Lecture Programme for 2021

Please find the Lecture Programme for 2021 below with details of the lecturer and the subject area.  

                    2021 Lecture Programme

Thursday 21st January at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski

Masterpieces of furniture in Yorkshire’s country houses

This lecture has been developed by Janusz specially for The Arts Society Huddersfield.

  The lecture will focus on some of the remarkable pieces of 18th century furniture in Yorkshire country houses.

Janusz is a freelance lecturer and researcher in English furniture history and also an antique dealer.

Thursday 18th February at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Anthony Russell

Vincent Van Gogh: 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 to we know about the man himself?  This lecture considers exactly why, despite never selling a painting and his committing suicide 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.

Anthony Russel has travelled much of the world, combining painting with tour lecturing  principally to American university students on bespoke tours.  He spent six years as a consultant for Luke Hughes and travelled the country advising on the furniture needs of prestigious buildings, including museums, palaces, schools and cathedrals.  Anthony is now based in London and spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research, while assisting at the British Museum with outreach events and visiting lecturers.

Thursday 18th March at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Timothy Walker

The Subtle Science and exact Art of colour English in Garden Design.  Why Garden can rank as Fine Art.

In 1888 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in The Garden in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”.  As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”.  This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting.  However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Hockney evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.

Lecturer’s Note:  Since 1986 I have given 1,500 public lectures. This talk was originally part of my work as director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden from 1988 to 2014.  Botanic gardens are often described as living museums, and garden curators lecture about them in the same way as museum curators talk about their collections.  Since 2014 I have been a college lecturer and tutor at Somerville College Oxford.  Gardens are often thought of as a place where science and art meet on equal terms.  My lectures investigate this relationship.

Thursday 15th April at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Dr Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe

First catch a squirrel: Historical materials and techniques in painting from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

The 14th century artist Cennino Cennini recommended using “the chicken bones that you will find under the dining table” for making charcoaled bone black to paint with.  His treatise, The Artists’ handbook, gives us an understanding of some of the surprising materials which any artist had to master before he could begin to paint, such as the tail of a squirrel to make his paintbrushes.  However, many of these materials were difficult to use and have an effect on the finished look of paintings from the centuries before industrial processes changed the artist’s world.  This lecture will explain the techniques and the reasons for some of the features of 15th and 16th century paintings which may seem odd to our modern eyes.

Dr Brotherton-Ratcliffe has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh and a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London University.  With 40 years’ experience as a lecturer, Chantal has taught at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the MA in Fine and Decorative Arts since 1989 and as a freelance lecturer for a number of societies in London, Italy and America.  Having also trained as a paintings conservator, she brings an understanding of the making and the physical painting to her lectures and study sessions.

Thursday 20th May at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Caroline Holmes

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 Caroline has 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.  In 2008 Caroline presented a BBC Radio Four series called A Sunparched Country for which she researched and travelled around eastern Australia.

Caroline has lectured in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Europe, Japan and on cruises to the Baltic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Indian Ocean.  In 2017 she returned to The Arts Society in New Zealand.  She lectures for the University of Cambridge ICE (Course Director for International Summer Programme), the Royal Horticultural Society, museums, and specialist travel companies.  Caroline is a Consultant Designer specializing in evoking historic, artistic and symbolic references and the author of eleven books including Water Lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac; The Genius behind Monet’s Water LiliesImpressionists in their Gardens; Follies of EuropeArchitectural ExtravaganzasMonet at Giverny and Icons of Garden Design.  Her theatre productions are: How does your garden grow Mr. Shakespeare and Impressionists in their Gardens: living light and colour and she is a presenter and contributor on television and BBC Radio 4.  In 2017 Caroline was the recipient of the Herb Society of America ‘Elizabeth Crisp Rea Award’.

Thursday 17th June at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Professor Catherine Tackley

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 Professor Tackley 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.

Professor Catherine Tackley (née Parsonage) is a musicologist specialising in jazz.  She is currently Head of the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool, UK.  She has written two books – The Evolution of Jazz in Britain: c.1880-1935 and Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert  and co-edited Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance.

In 2018, Catherine curated Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain for The Arts Society, an acclaimed exhibition in London based on her research.  In recognition of this and her work with many other organisations, Catherine won ‘Outstanding Contribution to Public Engagement’ in the University of Liverpool’s Staff Awards in 2019.  She is Musical Director of Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats Big Band

Thursday 16th September at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper

Love is enough: at home with Jane and William Morris.

William Morris wrote: ’The secret of true happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.’

This lecture looks at the houses and works of art that Jane & William made together, from the Red House to Kelmscott Manor.  Through newly revealed letters and diaries, furniture, wall-hangings and beautiful books, we can explore the pioneering life they embraced with their artist friends.

Dr Fagence Cooper studied History at Oxford University and Art History at the Courtauld Institute and at Christie’s Education.  She was a Curator and Research Fellow at the V&A Museum for twelve years and is now a Visiting Fellow at the University of York. Dr Fagence Cooper lectured extensively for museums and on Cunard liners and undertaken broadcasts and consultancies for the BBC and Channel 4.  She was the Historical Consultant to Ralph Fiennes for The Invisible Woman, a film about Charles Dickens and the BBC drama, The Living and the Dead. Her publications include Pre-Raphaelite Art in the Victoria and Albert Museum (2003), The Victorian Woman (2001) and Effie Gray, Ruskin & Millais (2010).  She was Research Curator at York Art Gallery for the exhibition Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud (2019) and her most recent book is To See Clearly: Why Ruskin Matters.  Currently Dr Fagence Cooper isworking on a new book: At Home with Jane and William Morris. 

Thursday 21st October at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Dr Diane Davies

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.  The Mayan 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

Dr Diane Davies is a Maya archaeologist and honorary research associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.  She completed her PhD at Tulane University, New Orleans.  Little is known about the Maya in the UK and so, aside from carrying out research in Guatemala and teaching, Diane is an educational consultant for schools giving workshops to both teachers and children on the Maya.  She has created award-winning resources, organizes trips to the Maya area and is also the Chair of Chok Education, a charity supporting the education of Maya children.  Diane organises conferences on the Maya as well as lecturing to a variety of organisations, including the City Literary Institute, London and the Historical Association.

Thursday 18th November at 7.30pm (via Zoom or at a venue to be confirmed).

Dr Neil Faulkner

Renaissance, Reformation and Counter-Reformation: a revolution in art in context.

What does “Renaissance Art” mean?  The paintings, sculptures, and architectural forms of the 15th to 17th centuries were never ‘art for art’s sake’.  Art was doing a job of work: communicating messages about a new world order that was coming into being.  Art was expressing the conflict of traditions and values that powered the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.

By focusing on a selection of representative artists and artworks, this lecture will unpack the ferment of ideas implicit in Renaissance art.  We will range from Michelangelo’s Rome to Shakespeare’s London to Rembrandt’s Holland but our survey will demonstrate that art was the common language of an age of turmoil and a way of thinking about a changing world.

Dr Faulkner was educated at King’s College, Cambridge and the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He works as lecturer, writer, archaeologist and occasional broadcaster.  He is a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.   Dr Faulkner is also Editor of Military History Monthly; Director of Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project and Director of the Great Arab Revolt Project.   He is author of The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain; Apocalypse; Hidden Treasure; Rome: Empire of the EaglesThe Ancient Greek Olympics: a visitor’s guide and author of the forthcoming Lawrence of Arabia’s War.  His major TV appearances include Channel 4’s Time Team; BBC2’s Timewatch; Channel Five’s Boudica Revealed and Sky Atlantic’s The British.