2012 Lecture Programme

12 January 2012
A History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor
John Benjamin
Four hundred years of international jewellery design, examining the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. This presentation covers many of the key elements of manufacture, including the progress of diamond cutting, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, 19th Century Archaeological and Renaissance Revivalism, the impact of diamond mining in South Africa, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, Post War Modernism and designs of the future. Other important areas covered include Cartier and the introduction of platinum jewellery as a statement of style and the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor.

9 February 2012
The Nymph on the Plinth: British Public Sculpture
Dr David Cross
Britain has a remarkable legacy of bronze statues in public spaces. Several years ago the Public Monuments and Sculptures Association linked up with Liverpool University Press to research the sculpture in the public domain throughout Britain. The discoveries will be published in a series of volumes which could be viewed as a parallel series to Pevsner’s Buildings of England. I am researching the monuments and sculptures of Cumbria and North Lancashire for this survey. The lecture will show sculpture from the 17th to 21st centuries, identify key movements and stylistic changes using examples from cities and towns nationwide.

8 March 2012
Gods and Goddesses — Saints and Sinners
The Revival of Mythological Art from the 15th to the 19th Century
Dr Geri Parlby
The great revival of ancient Greek and Roman myths that took place during the Renaissance gave birth to some of the most exuberant art of the time and continued to inspire artists for another five centuries. In this lecture we will look at some of the mythological characters whose misdemeanours were captured in art and the Christian saints and sinners who went on to steal their identities.

12 April 2012
Dickens Revisited: Bicentenary of His Birth in 2012
Jane Tapley
Dickens’s influence on society is as relevant today, 200 years after his birth, as it was in 1812. He was arguably the most celebrated of the Victorian novelists and his own life story is as colourful and eventful as any of his imagined characters. He led his life in the fast lane, not only writing sixteen novels, five Christmas stories, a large number of articles for periodicals and thousands of letters, he was also an actor, director, philanthropist, and workaholic in his professional life. In his private life he was father to ten children, a dominant and controlling husband, lover to a much younger woman and financial supporter to his dependent parents and several of his siblings and their families.

10 May 2012
Embroidered with Woodbine and Eglantine: Elizabethan Textile Furnishings
Dr Gillian White
Textiles provided the interiors of Elizabethan aristocratic houses with colour, glamour, texture and symbolism. Now only a fraction survives of the huge collections of textiles that once graced and invigorated Elizabethan mansions and palaces. This talk looks at the designs, techniques and uses of these textiles, as well as subject matter and the Elizabethans’ fondness for decoding hidden messages and devices. The talk is fully illustrated with a range of images including tapestries, bed hangings, cushion covers, wall hangings and table carpets, as well as references from contemporary inventories and paintings.

14 June 2012
Italian Gardens: Their Beauty, Meaning and Relevance Today
Dr Laura de Beden
The great Italian gardens of the Renaissance were created at a pivotal time for Western civilisation, when man’s spirit and intellect successfully attained new heights in all fields of human expression. The lecture will show how their architects applied the principles of great art to the outdoor spaces, it will also help to understand the genial essence of these gardens, the harmony and beauty of their proportions, the joyful experience of the senses contained within their boundaries: a feast for the soul and the body which inspired gardens all over and has lasted well into our modern epoch.

No Lectures in July and August 

13 September 2012
The Life and Work of Sir Alfred Munnings PRA
David Evans
‘A.J.’ was famed for his vigorous paintings of horses, their owners, racing, country life and the East Anglian scene. This illustrated guide through his life and work includes the less well-known period during which he spent much of his time here in Cornwall and which had a vital impact on his life and work.

11 October 2012
The Black Death: A Turning Point in the Arts?
Professor Tom James
The Great Plague reduced the population of the British Isles by an estimated 40% in just three years. Many skills were lost in the general devastation — for a hundred years, England remained deficient in native craftsmen. This lecture explains how new concepts in architecture, decoration, painting and sculpture were necessarily imported from further afield and have had a profound effect on British art since that time.

8 November 2012
Great Tarts in Art: High Culture and the Oldest Profession
Linda Smith
A mixture of art-historical analysis and scandalous anecdote, this lecture takes a generally light-hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages, by examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It also charts the rather complex and ambiguous attitudes of art and society towards the numerous anonymous working girls at the lower end of the scale, by investigating how they have been represented in art at different times and places from the 17th to the 20th century.

13 December 2012
Lee Miller and Roland Penrose at Farley Farm
Antony Penrose
The story of Roland Penrose, British Surrealist artist and biographer of Picasso and Lee Miller, the American Surrealist photographer, who shot fashion and combat with equal talent as seen through the eyes of their son Antony Penrose, who is also their biographer. We look at how their early lives formed their motivations and how they strove to use art to make the world a better place. The last decades of their life together were at Farley Farm, their home in Sussex which was frequented by many prominent Surrealist and Modern artists.