media (most recently on Radio 4). Publications include Visiting the Past: A guide to finding and understanding Britain’s Archaeology and Roman Britain. Forthcoming Latin Yesterday, Today and For Ever, and A Mediterranean Tour: Not just a Load of Old Stones. Teaches adult education courses in Latin, archaeology and ancient history and has publicly lectured widely and passionately, on cruises and tours and to the national press, universities, literary festivals, and diverse societies including Classical Associations, the U3A and the National Trust

December 7th

Optical Entertainment before the Movies

Andrew Gill 

A lavishly illustrated talk on the many inventions, devices and discoveries that led to the first showing of the movies in 1895. From cave art, through ‘peep shows’, ‘transforming pictures’ and ‘persistence of vision’ machines, we explore the forgotten world of artists, showmen and early scientists who attempted to capture and reproduce real-life imagery, long before the invention of cinema. Followed by a hands-on demonstration of some of the devices.

Andrew Gill  I am a professional consultant, public speaker and author. I work with museums, universities and special interest groups giving talks on pre-cinema optical entertainments. I own a commercial, historical photograph library and have published over sixty books on photographic social history.