The Lecture Programme for 2011
Lectures are held at Hersham Village Hall on Queens Road
by Hersham Green on Thursday afternoons at 2.30pm.
See a sneek preview of next years
January 13th - Barry Venning
Art, Design & Photography in Post-Revolutionary Russia
The popular view of Russian art after the 1917 Revolution is
that it consisted solely of heroic workers and happy
peasants, but nothing could be further from the truth. For
the decade between 1917 and 1927, Russia was an
extraordinary crucible of artistic experiment, with a range
of innovative work in painting, graphic design,
architecture, photography, film-making, theatre design,
textiles, ceramics and sculpture.
This lecture surveys these developments and concludes by
examining the destructive and sinister effects of Stalin's
policies towards the arts.
Alexander Rodchenko, Lily Brik (1924)
February 10th - ChloŽ Sayer
The Textiles of Mexico
The vitality of Mexican textiles is unsurpassed anywhere in the
Americas. Almost five centuries have passed since the Spanish
Conquest, yet Mexico is still home to more than fifty Native
peoples. Many wear highly distinctive costumes, and use textile
skills inherited from the ancient civilizations of the Aztec and
the Maya. Today the arts of spinning, dyeing and weaving are
practised in hundreds or rural communities. Cloth may be
elaborately brocaded or gauze-woven to resemble lace.
Colonization brought new materials such as wool, an increased
emphasis on embroidery, and new techniques such as treadle-loom
weaving and beadwork. The Mexican sense of design and colour is
ChloŽ Sayer has been researching textile traditions since 1973.
The author of several books devoted to Mexican textiles, she has
made ethnographic collections for the British Museum. She also
owns an extensive collection of Mexican textiles, and takes
samples with her when she lectures.
ChloŽ Sayer, Textiles from Mexico
Contemporary Mexican textiles are among the finest in
the Americas. Makers use techniques inherited from their
Aztec and Mayan ancestors, and from the Spanish settlers
who colonised Mexico in the sixteenth century.
will bring hand-woven and richly embroidered
textiles from her collection.
March 10th - Paula Nuttall
From Craftsman to Creative Genius: the Rise of the Renaissance
The world of the Renaissance artist
is brought to life using a wide variety of material from Italy
and northern Europe: drawings, illuminated manuscripts and
sculpture as well as painting. The lecture explains how artists trained,
what materials they used, how paintings were produced and how
artists themselves were perceived.
At the beginning of the period the
artist was a medieval craftsman tied to a guild, but with the
spread of Renaissance ideas, it was increasingly acknowledged
that artists worked with their brains as well as their hands,
and the modern notion of the creative genius was born. By the
end of the period Michelangelo, Raphael and DŁrer were regarded
Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of
Venus (1486), Uffizi, Florence
April 14th - William Forrester
The Lord Mayor, the City and Guilds of London
The talk starts with the history and significance of the guilds
of the City of London and the story is taken up to the present
day. The twelve great companies are examined as well as the
unique way the City is governed, tracing the roles and
significance of the Court of Common Council, the Court of
Aldermen, the Sheriffs and the Lord Mayor.
The way in which the Lord Mayor is elected and invested and then
shown to the people at the Lord Mayor's Show is examined ending
with a view of some of the highlights from the City's art
The City of London, Mary Catheart-Borer
The Livery Companies of the City of London, The City
Richard ('Dick') Whittington, Mayor of London, 1398-9
1406-7 and 1419-20
May 12th - Hilary Guise
Wine and the Vine in Art
(with a wine tasting)
From time immemorial wine has been a the heart of many
civilizations. It has made a long journey from myth into history
and has been the drink of kings and heroes. It even came to
represent the blood of God. The language of wine and the
language of art share the same poetic resonances; and wine,
vines and wine drinking have been illustrated in the arts of all
centuries from Assyrian reliefs to Impressionist picnics. From
the earliest grape, the Persian Shiraz, to the accidental
invention of bubbly champagne from Pinot Noir by the monk Dom
Pierre Perignon - the story of wine is littered with surprises
Crusaders, Templars, pilgrims, and apostles, French courtesans
and English milords all appear in this entertaining lecture
which may be accompanied by a practical wine tasting!
Johannes Vermeer, The Wine Glass (1660-1)
June 9th - Anne Andersen
Beauty in Art and Design: The Aesthetic Movement
(there is a major exhibition called
The Cult of Beauty at the V&A in
The Cult of Beauty dominated the second half of the nineteenth
century and was to many akin to a religion. The 'priesthood'
originally consisted of John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
William Morris and Walter Pater but by 1880 its leading
spokesperson was Oscar Wilde, the self-styled 'Professor of
Oscar made his debut, as an art critic, in 1877, with his review
of the Grosvenor Art Gallery. His downfall came in 1895, when
not only Oscar but art itself was put on trial and found to be
morally corrupting. Oscar was blamed for leading astray the
youth of his day, for turning young men into effeminate fops and
young women into emancipated viragos! The Aesthetic male was too
concerned with his china, carpets and curtains, while the
High Art Maiden was too caught up in the pursuit of art to
worry about a husband or children.
The Aesthetic Movement encouraged everybody to consider himself
or herself an artist, even if it was only in terms of personal
dress and home decorating. Antique collecting became a craze,
especially the mania for blue-and-white china. Homes were
transformed into Palaces of Art, while shopping, at
Liberty's and Morris and Co., was raised to an art form in its
own right. This lavishly illustrated lecture considers the
House Beautiful in the 1870s and 1880s, from the cult of
Japan to Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, which sent up
Oscar and his posing.
James McNeill Whistler, Symphony in White, No. 1
('The White Girl') (1862)
July 14th - Leslie Primo
The Wilton Diptych Enigma
Ever since the mysterious double panel painting known as the
Wilton Diptych was acquired for the National Gallery in 1929,
speculations regarding its origins have been rife. Many discoveries have been made regarding its subject
we are still no wiser regarding its origins.
Who are the characters in this painting and what are they trying to
tell us? What can this painting tell us about England or for
that matter Europe an the turn of the fifteenth century? Why was this enigmatic painting made and why
has it become the quintessential example of a style of
painting we have come to call International Gothic.
This lecture will look at
Medieval England, patronage, saints, and kingship through the lens of the Wilton Diptych.
It will also unearth the many hidden signs and symbols in this painting that
have been slowly revealing themselves to us over the past 80
years or so. Detailed close-ups will help bring to life not only the Wilton
Diptych, but also the time in which it was created.
Artist unknown, Wilton
Diptych (c. 1395-9)
September 8th - Catherine Parry-Wingfield
Georgian Furniture - A Golden Age
The eighteenth and early nineteenth century were truly a golden
age of furniture making in England, in terms of design,
craftsmanship and in the use of gilding for a luxurious
appearance. The lecture will include some famous names like
Thomas Chippendale, but as most craftsmen worked away from the
limelight, the beautiful objects that were made remain
unattributed. And if you ever wondered who invented those
excruciatingly uncomfortable camp-beds, we have the answer.
October 13th - Valerie Woodgate
The Mysterious World of Salvador Dali
Dali - "...the only difference between a madman and me is
that I am not mad."
Probably the most well-known and popular
artist of the twentieth century, Dali was a self-publicist who
filled gossip columns with accounts of his eccentricities for
over sixty years. His paintings of the invisible world of the
unconscious mind were considered shocking even among a group of
extremists like the Surrealists, and after joining them he
quickly became their most exotic and well-known member. His soft
watches and huge animals with stick-insect legs are among the
most memorable invented images of our time and his Christ of St.
John of the Cross is a highly original re-working of one of the
central themes of Western art.
The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali, Ian Gibson
Dali, Meredith Etherington-Smith
Salvador Dali, Dream Caused by the Flight of a
Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening
November 10th - Jeanne Dolmetsch
Manners and Music: Life in 18th Century England
Manners and music transports us back to the eighteenth
century, to an age of elegance and taste, wit and satire,
extravagant fashions and complex code of manners. Daniel Defoe
takes us to the magnificent Palladian Palace of 'Cannons', and
we eavesdrop with Jane Austen on a musical evening at
We behold the fantastic toilette of the lady of fashion in
Pope's Rape of the Lock and are reminded by Lord
Chesterfield of the importance of dancing the minuet with a good
grace and air. Horace Walpole strolls round Ranelagh and James
Macky seeks relaxation from portrait panting by playing the
viola da gamba. These vivid accounts are complemented by the
music of the period.
Jean-Honorť Fragonard (1732Ė1806),
The Swing (1767-8)
13 December 2011 - Clare Ford-Wille
Festive Supper - Celebrations and Festivities: Pieter
Breugel and his Heritage
(booking opens at the October meeting)
We will explore the emergence off festivities and
celebrations in the work of Pieter Breugel and his immediate
successors and will compare games on the ice, wedding banquets
and village parties.
Pieter Bruegel (c. 1525-1569), Children's Games