Tue 16th November 2021
By: James Russell
In the depths of the Mexican jungle lies an enchanted garden in which strange ruins tower over waterfalls and pools. It seems like the remains of a lost civilization, but the arches and the stairways were built only in the last century by Edward James, a rich English eccentric and Surrealist. Ranging around the world and across the 20th century, this colourful lecture tells the story of Edward James and Las Pozas, introducing along the way an array of intriguing characters. A treat for the armchair traveller!
James Russell is an art historian, curator and author with a leaning towards 20/21 st century British Art and Culture. He lectured to the Society on Eric Ravillious in October 2020.
The image is of Las Pozas courtesy of Fundacion Pedro and Elena Hernandez AC
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.
Wed 30th November 2022
By: Nigel Bates
The day commences with in-depth looks at the history and architecture of the building. We then discover the way that daily and rehearsals of opera and ballet and much else besides all fit into this elegant Victorian theatre – the flagship of the British arts world and the workplace of more than a thousand people. Includes several performance video clips and additional focus on costume and set design, production values and how the digital age has been embraced by the opera and ballet worlds. Includes many performance audio and video clips.
NIGEL BATES started his musical career in the Regimental Band of the Scots Guards, leaving the army to join the Orchestra of Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and to hold an appointment as a Professor at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
After a freelance period working with most of the London orchestras and ensembles – which included a very varied musical diet of concerts, recordings and touring - Nigel was appointed Section Principal Percussion of the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden in 1993, where he very much enjoyed meeting the many percussive challenges encountered in the world of first-class opera and ballet.
In addition to his main orchestral duties at Covent Garden, Nigel was involved in projects for the ROH Education Department, the Linbury Theatre and ROH2 productions such as William Tuckett's The Soldier’s Tale. He was also active in organising ROH staff and artist charity events such as the Curtain Call for Aid gala performance in 2005, which raised over £200,000 for Save the Children’s Tsunami Fund.
Thu 18th May 2023
By: James Russell
Sadly, we have decided to postpone James Russell's study day from Tuesday 16th November 2021 until Thursday May 18th 2023 because of Covid-19.
However, James has very kindly offered to present an hour lecture via Zoom Webinar on the original date. This will be free to members of The Arts Society, Nottingham.
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.