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Programme for 2023‑24

Click here for previous programmes

March 22nd - 2pm

pharmacy jars

In paynted pots is hidden the deadliest poison:
English Delftware Drug Jars

Blue and white tin-glazed earthenware has long been admired and collected for its attractive appearance, but this lecture went further by examining English delftware with a pharmaceutical purpose.  Briony demonstrated that delftware drug jars have an undervalued role to play in understanding medical practices in the 17th and 18th centuries.

April 6th (Thursday)

Apothecaries' Hall, Pilgrim St

Outing:  Apothecaries' Hall, London

April 10th (Monday) to 16th (Sunday)

Lake Maggiore

Tour:  The Italian Lakes and Milan

April 26th - 2pm

Jetavanaramaya Stupa

Land of the Monkey God:
The Art and Architecture of Sri Lanka

Shrines, stupas, cave temples, colonial grandeur and modernist architecture - a look at the history of this beautiful island through its intriguing art and culture.

May 9th (Tuesday)

Champs Hill art exhibition by Jonathan Cross

Outing:  Champs Hill Coldwaltham

for a private viewing of their Summer Exhibition

May 19th (Friday)

Waterloo sculpture - The Sunbathers

Outing:  Wonderful Waterloo
- Walking tour with Rachel Kolsky

May 24th - 2pm

Ealing Studios sign

Cinema from the Rubble:
The postwar politics of Ealing Studios

Ealing Studios is often hailed as the most quintessentially English of all film studios.  This talk revisits these films and reads them again, this time in the light of the postwar new waves that were beginning to emerge across Europe.

June 11th (Sunday) to 17th (Saturday)

Schonbrunn Palace

Tour:  Vienna & Budapest

Further information

June 28th - 2pm

Programme of Ballets Russes

The Ballets Russes: when art danced with music

When Diaghilev created ballet in the west in the early 20th century, he brought extraordinary revolutionary energy from Russia.  The dream he created of dance joining hands with the other creative disciplines to create a total work of art changed the course of ballet forever.

Non-members are welcome at this and future talks.
Please contact our Membership Secretary

July 26th - 2pm

Giuseppe Garibaldi

From Biscuits to Blouses: Garibaldi & the British

Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) was one of the leading figures in the fight for the unification of Italy during the 19th century and attracted almost fanatical devotion.  Christopher Garibaldi looks at the many links he had with Britain and how he fits into the contemporary artistic fashions of the period.

September 18th (Monday) to 22nd (Friday)

Welsh Parliament building

Tour:  South Wales

Further information

September 27th - 2pm

Grace Darling by Thomas Musgrave Joy

Grace Darling & the fine art of saving lives at sea

Grace Darling's daring rescue of steamship passengers off the Northumberland coast in 1838 brought her international fame and celebrity.  This talk reveals the full extent of the artistic contribution in keeping Darling in the public eye and is part of the national events marking the RNLI's bicentenary across the years 2023-2024.

October 7th (Saturday) to 16th (Monday)

Municipal Flag of Thessaloniki

Tour:  Thessaloniki & Hidden Greece

Further information

October 25th - 2pm

Theotokos icon

Pigments of the imagination:
ten things you should know about icons

With the seemingly unstoppable appetite for Eastern Orthodox icons in the West, and the inevitable misunderstandings that have arisen as to meaning and function, terminology and theology, maybe it is time to address some of the key facts?  Expect a few hot potatoes!

November 11th (Saturday)

happy audience

Special Interest Morning

Subject TBA

November 22nd - 2pm

Christ's Charge to Peter

Raphael’s tapestry cartoons at the V&A Museum

The tapestry cartoons completed by Raphael (1483-1520) in 1516 remain one of this country's greatest artistic treasures.  The commission's importance was underlined by the immense sums paid to both the artist and weavers.


Christmas cracker

Members' Christmas event

Details TBA


January 24th - 2pm

painting Shepherd's Cottage, Firle

Eric Ravilious & the lure of the everyday

Eric Ravilious was an artist who combined a love of the landscape with a fascination for different types of transport - from trains, old cars and gypsy caravans to the aircraft and destroyers he depicted as an Official War Artist in his precise, dry watercolours.

February 28th - 2pm

David - Napoleon crossing the Alps

The Corsican Adventurer: images of Napoleon

Napoleon, a master of self-publicity, used an array of great artists to create and disseminate an image of himself as an omniscient Emperor.  For the English, however, Bonaparte was the 'bogey man', and caricaturists used scorn and laughter to spread defiance to the mass market.

The AGM will precede this talk