A summary of last season’s programme follows along with links to the papers posted by members of the committee.
From 9th June 2021, our sixth and we hope last Zoom lecture,
‘A touch of the sun’.
Lecturer: Sarah Lenton.
The oddest ‘star’ in opera is the Sun. Its appearance in The Magic Flute triggers the finale when everybody dances off bathed in happy, rational daylight. But other operas are more wary about the heat. It’s the baking sun that precipitates the disastrous passions in Carmen and Aida, and what about that moment in the year when the sun is at its strongest? Midsummer itself. I’ll be looking at operas like The Fairy Queen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Faust, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and especially Lohengrin – all set at this odd time of the year, when quiet English woods and respectable German towns find themselves on the edge of fairyland.
From 12th May 2021, our fifth Zoom lecture
Utility, Post-war Design and the Festival of Britain (c.1939 – 1960).
Lecturer: Sally Hoban
The war years brought innovations that we now all recognize as key practices in competitive markets: limited variety, low-cost materials and streamlining. Some utility designs in furniture still stand up to scrutiny. The place of the industrial designer was clearly stated in this period and played a key part in the decorative style of the 1950s, when new technologies such as x-ray crystallography influenced product design. Exploring major UK exhibitions such as Britain Can Make It, 1946, and the Festival of Britain in 1951, this lecture highlights key characteristics of period style.
From 14th April 2021 our fourth Zoom lecture
Lecturer: Caroline Shenton
Packing up the Nation: Storing Art Before the Nazi Invasion (postponed from April 2020)
This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered on the other side of the Channel to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections to safety. Utilising country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, tube tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries, a dedicated team of unlikely heroes packed up their greatest treasures in a race against time during the sweltering summer of 1939, dispatching them throughout the country on a series of secret wartime adventures, retold in this talk.
From 10th March 2021 – our third Zoom lecture
Lecturer: Rosalind Whyte
Antony Gormley: A Body of Work (postponed from May 2020)
Antony Gormley’s career spans nearly 40 years, during which time he has made sculpture that explores the relationship of the human body to space, often using his own body as his starting point. His work has been shown throughout the world, in galleries including the Tate in London and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, but is also often on open display, as public art, such as Another Place at Crosby Beach, near Liverpool. As well as works that he is well known for, like the iconic Angel of the North, this lecture will look at some of his earlier and less well-known works, to give an overall view of the development of his work across his whole career, up to the present time.
From February 2021 – our second Zoom lecture
Lecturer: Antony Penrose
Roland Penrose – The Friendly Surrealist
The man who came from a family of strict Quakers became a key figure in Modern Art in the 20th Century, responsible for bringing Surrealism to Britain in 1936 and Picasso to Britain in 1960. He was a Surrealist artist in Paris, a friend of Breton and Éluard and later the close friend and biographer of Max Ernst, Picasso, Miró, Man Ray and Tàpies. He founded the ICA in London and curated exhibitions of work by Picasso (1960) and Miró (1964) at the Tate Gallery. His own work is enjoying a return to prominence following a major retrospective exhibition of his work at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh in 2001 and at Fundacion Picasso Malaga in 2008 and Southampton Art Gallery in 2012. In 1937 he met the American photographer Lee Miller who he married in 1947. This presentation is illustrated with many of her images.
Note: This contains some war time images which may be disturbing.
From January 2021 – our first Zoom lecture
Frank Woodgate The Art and Scandalous Lives of the Bloomsbury Group
The art of the three main ‘Bloomsbury’ artists (Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry) cannot be separated from their astonishing lives. They, along with their literary and other intellectual companions (Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes, amongst others) were part of a movement, the popular name for which became widely used only after the death of around half its members.
This lecture reviews their intertwined relationships and covers the so-called ‘Art-quake of 1910’, when Roger Fry, assisted by Virginia’s husband, the art critic and writer, Clive Bell, mounted the Manet and the Post-Impressionists exhibition at the Grafton Galleries in London.
For David Garnett’s connection with Hilton, please click on the following link Hilton Hall.
From December 2020
For December we had a nicely balanced seasonal package with artwork from the North and South Poles. From the north there are some wonderful contemporary images from the Inuit culture; from the south there are sketches and watercolours by Edward Wilson, the polar explorer who died with Scott, as well as the story of his wedding in Hilton in 1901 to the rector’s daughter. We hope you will find these interesting and take the opportunity to use links and references to follow up any of the items you found stimulating.
From November 2020
This month we looked at the history of the Palace of Westminster and why it looks as it does today. The article Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament includes links to external websites and videos that take you to parts of the palace that you will never be allowed to see, unless you are a very privileged visitor!
The link, https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/virtualtour/ takes you on a virtual tour of both of the Houses of Parliament.
From October 2020 – The Renaissance is the name we give to the period of cultural ‘rebirth’ that followed the Middle Ages. The two articles below address some of the changes during this period:
The last article for this month is a piece of light relief:
From September 2020 – Roman Times and Archaeology
Please note that we accept no responsibility for the content of any websites that are not under our direct control.