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Programme of Events for 2009-10

January 28th
Puccini: Ses Femmes Fatales
Digby Hague-Holmes

Puccini hunted wild fowl, opera libretti and beautiful women with equal enthusiasm - but the heroines of his operas were his truest loves. Lecture with slides and taped music.

February 25th
L.S. Lowry: A Visionary Artist
Michael Howard MA Courtauld BA Hons

Our lecturer, himself a practising artist, will tell us the story of Lowry and explain his wonderful idiosyncratic and entirely individual style of painting.

Lecture Report

March 2nd
Outing: A private guided backstage tour of the Royal Albert Hall during a production of Carmen.

Report and Photos

March 25th
From Egg to Bacon: English Painting 1850-1950
Linda Smith BA (Hons) MA

An account of developments in British painting from the days of the Pre-Raphaelites to the aftermath of WWII. Victorian artists like Augustus Egg, a friend of Charles Dickens, created popular works with a high moral tone. The Pre-Raphaelites challenged the status quo with vivid colours and complex decoration. They initiated a fertile era in English art, at the end of which Francis Bacon erupted onto the scene. Linda Smith. is an art historian, guide and lecturer at London's Tate Britain and Tate Modern.

Lecture Report

April 22nd
Are you sitting comfortably?
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski MSc B.Ed Dip

The construction and style of the chair from ancient times to the 19th century and its use as a symbol of power and authority.

Lecture Report

April 28th
Outing: A visit to the Cabinet War Rooms and The Churchill Museum followed by a tour of Whitehall with Peter Lawrence.

Report and Photos

May 27th
London's changing skyline
Anthea Streeter M.Ed Harvard

A review of the changes to the famous City of London skyline from the arrival of the Romans to the new generation of 21st century skyscrapers.

Lecture Report

June 24th
Use and Beauty: The gardens of Worlitz
Steven Desmond MA FI Hort

The gardens at Wörlitz lie at the centre of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, created 1764 by Prince Franz of Anhalt-Dessau and his circle. The garden is an expression of the Enlightenment through the seamless blend of beauty with utility. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the grounds at Wörlitz are set in a landscape of woods and lakes, and include many ornamental buildings and bridges in Arcadian scenery.

Lecture Report

July 16th
Outing: A visit to Waterperry Gardens, Oxford to see 'Art in Action'. Over 200 artists create the largest Arts Festival of its kind in Europe.

Report and Photos

July 22nd
Who wrote Shakespeare?
Charles Beauclerk MA (Oxon)

The true story behind the name Shake-speare and an insight of the court intrigue and treachery that led to the biggest cover-up in English history.

Lecture Report

September 15th
Visit to the Royal Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth.

Report and Photos

September 23rd
Charles Darwin & the voyage of HMS Beagle
James Taylor MA FRSA

Darwin's radical theories developed from a remarkable global voyage in HMS 'Beagle' (1831-1836) via the Galapagos Islands. This talk by James Taylor, former curator of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, focuses on the family and influences upon Darwin and Robert Fitzroy, the commander of the Beagle.

Lecture Report

October 24th
Outing: A musical tour of Westminster Abbey with the Purcell Club.

Report and Photos

October 28th
Laos - from historic Buddist temples to modern silkweaving
Denise Heywood BA (Hons) FRGS)

Examining the French legacy of elegant wooden houses with Lao motifs and the shimmering silkweaving, once the preserve of the Lao monarchy.

Lecture Report

November 25th
Vivaldi & Canaletto
Elizabeth Gordon

Vivaldi lived in Venice when opera was all the rage and the city boasted no fewer than 7 opera houses. Canaletto spent his career painting delectations for the tourist.

Lecture Report

January 27th
Sleeping Beauties - The Irish country house
Tom Duncan

The Georgian period is when many of the great Irish houses were created. Filled with treasures brought back from the Grand Tour, fine furniture and decorative arts, these houses played host to a now vanished world, often with eccentric lifestyles.

February 24th
Petra: City of the desert
Nicole Douek BA Hons Anc Hist & Egyptology Dip Arch

Petra, from about 300 BC was the capital of the Nabatean empire, controlling a vast network of trade routes that extended to the Mediterranean, India and China. Carved in the multi-coloured rock of impregnable mountains as the capital of a now-forgotten empire, this "Rose-Red City half as old as time" is a wonder of the ancient world.