Tue 16th November 2021
By: James Russell
Who does the housework? Who gets the glory? Successful artists tend to be driven and, dare one say it, egotistical, so what happens when two of them set up home together? Focusing on 20th century British art, this colourful lecture explores the lives and careers of notable artist couples, including Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, and Julian Trevelyan and Mary Fedden. It will quickly become clear that, where artists are concerned, there are few rules. Love inspires creativity but so, sometimes, does the fading of love. One artist may begin in the ascendant only to see the other achieve greater success. The private lives of artist couples are often startling and never dull, and the paintings and sculpture on show here are glorious.
Having studied History at Pembroke College, Cambridge, James Russell enjoyed a lengthy stint selling contemporary paintings and sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an experience that inspired him to begin writing and lecturing on 20th century art. Of his dozen or so books, one was a Sunday Times book of the year, while his writing has been described by critics as ‘insightful’, ‘informative’ and ‘enjoyably readable’. James has curated major exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery and for museums around the country. He bases his lectures on wide-ranging original research into the subjects that fascinate him.
Wed 27th April 2022
By: Mike Higginbottom
Away From It All surveys the history of leisure away from home, covering the spas and watering places that rich people frequented from Tudor times onwards, and the seaside holiday towns that grew up in Victorian times when the railway system enabled ordinary working people to spend time away from home enjoying themselves. It explores the curative use of water from Roman times, through the Middle Ages in places like Bath and Buxton and after the Reformation, when the medical profession fostered the growth of new spas, such as Harrogate, and then examines the subsequent popularity of hydrotherapy, which created significant growth in such towns as Ilkley and Matlock.
The development of the British seaside during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – the heyday of popular holidaymaking – directly resulted from the growth of the railway network. The lecture includes such major resorts as Blackpool, Brighton, Great Yarmouth and Scarborough, showing the unique quality of seaside structures such as piers, winter gardens and fairgrounds.