Wednesday, 10th October

Alexandra Drysdale

Golden yellow, red, and blue: The Cardinal Colours

This lecture studies the art, science, and history of the three Cardinal colours. There will be a special emphasis on yellow to celebrate the Golden anniversary of The Arts Society. We look at the history of yellow pigments, cultural meanings of yellow and yellow in European painting. Also included will be an introduction to colour theory and the difference between coloured light and chemical colours.

An art historian and a professional artist. Her lectures combine art historical knowledge with personal expertise in aesthetics and artistic techniques.  Alexandra has a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Chelsea School of Art and an MFA from Cambridge School of Art.

Wednesday, 14th November

Nicholas Merchant

Linley; The Continuing Tradition of English Cabinet-Making

David Linley has established himself as one of the leading furniture designers of our day. His furniture is inspired by the past, re-interpreted for the 21st century. He is not alone and the craft of the cabinet maker flourishes in an age of mediocrity. Here we examine his work, his style, his inspiration and how his work relates to the history of cabinet-making in Britain. Many of the parameters that governed the life of an 18th century cabinet maker still holds good to-day.

Nicholas’s career has mirrored his abiding interest in antiques. He has worked for some of the major auction houses in London. He lectures extensively in the USA, South Africa, Europe, and UK, including the V&A.  Nicholas is the Art Fund’s West Yorkshire Representative.

Wednesday, 12th December

Rosamund Bartlett

Father Frost and Old New Year: Christmas Traditions in Russia

We will explore the rich tradition of religious and folk customs associated with the Christmas period in Russia. How they are reflected in Russian arts, with musical illustrations. The lecture also discusses the secular Christmas celebrations introduced by Peter the Great, transformations by Stalin during Soviet times and what Christmas means to Russians today.

Rosamund is the author of several books, including biographies of Tolstoy and Chekhov, whose works she has also translated for Oxford World’s Classics. She has extensive experience lecturing in Russian cultural history at venues such as the V&A, the National Theatre and Covent Garden, and broadcasts regularly on the BBC.

Wednesday, 9th January

Sally Dormer

The Wilton Diptych

Now housed in London’s National Gallery, the Wilton Diptych is one of the most enigmatic and exquisite of surviving English panel paintings. Painted 1395-97 for Richard II who ascended the English throne in 1377 aged 11. This lecture approaches the Wilton Diptych as a detective puzzle and attempts to decode the painting’s complex layers of subtle meaning and to place it securely within its late 14th century context.

A lecturer and tutor for the Early Medieval Year Course at V&A, also Dean of ‘European Studies’ for two US Universities. Her academic achievements are a BA (History) from the University of Durham; and a PhD (Medieval Manuscript illumination) and MA (Medieval History of Art) from the Courtauld Institute.

Wednesday, 13th February

Dominic Riley

Lost on the Titanic- the story of the great Omar binding

This is the story of the making of the great Omar; the most fabulous, elaborate, and opulent binding ever created. It was embellished with over one thousand jewels, five thousand leather onlays and a hundred square feet of gold leaf and took a team of craftsmen two and a half years to make it.  It is also the history of the renowned bookbinding firm of Sangorski and Sutcliffe. The binding went down with the Titanic. We will hear a moving story of life after the tragedy and of one young man who decided against the odds to recreate the binding, which occupied him for the rest of his life.


A bookbinder, artist, and teacher. Dominic first learned bookbinding at 16 from Benedictine Monks at Douai Abbey in Berkshire and later at the London College of Printing. He has worked at the V&A, and for various binderies in London, New York, and San Francisco, and spends part of the year teaching across the USA. His bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library and the John Rylands Library in Manchester.

Wednesday, 13th March

Pamela Campbell-Johnston

Image & History: Art at the Lansdowne Club

The current collection at the Lansdowne Club highlights it’s fascinating architectural, social, and political history. Through 18century prints, oils, photography, modern silkscreens, lithographs, and mixed media works the image and history of this Grade II building comes to life.

Pamela specialises in British Domestic Architecture and Modern British Art. She has over 12 years’ experience at the Royal Academy with work experience undertaken at Bonham’s, Art Loss Register, and The National Trust. Now a freelance art consultant and lecturer who recently curated a collection for the Lansdowne Club.

Wednesday, 10th April

Peter Medhurst

Johann Sebastian Bach

The one thing on which all music lovers agree is that Bach’s music presents one of the greatest challenges in the whole history of music. Through the telling of Bach’s story, and through the exploration of some of his finest music Peter attempts to unravel this most complex of musical enigmas to reveal a man whose music radiates humanity, vision, intelligence, and love.

Peter appears in the UK and abroad as a musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg


Wednesday, 8th May

Elizabeth Gowing

The Silver Thread; silver filigree and traditional arts in Kosovo

From the early Kosovan silver mines mentioned in Dante, through the 20th century politics over Kosovo’s mines (which resulted in both a war and a golf course) a silver thread winds through Kosovo’s history. In the country’s cultural capital, Prizren there are seventh generation filigree artisans who turn dull raw sticks of silver into magical lacy creations. The results- in boxes, buttons, jewellery, religious ornamentation, and talismans of superstition- are a fine narrative of Kosovo’s history and traditions.

After studying at Magdalen College Oxford, Elizabeth trained as a teacher and worked in Lambeth, Hackney, and Islington. She moved to Kosovo in 2006 and there worked with the Ethnological Museum in Prishtina and co-founded ‘The Ideas Partnership’, a charity working on education and cultural heritage projects. Elizabeth speaks fluent Albanian and is the author of four books about Kosovo.  She is a regular contributor to Radio 4 (Saturday Live, Excess Baggage, From Our Own Correspondent) and the BBC World Service

Wednesday, 12th June

Steven Desmond

Historic gardens of the Italian Lakes

Please note that this lecture will be held at Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street using Lecture Theatre 2 on Level One.

There are many illustrious gardens on the shores of Lakes Como and Maggiore in the mountainous far north of Italy. Those included in this lecture include a 16th-century parterre and water staircase; a baroque garden in the middle of a lake; two gardens made by rival Napoleonic grandees; and a garden created by two Edwardian romantics as a theatre for sharing their love of art and nature. These achievements and others are set in a climate ideal for garden-making among some of the world’s noblest scenery.

An independent landscape consultant specialising in historic gardens and architecture since 1985. He is also a freelance lecturer at the Universities of Bristol and Oxford. Steven is a writer and broadcaster on historic gardens and related topics. His book Gardens of the Italian Lakes, with photography by Marianne Majerus, is published by Frances Lincoln