Lecture Programme for 2020


All meetings commence at 7.15 p.m. with Notices followed by the lecture at 7.30.  Refreshments are available from 6.45 p.m. onwards.

16th January      Anthony Peers MA FSA

                        The Richest of Legacies: The British Colonial Buildings of India

A lecture about colonial architecture in India – the buildings, their history & their future

This lecture commences with a brief appraisal of attitudes towards the British Empire and concludes with a quick look at efforts being made to preserve the buildings of the British Raj.  In between, consideration is given to the very best of British colonial architecture in India.  Commencing with the East India Company era, churches and mausolea of the mid-17th century, the lecturer takes his audience on a round India journey giving centre stage to the most impressive and unusual buildings of Madras (Chennai), Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), the military cantonments and hill stations.  This whistle-stop tour is completed with a brief look at the grandest of imperial buildings, William Emmerson’s Victoria Memorial in Calcutta and Edwin Lutyens’s Viceroy’s House, New Delhi.


20th February    David Rosier

Emperor Qinshi Huangdi and His Terracotta Legacy

China’s First Emperor – Qin Shi Huangdi (221-209 BC)

Imperial Legacy & the Terracotta Afterlife

This lecture explores the life and legacy of the

 First Emperor of China – Qin Shi Huangdi

Following the unification of the seven states that would form the Chinese Empire we will consider Emperor Qin’s substantial achievements that would establish the foundations for over 2000 years of Imperial rule. Emperor Qin was not only an accomplished bureaucrat, having standardised the language, currency and commerce of the Empire, but he would define the protocol of the Court though Regulated Court Costume and Insignia of Rank which would serve China until the overthrow of Imperial Rule in the early 20thCentury.  Substantial infrastructure was created under his leadership, but it was, however, Emperor Qin’s obsession with his own immortality, and the afterlife, that would provide the world with his greatest legacy.

The Necropolis of Emperor Qin

Whilst the lecture will focus on the most famous aspect of the Necropolis: The Terracotta Army consideration will also be given as to how this forms part of a vast site, the World’s largest Archaeological Site, with the, as yet, sealed Emperor’s Mausoleum at its centre.  The lecture will provide an insight into current theories regarding construction plus ongoing excavations and future projects.

David Rosier                      drosier@yahoo.com                    01250-870672/07904 668287


19th March 

This Lecture was cancelled – please see Chairman’s Notices.        

Anthony Russell

                        Vincent Van Goch – Madman or Genius

It would seem that there has never been fascination in an artist to rival the Dutchman who simply signed his work ‘Vincent’.  We are all aware of the recent exhibitions and the remarkable prices realised for this humble artist’s work.  Most of us appreciate the beauty of his efforts but how much do we know about the man himself? This lecture considers exactly why, despite barely selling a painting and his sudden death in poverty, no art historian today denies his genius.  There are extraordinary, little know facts to be revealed, while enjoying the remarkable range of his talent.  Though seeming so extreme and exceptional, the tragic story of his loveless life is deeply moving and his humanity makes a lasting impression.


“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken

There’s a pain goes on and on

Empty chairs at empty tables

Now my friends are dead and gone.


Here they talked of revolution

Here it was they lit the flame

Here they sang about ‘tomorrow’

And tomorrow never came”


(Victor Hugo’s novel was well known to Vincent)

“Thank you very much indeed for the fascinating lecture. You took us on an absorbing, fascinating journey as you spun his life and times into a palette of reality and colour and design, with its joy and tragedy. It was  thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated and it was a great pleasure to have you back in Wellington.”  Jane Kirkaldie – Programme Sec. DFAS Wellington NZ


16th April           Caroline Holmes

This Lecture was cancelled – please see Chairman’s Notices. 

Artists’ Views of Australia – Aboriginal, Pioneer, Botanical and Impressionist

Inspired by the Australian landscape and the major art galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide I have created a lecture that explores its extraordinary climatic contrasts prompted by Dorothea McKellar’s celebratory poem ‘My Country’.  The patterned hands of ancient Aboriginal cave paintings; the dreams of pioneers; the unique botanical treasures; the glorious light captured by the Heidelberg School, Australia’s own Impressionists; and, finally, the rediscovery of its indigenous art are all explored in this lecture.

In 2008 I presented a BBC Radio Four series called ‘A Sunparched Country’ for which I researched and travelled around eastern Australia.


21st May            Professor Catherine Tackley

This Lecture was cancelled – please see Chairman’s Notices. 

The Age of Jazz in Britain

What was the public reaction to jazz when it began to appear in Britain in the aftermath of the First World War?  What did early jazz sound like and how did British musicians learn to play in the style?  How did British artists and designers react to the new rhythms and colours of the music?

Following on from the Arts Society/Two Temple Place ‘Rhythm and Reaction’ Exhibition which I curated in 2018, this lecture explores how jazz arrived in Britain and the impact that it had on musicians, artists and the wider public.  The lecture is illustrated with examples of visual art, including works not shown in the exhibition, and recorded music examples.


18th June           Dr Diane Davies

This Lecture has been cancelled – please see Chairman’s Notices. 

 The Magnificent Maya, Fact and Fantasy

The Maya created one of the most sophisticated civilizations in the ancient world. Their achievements in the arts and sciences, along with their complex social, political and economic systems, make them one of the most remarkable culture groups in the pre-Columbian Americas.  These people brought us an intricate calendar system, complex hieroglyphic writing, some of the largest pyramids in the world, a form of ballgame that was like no other and, most importantly, chocolate! This lecture will discuss the major achievements of the Maya as well as pointing out the common misunderstandings we have of this remarkable civilization.



17th September  Carolyn Knight FSA

This Lecture has been cancelled – please see Chairman’s Notices. 

The Transformation of English Provincial Towns in the 18th Century


Provincial towns developed substantially over the 18thcentury, with elegant new buildings providing spaces for social life: assembly rooms for dances and card playing, theatres for plays and concerts, grandstands to watch races.  In county towns especially, the gentry had houses for use over the winter and for special occasions, so families could socialise, shop and avoid the isolation of country life. The increasingly prosperous middle classes who lived in the towns could commission portraits, buy the latest books, go to plays and promenade along socially exclusive walks in their elegant dress.  The lecture will look at various towns, such as York, Norwich and Nottingham, as well as considering the rise of resorts such as Bath and Brighton.


15th October      Lizzie Darbyshire

The delivery of this Lecture will be reviewed in due course; please revisit our website nearer the date for further information.

Whistler v Ruskin ‘A Pot of Paint in the Public’s Face’

In May 1877 the Grosvenor Gallery first opened its doors in New Bond Street, London. showcasing the best of modern art; it was here that Whistler displayed his Nocturne in Black and Gold: the Falling Rocket.  A month later, when the revered art critic John Ruskin reviewed the exhibition, he accused Whistler of ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’ and of asking 200 guineas for the privilege.  The allegation led to one of the most renowned libel cases of the 19th century.  This lecture explores the volatile personalities and intriguing stories surrounding the accusation and motives behind the Whistler v. Ruskin trial, reflecting also upon the longer-term consequences of the action.


19th November  Dr Benjamin Wild

The delivery of this Lecture will be reviewed in due course; please revisit our website nearer the date for further information.

Balls and Parties: Legendary Festivities From Jubilee to Proust

Description to follow.