Wednesday, 11th October


Indians, Buffalo, and Storms: the American West in 19th Century Art.

This lecture portrays the grandeur and the taming of America’s west. American 19th century art gives a powerful, if romanticised, perspective on the country and people that westward-travelling settlers found. From the anthropologically important pictures of Alfred Jacob Miller to the magnificent self-indulgence of Albert Bierstadt.

Toby’s 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

Wednesday, 8th November

Timothy WILCOX

Gone in a flash? A history of firework displays from the Renaissance to the age of electricity.

One art form that is never likely to gather dust in a museum; the firework display. The opening of the Olympics and the start of the New Year, fireworks celebrate these events. For centuries, the fireworks themselves were only seen for seconds yet cost large amounts of money. A large archive of visual evidence remains. From Louis XIV to the Russian Emperors the displays had useful propaganda value designed to impress and amaze.

Timothy read Modern Languages at Cambridge, then History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. He was a curator at the V&A, in Liverpool and Hove; from 2001-03  he was Acting Assistant Keeper in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. As a freelance curator and lecturer since 1997, he has taught at the Universities of Brighton and Surrey and is a regular course leader at the Courtauld Institute Summer School.

Wednesday, 13th December


Adventures and Misadventures in Museums

What are the big issues that art curators face? The pictures on gallery walls look so well-behaved, but there can be Bedlam behind the scenes. We relive the highs and lows of curatorial life, and find out what’s involved in a gallery make-over. David worked for many years at Nottingham Castle Museum.

David studied History at Oxford, and from 1968-82 worked for Nottingham Castle Museum. From 1982-98, he was a Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art History at University of Manchester. David has published a book about museum practice with Manchester University Press, ‘Exhibiting Authenticity’,


Wednesday, 10th January


The Cook Sisters

Ida and Louise Cook had a secret mission- to save Jews. This talk will explore the world of Opera in the 1920s and 30s – the clothes, music, celebrities, and the signed photographs coveted by fans. It will also show how Opera transformed the lives not just of these two sisters but of at least 29 families they saved. In 2010, the Government posthumously created the Cook sisters British Heroes of the Holocaust.

Anne is a biographer, historian and author of eleven books and lectures to a variety of audiences in the US and UK, including the English-Speaking Union, Royal Overseas League, National Trust, British Library and Imperial War Museum. A former Reuters foreign correspondent, Anne is now a broadcaster.  

Wednesday, 14th February


Satirist to Insanity-celebrating the life and work of James Gillray (1756-1815)

A natural successor to William Hogarth; but using wit and vitriol in his satirical prints. Gillray’s reputation, in the Victorian climate of moralistic righteousness, plummeted. Now he is the natural forefather of Spitting Image and the cartoons of Gerald Scarfe and Steve Bell.

Ian gained a First-Class degree from Oxford University in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then became a professional magician. A Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star and has received The Magic Circle Comedy Award


Wednesday,14th March


Thomas Heatherwick- the modern Leonardo?

The acclaimed Olympic Cauldron and the iconic new London bus, are just two of the wonderful creative designs that this extraordinarily versatile young designer has produced. Over twenty years, using a combination of curiosity and experimentation Heatherwick and his team have responded to challenges around the world. The talk looks at the problems presented and the results accomplished.

A Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. Ian is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and gives regular tours at each venue. In 2012, he established a weekly independent art lecture group in Richmond and gives talks on a variety of subjects

Wednesday, 11th April


James Tissot: Master of Fashion and Frisson.

The lecture explores the life and work of this fascinating 19th century artist; the French thought his pictures English; the English thought his pictures French. He loved to paint women. His acute observations of nineteenth-century etiquette add frission to our viewing and the details of the fashions are a dress historians dream.

Lizzie is a Graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art. She has a wide experience as a freelance lecturer in the History of Art, working with fine arts societies and art galleries throughout Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Lizzie is particularly interested in placing works of art within their wider social and economic context, exploring the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind the paintings.

Wednesday, 9th May


Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture.

One of the most derided towns in England, renowned for its dullness. Rupert explains that the post-war planners, who influenced such features as ‘the Great Wall of Basingstoke’ on the town, were politically motivated and bent on destroying all traces of its past. Hilariously told, it is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, “What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns”

A prize-winning historian who specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. Rupert contributes regular obituaries to The Times and The Daily Telegraph, writes privately-commissioned histories of houses, and is an experienced lecturer – and occasional broadcaster – on a broad range of topics, with an interest in architecture, interior decoration, and costume.

Wednesday, 13th June


Meissen Porcelain

A history of the great Meissen porcelain factory and its productions up to 1756. Included will be white porcelain, enamel colours, the influence of China and Japan and the commissioning of the great animal and bird figures.

Jane has an MA History of Art, from the University of London.  She trained at the V&A and continues to lecture there. Jane has been Senior Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art for 17 years, and becoming a Deputy Director of Sotheby’s, UK.