This is the provisional programme for the season 2020 – 2021. However, with the current crisis related to Corona Virus (Covid-19), it is uncertain when the programme will start.

Wednesday, 14th October

James Russell

Eric Ravilious – A Life in Pictures

Eric Ravilious was only 39 when he died on active service as a war artist in 1942, yet he had already achieved amazing things. A brilliant wood engraver and designer, he is best known today for his haunting watercolours in which lighthouses, white horses, empty rooms and downland paths become marvels. This entertaining illustrated talk illuminates the life and work of a playful, enigmatic artist, with plentiful examples of his work.

The paintings are a delight, the Ravilious story funny, sad and full of surprises.

Wednesday, 11th November

Colin Davies

Zaha Hadid – Architectural Superstar

Born in Iraq Zaha’s reputation was global, but she made Britain her home. This lecture tells the story of her career from the visionary projects of the 1980s, through the years of frustration when her designs were considered unbuildable, to the prolific crop of successful projects built all over the world in the last decade of her life. Dame Zaha Hadid died in March 2016 at the age of 65.

Wednesday, 9th December

Neil Faulkner

Dickens, Lawrence, and Zhivago; David Lean’s Art of Cinema

Cinematic images are modern art forms. Drawing on new insights from the archaeology of cinema, this lecture will use the films of renowned British director David Lean to explore the art of cinema. In the ‘golden age’ of cinema –film-makers had to construct sets to represent landscapes, townscapes, and interiors. How do the ‘artists’ – in this case formed of large collaborative teams choose locations, more generally, ‘imagine’ the world they seek to represent? What are the influences on the way the cinema depicts the world? How much is authentic, and how much preconception and prejudice?

Wednesday, 13th January

Brian Mac Donald

Tribal Bags, Fabulous Bags- The Antique Weavings & Dowry Bags of the Persian & Central Asian Nomads

Today these magnificent woven containers, many depicting the very best of tribal work, have virtually disappeared and are not likely to be seen again amongst the nomadic tribes. The 1940s saw the decline of these utilitarian bags which, until then, were highly prized possessions amongst the nomadic peoples. Why did this happen?  What caused it? The audience will have the opportunity to discover and examine little known utilitarian weavings, such as wonderful saddlebags, unusual salt bags, and exquisite but tiny vanity bags.

Wednesday, 10th February

Brian Healey

Helsinki: A Jewel of Art Nouveau

The lecture shows how art, architecture, music and literature came together in Finland’s quest for nationhood in the latter years of the 19th century and at the same time helped turn its capital city into a jewel of art nouveau, but with a distinctly Finnish flavour.

Wednesday, 10th March

Sophie Oosterwijk

Miniature Adults? Images of Childhood in Western Art

When we look at early child portraits, we often see only miniature adults dressed stiffly in adult-like clothes. Recognising the (artistic) conventions behind such images may help to discover more about childhood throughout history, and about social expectations. Our findings could well be very different from what we might expect. 

Wednesday, 14th April

Mark Ovenden

The Northern Powerhouse

The driver of the early Northern Powerhouse was its pioneering transportation and great inventiveness: the first modern canals (Bridgewater), first inter-city railways (Liverpool-Manchester), first buses (Salford), first tram (Birkenhead), first Motorway (Preston by-pass). Mark will show how the north (from Sheffield’s’ cutlery to Nottingham’s’ running water) has always been at the forefront of new technology which gave it a competitive advantage over other areas.

Wednesday, 12th May

Twigs Way

Mary Delany (1700-1788) and her Paper Flora Delanica

Scandal, politics, botany, art and wit – this talk has it all. Following the life of the ‘grotto nymph’ and creator of botanic paper mosaiks.  After a life of gardening and ‘shell work’ she embarked, aged 72, on a fabulous Flora of paper portrayals of exotic plants.

Wednesday, 9th June

Christopher Bradley

Magnificent Mosaics-Window into the Colourful Roman World

The Romans have left us with a remarkable artistic record of their lifestyle, beliefs, achievements and entertainment in the form of beautiful mosaics. From the best sites and museums in the world we see how they built on earlier Greek traditions; the cities in which they lived; the Gods and myths in which they believed; and the exotic lives of the Romans themselves – from Britain to Sicily, from Morocco to Syria.