Programme 2018-2019

Meetings start promptly at 2.30pm and usually last for 1 hour.
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12th December 2018
Deck the Hall – Yuletide Customs and Traditions

Christmas, as a time of celebrations, has a very long pedigree. The great midwinter festival, known to the Romans as Saturnalia, is still greeted with feasting and drinking throughout the 12 days of Christmas. Wassail bowls and bobs, boars’ heads stuck with apples, carolling, mumming, riotous games in hall – all presided over by the Lord of Misrule. Twelfth Night signalled an end to the merry anarchy with great pies and rich fruit cakes concealing a bean and a pea. Using contemporary illustrations, this lecture explores the sources and significance of these ancient customs and traditions.

Dr David Bostwick
Lecturer and consultant in the Cultural History of the Medieval, Tudor and Stuart periods. Specialist in medieval imagery and interior furnishings and decoration 1400-1700. Tour leader. Former Keeper of the Social History Collections, Sheffield City Museums. Lecture tours to USA and Australia. Consultant on historic buildings and their interpretation to the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Scotland.

9th January 2019
James Whistler – “The gentle art of making enemies”.

No synopsis available yet.

Douglas Skeggs
Cambridge Fine Arts. Writer, Artist, TV Presenter. Lecturer to many London art courses. Director of the New Academy of Arts. Author of 6 Novels.

13th February 2019
Northern Lights- Scandinavian design in the 20th century.

The beginning of the new millennium has witnessed a growing taste for clean lines and lack of clutter which has stimulated interest in 20th century design. With many of us visiting Ikea on a regular basis, the influence of the great Scandinavian designers of the mid-20th century has had more of an impact on contemporary design than most people realize. Some of the most important designers whose influence remains extraordinarily strong were Scandinavian, such as Alvar Aalto from Finland, Henning Koppel, working for Georg Jensen, and Arne Jacobsen from Denmark or Orrefors glass from Sweden. These were designers and makers of the new ‘antiques’, pushing the boundaries in the use of design and materials and with a lasting legacy.

Deborah Lambert
Deborah Lambert is a freelance art historian and lecturer. After reading for an MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, London University, she became an arts administrator. In 1978 she joined Christie’s Education, part of Christie’s Auctioneers, as tutor, lecturer and academic director teaching fine and decorative art history. From 2006 until stepping down in September 2015, Deborah was Curator of the Schroder Collection, an important private art collection, and she now concentrates on her freelance lecturing and research.

Deborah has lectured to a variety of organisations in the United Kingdom and abroad, and for over 20 years appeared on BBC Television’s Antiques Roadshow as a furniture specialist.

13th March 2019
American Art “Indians, Buffalo and Storms”.

Artists were never 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, painters 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. After a period of deep neglect, they are now very much back in vogue, but whatever one thinks of their artistic merits, I hope audiences will agree with me 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, 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. He is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music and a director of Liverpool University Press and the Copyright Licensing Agency.

10th April 2019
Petra – Caravan City of the Ancient Arabs.

No synopsis yet.

Dr Neil Faulkner
Educated at King’s College Cambridge and Institute of Archaeology UCL. Works as lecturer, writer, archaeologist and occasional broadcaster. Research Fellow, University of Bristol. Editor, Military History Monthly. Director, Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project. Director, Great Arab Revolt Project. Author of The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain, Apocalypse, Hidden Treasure, Rome: Empire of the Eagles, and The Ancient Greek Olympics: a visitor’s guide. Author of forthcoming Lawrence of Arabia’s War. Major TV appearances include Channel 4’s Time Team, BBC2’s Timewatch, Channel Five’s Boudica Revealed and Sky Atlantic’s The British.

8th May 2019
Pipers and Tune

Piper’s stage designs and his wife’s librettos were integral to the development of Britten’s operas. The friendship between John Piper and Benjamin Britten began, developed and strengthened through their working together, and that succeeded because they both had a passion for the unity of the Arts in the theatre. What sounded good must look good, what made musical sense must make visual and poetic sense as well. Piper made a remarkably personal and sustained contribution to the production of Britten’s operas, which was further strengthened by the role of his wife, Myfanwy, as librettist of three operas: The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave and Death in Venice (Alan Blyth and Donald Mitchell). Janet will explore this fusion of the Arts, using recordings and keyboard (if available but not essential).

Janet Canetty-Clarke
For over 35 years, until their closure in 2012, she was a lecturer in music for the Centre for Community Engagement at Sussex University and for London University at Birkbeck College. She now gives individual lectures and study weekends for Cambridge University (at Madingley Hall) and lectures for the WEA in the South East. She was Conductor of the Ditching Choral Society (now Sussex Chorus) for 37 years and has recently been created their Conductor Emeritus. She was Guest Conductor of The Frauen Kammerorchester von Österreich in Vienna for over 16 years, and toured Australia for ADFAS in 1994 and 2001, and South Africa in 1997.

12th June 2019
AGM arrangements to be advised.