Summary of current events

George Stubbs: The English Leonardo

Wed 12th October 2022

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Christopher Garibaldi

This lecture looks at the life and work of this country’s greatest animal painter, putting Stubbs in the context of British sporting artists of the eighteenth century more generally. It focusses on his depiction of equestrian subjects such as the National Gallery’s Whistlejacket but also looks at the broader themes he addressed.

Art historians and critics have compared the work of Stubbs that of Leonardo da Vinci, one even christening him 'the Leonardo of Liverpool' to reflect his humble origins.  This can seem hubristic until one considers the scientific method and investigation that lay behind the production by Stubbs of his world-famous 'Anatomy of the Horse' published in 1766 - a wok which revolutionised the understanding and depiction of equine subjects. This lecture looks at Stubbs' life and work in the context of British Sporting Artists of the eighteenth century. 

From 2010-2019, Christopher Garibaldi was Director of Palace House, Newmarket (the National Horseracing Museum). He is currently studying for his doctorate on aspects of the history of royal patronage at St John's College, Cambridge.


George Stubbs: The English Leonardo

Turner v Constable: The Great British Paint Off

Wed 9th November 2022

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Nicola Moorby

This is the story of the epic rivalry between the two giants of British art, J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. As unlike in background and temperament as their paintings were in style, these two creative geniuses transformed the art of landscape. This lecture sets them headto-head and examines their differences, their similarities, their battles and their shared triumphs. But who will ultimately be crowned star painter? 

Nicola Moorby is an art historian specialising in the 19th century and has published widely on Turner. As well as examining both the difference and similarities of Turner and Constable, the lecture gives an enjoyable overview of art during that period.

Turner v Constable: The Great British Paint OffTurner v Constable: The Great British Paint OffTurner v Constable: The Great British Paint Off

Pharaohs of the Sun. The Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun's Dynasty

Wed 14th December 2022

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Guy de la Bedoyere

Everyone has heard of Tutankhamun and his celebrated tomb, found almost intact in 1922. He was a minor king of so little consequence he was cut out of official king lists. He came at the end of a dynasty of kings who had ruled Egypt for over two centuries since c. 1550 BC. Within a few decades the Dynasty had come to an end, leaving its tombs, temples, and colossal statues to be subsumed by later generations and then finally the sand. The lecture is an over-view of this extraordinary era in world history, placing royal imagery in an historical context.

Guy de la Bedoyere is a historian whose most recent book 'Pharoahs of the Sun' was a book of the week on Radio 4. The book is about the most powerful, successfull and richest dynasty of kings in the long history of Egypt, of which Tutankhamun was the last. 

Pharaohs of the Sun. The Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun's DynastyPharaohs of the Sun. The Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun's DynastyPharaohs of the Sun. The Rise and Fall of Tutankhamun's Dynasty

A child of six could do it! Cartoonists' Views of Modern Art

Wed 11th January 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Barry Venning

Modern art is often considered difficult, but it is much less so when seen through the eyes of some of the greatest cartoonists of the last one hundred and fifty years, who provide a humorous and sceptical but instructive guide to modern art from Courbet to the Britart of the 1990s. A chance to enjoy the insights and cartoons of (among others) Daumier, Larry, Thelwell, Matt, the wise guys at the New Yorker magazine and, of course, the immortal Giles. Collectively, they provide an absorbing, illuminating and, above all, a funny, revealing and sidelong view of 150 years of modern art. 

Barry Venning has wide interests ranging from the art of medieval Europe to global contemporary art, to touring theatre, comic strips (including Clare in the Community, fondly remembered by Guardian readers), radio comedy and cartoon workshops.

A child of six could do it! Cartoonists' Views of Modern Art

Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes

Wed 8th February 2023

12:00 am

By: Caroline Shenton

This lecture explores the story of the suffragettes through their ‘pro and anti’ portrayals in cartoons, postcards and paintings - as well as their own artistic productions. It will also consider the Suffragettes’ impact on the Houses of Parliament itself and how the Parliamentary Art Collection has responded to criticism that its own collection is too ‘male, pale and stale'.

Caroline Shenton is an archivist (including being Director of Parliamentary Archives and a senior archivist at the National Archives) and historian who won the Political Book of the Year award in 2013 for 'The Day Parliament Burnt Down'.  The lecture shows how the campaign for equal electoral rights was won by and through art.  it is described as amusing, infuriating, enraging and inspiring.

Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes

Castles of Nottinghamshire

Wed 8th March 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: James Wright

Based on a book of the same name, this is a refreshed and updated lecture on a regionally popular theme. Whilst much work has been done on Nottingham and Newark, most of the other castles in the county are a mystery even to local people. The talk concentrates on the early Norman motte and bailey castles built as part of the post-Conquest settlement, such as Bothamsall and East Bridgford, and moves on to study the late Medieval fortified manor houses such as Strelley Hall.

James Wright is a buildings archeologist based in Nottingham and with an interest in medieval and early modern architecture. He is interested in using physical structures to understand the everyday existence of ordinary people living in elite buildings.

The Glamour Years: Jewellery and Fashion from 1929 - 1959

Wed 12th April 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Andrew Prince

In this talk, Andrew shows how the Great Depression and the Second World war had such an extraordinary impact on fashion and jewellery design with the rise of cinema and Hollywood. From the likes of Marlene Dietrich to Grace Kelly, he guides you through the various screen goddesses, how they were portrayed and what they gave to such dazzling effect. He also shows that with the development of advertising, labour saving devices and leisure time, people had more opportunities to enjoy themselves and spend money on the finer things in life, as well as how the political events of the time influenced design and what was worn.  He shows how the Belle Epoque and Art Deco flowered again in Christiian Dior's New Look.

Andrew Prince developed his passion for jewellery as a child including the Renaissance jewels in the Princely Magnificance exhibition, 18th century gold boxex and Faberge pieces, and the Duchess of Windsor's collection. At 16, he started work in Bond Street and went on to design for private commissions and for films and TV.

The Glamour Years: Jewellery and Fashion from 1929 - 1959

"Oh, I'd never sell it" - other Stuff and Nonsense from the Antiques Roadshow

Wed 10th May 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Lars Tharp

‘Man and boy’ I’ve appeared on all ARS series from 1986 to present. The ‘show-and-tell’ format has been replicated by TV companies throughout the world with local variants. (A Chinese equivalent, in which forgeries are liquidated before your eyes, is particularly ‘interesting’…).This behind-the-scenes talk answers some of the many questions which spring to mind: how is this complex show made; how many people bringing how many objects; how are big objects brought in; do clients know the valuation before interview recording; how many go on to sell; and (often asked) have we ever broken anything?

Lars Tharp has worked with ceramics and other areas for over 40 years and has specialised in Chinese and European ceramics.

What makes a Masterpiece?

Wed 14th June 2023

10:30 am and 12:30 pm

By: Jacky Klein

Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Monet's Waterlilies, Van Gogh's Starry Night – all are without doubt iconic works of art. But how did they rise above the rest to become masterpieces? From money and taste to intrigue and power, warfare and sheer good luck, we explore what ingredients make an artwork a masterpiece. Are there consistent elements that give objects their seminal stature? Why do works of the same technical or emotional power as these ‘greatest hits’ often not capture the public imagination? And if we understand the elements of a masterpiece, might we be able to predict the next one? The lecture reveals the vagaries of history, the particular power of certain images and styles, and the deep-seated cultural beliefs and emotional responses that have come together to define the artistic canon.

Jacky Klein specialises in modern contempory art and has been curator at leading galleries. She expaned into publishing and lecturing as well as appearing on Front Row and TV arts programmes.

What makes a Masterpiece?

Previous Lectures

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

Wed 13th January 2021

By: Brian Mac Donald

Winslow Homer and the Art of New England

Wed 10th February 2021

By: Brian Healey

Miniature Adults? Images of Childhood in Western Art

Wed 10th March 2021

By: Sophie Oosterwijk

The Northern Powerhouse

Wed 14th April 2021

By: Mark Ovenden

Twigs Way

Wed 12th May 2021

By: Mary Delany

Magnificent Mosaics-Window into the Colourful Roman World

Wed 9th June 2021

By: Christopher Bradley

Painting with Light: Stained glass in the Age of George III

Wed 13th October 2021

By: Martin Ellis

The Field of the Cloth of Gold: 6,000 Englishmen in France for Eighteen Days - How Did They Do It?

Wed 10th November 2021

By: Joanna Mabbutt

Grinling Gibbons, Carver to the Crown

Wed 8th December 2021

By: Caroline Knight

Fine Art Forgery, Craftmanship or Conjuring Trick

Wed 12th January 2022

By: David Phillips

Unravelling The Silk Road

Wed 9th February 2022

By: Chris Alexander

Sir John Betjeman

Wed 9th March 2022

By: Andrew Davies

From Bronzes to Banksy

Wed 13th April 2022

By: Ian Swankie

Morocco Blues: Why and How Morocco Got Painted Blue

Wed 11th May 2022

By: Elizabeth Gowing

The Art of Dining: a Look at Dining Style from Pompeii to Today

Wed 8th June 2022

By: Clive Stewart-Lockhart