Programme 2022 -2023

Unless otherwise advised will take place in the St. Ives Corn Exchange.

September 14th  Brueghel the Seasons and the World – Gavin Plumley


In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was commissioned to create a series of paintings for a dining room in Antwerp.  The images, charting the course of a year, changed the way we view the world through art. Landscape had previously been a decorative backdrop to dramas both sacred and profane. But in Bruegel’s hands the landscape and our interaction with it became the focus. Looking at paintings such as The Return of the Herd, Hunters in the Snow and The

Gloomy Day, this lecture explores how Bruegel pioneered a whole new way of thinking about the environment and our individual places within a shifting cosmos.

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide. Lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Recent talks include the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the National Trust, the National Theatre, the British Museum, the V&A, the Southbank Centre, the Tate and the Neue Galerie, New York. His first book, A Home for All Seasons, is published in June 2022. 

A Home for all seasons

October 12th Trannies, Taste and Teddy Bears – Jacky Klein


The definitive lecture on Grayson Perry, Britain’s favourite artist, by the author and lecturer who knows him best. Jacky has written the authoritative monograph on Grayson’s work, a bestselling book now in its third edition and covering the artist’s life and work, his loves and artistic inspirations, from his earliest student projects of the 1980s to his very latest work. She has been a close collaborator of Perry’s for more than a decade, interviewing him numerous times and enjoying exclusive access to his archive, and in this talk she reveals his techniques and sources, his favourite themes and subjects, and the diverse artworks he has produced across ceramics, tapestry, printmaking, sculpture and architecture. How did Perry, almost unknown until his mid-40s when he unexpectedly won the Turner Prize, come to be Britain’s favourite artist since David Hockney and Lucian Freud? And where might this peculiarly British National Treasure be going next?

Jacky Klein is an art historian, publisher, writer and broadcaster, specialising in modern and contemporary art. After studying at Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she worked as a curator at a number of leading galleries: Tate, the Barbican, the

Courtauld and the Hayward. In 2008.  In art publishing, she has worked at Thames & Hudson, Tate Publishing and as Director of HENI Publishing. She is the author of a bestselling book on British artist Grayson Perry (Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition 2020) and co-author of a number of other titles.

Jacky is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s arts review programme, ‘Front Row’. And has worked in television for the BBC, Channel 5, the Travel Channel and Bloomberg TV. She has written and presented a online films and livestreams for Tate, Christie’s and the Art Fund.  An experienced lecturer in museums, galleries and at literary festivals, she has taught at a number of arts institutions including University College London, Christie’s Education, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts. She is a Trustee of the UK Association for Art History, and is currently Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute on their Masters programme, ‘Curating the Art Museum’.

November 9th  The Classical Re-invented The Brilliant Legacy of Sir Christopher Wren – Ian Swankie


In this talk we wind the clock back to the seventeenth century and enjoy an armchair tour of some of Wren’s magnificent structures including City Churches, the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and, of course, his greatest masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral. Wren was primarily a mathematician and astronomer and we’ll see how these disciplines are harnessed in his work. We will also look at the origins of the classical orders of architecture and discover how Wren’s love of this ancient system is everywhere to be seen in his legacy.

Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and gives tours around each venue. He is also a qualified and active freelance London guide and leads regular tours for various corporations and organisations. Since 2012 he has led a popular weekly independent art lecture group in his home town of Richmond in West London. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, one of the City livery companies

December 7th Adventures and Misadventures in Museums – David Phillips


The pictures on gallery walls look so well-behaved, but there can be Bedlam behind the scenes. Based on my own and colleagues’ experiences, we relive the highs and lows of curatorial life. We find out what’s involved in a gallery make-over, dine (disastrously) with a Duke, discover a masterpiece – and are questioned by Chelsea CID as suspects in a massive art fraud. At the end of the day, the reward should be a gallery full of engaged visitors, and it does often happen – but not always. The incidents of daily curatorial life can be colourful, but in this talk, they add up to a solid theme. What are the big issues that art curators face, and where should the whole business be going?

David Phillips studied History at Oxford, and from 1968-82 worked for Nottingham Castle

Museum. From 1982-98, Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art History at University of Manchester. Published a book about museum practice with Manchester University Press, Exhibiting Authenticity (1997). 

January 11th A Highland Thing? 18th to 20th Century Scottish Art – Rosalind Whyte

Scottish Art

For many years Scottish artists found it necessary to travel south to make their names and careers in art, but with the increasing importance of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow from the end of the 18th Century, an independent Scottish art scene became possible. These developments will be traced through individuals such as Sir Henry Raeburn, the first artist to find success whilst remaining in his native Scotland, and Sir David Wilkie, important as one of the first to truly export Scottish art. This lecture will also look at the parallels between Scottish and other European art, as well as periods of divergence, touching on art movements such as the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists.  Rosalind Whyte has a BA and MA from Goldsmith’s College, and an MA (distinction) from

Birkbeck College. Experienced guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the Royal Academy and Greenwich. Lectures at Tate, to independent art societies and on cruises. Leads art appreciation holidays Previous talks at Huntingdonshire include 250 years of the Royal Academy and Antony Gormley: A Body of Work. 

February 8th The Men Who Made Menswear – Russell Nash


This lecture tells the story of men’s tailoring over the past 200 years, told through the lives of the men who commissioned and created and wore it. Tailors, shirtmaker, hatters and other craftspeople in London’s west end, especially around Savile Row & Jermyn Street have shaped the way men dress since the

Regency. How did men such as Beau Brummell, The Duke of Windsor, Tommy Nutter, Montague Burton, Alexander McQueen and John Stephen create their signature looks which influenced the mens fashion? This lecture also looks at the wider cultural shifts since the early 19th century to the present day and how they affected the way that men present themselves.

Russell Nash trained and worked as an actor, writer, puppeteer and theatre maker for 15 years. In 2015 he qualified a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Around this time he rekindled his love of art and art history. He now regularly guides the major galleries and museums in London such as the National Gallery, Tates Modern & Britain and the British Museum. He has delivered lectures for institutes and museums, as well as numerous U3A groups and other societies. During Covid lockdowns he devised and delivered more than 30 different virtual tours and lectures to groups from the UK and across the globe. 

March 8th Creating an Imaginary World, Theatre Design from Temple to Playhouse –   Bertie Pearce

Theatre Design

Theatrical scene design is one of the world’s most beautiful, varied and lively art forms. In his talk, Bertie looks at the relationship between actor and audience and how this transformed the space and architecture of theatre throughout the ages. Beginning with the Greeks and their remarkable innovations to pageants, masques, liturgical drama, through the science of perspective, to court theatre. A quick glance at Commedia dell’arte before entering the Elizabethan

stage of the Globe and the Fortune and arriving at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. From great architects such as Inigo Jones and Frank Matcham, to practitioners such as Granville Barker and Gordon Craig and designers Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, Bertie brings to life the magical world of theatre.

Bertie Pearce has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma

Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. A member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. Past experience includes lecturing and performing on cruise ships, and to U3A, historical societies, festivals, schools and colleges. In addition, has toured the world with a magic cabaret show and a one man show entitled All Aboard. Has written articles for newspapers and magazines on entertainment and theatre.

April 12th The Culture of Ukraine – Rosamund Bartlett

Ukraine Culture

Whatever the future brings, there is no doubting the feeling that the Ukrainian nation is being reborn.  But what do we really know about this country, the secondlargest in Europe, which has struggled to be free for hundreds of years?  This lecture tells the Ukrainian story through the history of the shared culture which binds its proud people together. We will explore the sacred art and architecture of Kyiv, and its vital links to the Byzantine Empire, and consider the distinctive characters of two very different cities, Odesa and Lviv.

We will also look at the rich folk culture of Ukraine’s rural heartland, beginning with its music and the secret codes embedded in its ancient folk embroidery tradition, which have exerted a surprising impact on modern painting and contemporary haute couture.  Last but not least, this lecture promises to unravel the mysteries of wild Cossack dancing and the myriad recipes for borshch.

Rosamund Bartlett is an acknowledged authority on the culture of Russia and its neighbouring colonies who has been travelling to Ukraine for over thirty years.  She is a biographer of Russia’s greatest anti-war activist Tolstoy, and her annotated translation of Anna Karenina was published to acclaim by Oxford University Press in 2014.  She is also a biographer and translator of Chekhov, who had a Ukrainian grandmother, and grew up close to the border near the Black Sea.  Her edition of Chekhov’s letters for Penguin Classics includes many written from his dacha in Sumy.  In 2008 she launched a campaign to rescue Chekhov’s house in the Crimea, and remains a Trustee of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, a UK-registered charity.

May 10th Through the Keyhole: The Homes of William Morris – Fiona Rose

William Morris

This lecture examines how his design philosophy influenced, and was influenced by, his homes including Woodford Hall, Red House, Kelmscott Manor and Kelmscott House. This talk is copiously illustrated by beautiful photographs, internally and externally, of the Morris homes mentioned, many of which were taken by the lecturer during private tours of Morris’s residences.

Fiona Rose has been lecturing about topics she feels passionately about since 2010 including William Morris and his circle, the Arts & Crafts Movement, Frida Kahlo and Frank Lloyd Wright. She has a BA in Social Psychology and aims to include the human story behind the artistic endeavours of her subjects. After an early career in public health Fiona founded and runs a home interiors business featuring the work of the great C19th designers such as Morris, Dearle, Voysey and Mackintosh. Fiona is a member of the museum Collections committee for The William Morris Society where she served as a Trustee. She is also a contributor to the Society’s Magazine and Journal of William Morris Studies. Fiona is a volunteer Tour Guide with the Arts & Crafts gem The David Parr House.