Programme of Events 2015

The Lecture Programme for 2015
Lectures are held at Hersham Village Hall on Queens Road by Hersham Green on Thursday afternoons at 2.30pm. Click here to see a one page summary of the 2015 programme (PDF file).
Previous Years’ Programmes2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004(PDF format), 2003 (PDF format). Summary of lectures 2003-2011 by date, and summary of lectures 2003-2011 by name.

WWI poster Kitchener
‘Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You’, Charles Harris talks about ‘The Great Poster War 1914-1918’ on 8 January 2015. (Copyright: this image is in the public domain, see

January 8th – The Great Poster War of 1914-1918

At the outbreak of WWI posters were the most effective weapon of mass communication. Now they were going to have to be more effective than ever before. The survival of the nation was at stake. The artistry and creative disciplines that had sold champagne, bicycles and cigarettes in the Belle Epoque were suddenly and effectively harnessed to demonise the enemy, achieve huge recruitment targets and stimulate the economy in the all-out effort to win the war. Fascinating comparisons of posters from Britain, France, Germany, America and Russia capture the importance of what was at stake but expressed in different ways.

Charles HarrisCharles Harris has had a life-long career in advertising around the world, most of it as a Creative Director in global agencies. His work has earned him highly coveted international awards. His experience as a creator of posters gives his presentation about poster art a unique edge.

Dante in Dulwich
British School, Dante Alighieri, late 16th Century/early 17th Century, Dulwich Picture Gallery. Dr Celia Fisher will be talking about ‘Dante and the Divine Comedy’ on 12 February, 2015

February 12th – Dante and the Divine Comedy

Dante’s Divine Comedy and his love for Beatrice have inspired artists from Giotto and Botticelli to Rossetti and Rodin. The lecture follows Dante’s journey to Heaven by looking at 800 years of images, including Gustave Dore’s Dark Wood and the beasts that guard the way, William Blake’s Gates of Hell and the torments of the damned, the steep ascent of Purgatory, and the vision of Heaven in the form of a rose. Those that know Dante will discover new dimensions. Everyone will find his ideas, stories and characters surprisingly familiar, as well as inspirational.

Celia FisherDr Celia Fisher gained her MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art where she also studied flowers in fifteen century paintings and manuscripts. She lectures and writes on the history of plants and gardens in art. Her books include The Medieval Garden and Flowers in Renaissance Art.

Hokusai Tiger
Hokusai Tiger.
Zara Fleming will talk about ‘The Tiger in Asian Art’ on 12 March, 2015.

March 12th – The Tiger in Asian Art

Intriguing and beautiful, tigers are some of the most awe-inspiring and mysterious creatures on earth. Feared and revered in equal measure, they have inspired countless legends, beliefs and works of art.
This lecture explores the significance of the tiger as a symbol of power and protection in its Asian homeland, illustrated by a diverse range of art and artefacts. The tiger is seen in early Chinese bronzes, Japanese netsukes, Indian paintings, Tibetan rugs and other Asian works of art. Zara will also comment on the current situation of the tiger and how this magnificent animal now faces the threat of extinction.
Zara FlemingZara Fleming is a freelance lecturer, art consultant and exhibition curator specialising in the art and culture of Tibet, the Himalayan areas and Mongolia. Has worked at the V&A, Royal Academy, the Orient Foundation and Bonn University. Lectures for NADFAS, museums, universities and Asian art societies. Has published many articles on Buddhist art and culture.

Turner, Fonthill Abbey, 1800
Joseph Mallord William Turner, South-West View of a Gothic Abbey (Morning), Now Building at Fonthill, the Seat of W. Beckford, exhbited 1800. James Bolton will talk about ‘From the Picturesque to Paxton: the Changing Style of Gardens in the Early 19th Century’ on 9 April, 2015

April 9th – From the Picturesque to Paxton: The Changing Style of Gardens in the Early 19th Century

The lecture examines the reaction of 19th century designers to the excesses of the Picturesque style which produced some wonderfully dramatic , but often impractical, gardens. It follows the changes in garden design from the temple-strewn landscapes of William Kent and the Arcadian dreams of Capability Brown to the more formal style of Humphrey Repton and the explosion of garden ornamentation in Victorian England when taste and restraint were abandoned altogether.
Technology came to the aid of the gardener, conservatories and greenhouses were built on a larger and larger scale until the Crystal Palace, the ultimate glasshouse, was built by the giant of the 19th Century, Sir Joseph Paxton.
James BoltonJames Bolton is a practicing garden designer and a lecturer on garden history. In addition to his garden design business James runs Border Lines, the leading tour company to private English gardens and the finest gardens in Europe.

Orford Castle
Orford Castle, built by Henry II in the 12th century. Dr Sam Newton will be talking about Camelot and the Art of Castle Building on 14 May, 2015

May 14th – Camelot and the Art of Castle Building

An exploration of the literary ideal of Camelot and its reflection in the designs of some of the royal castles built from the 12th to the 15th centuries, as Arthurian literature flourished. Of special interest are the castles built by Henry II to whom Wace’s Anglo-Norman version of the story of Arthur was Dedicated, and his sons Richard and John.
For example, Richard the Lionheart’s castle of Chateau-Gaillard, designed by Richard himself and built overlooking the Seine south-east of Ruen, incorporated not only the latest in military thinking but also something of the Arthurian ideals articulated in the songs of the troubadours. Chateau-Gaillard took a year to build and in its original form would have come close to the vision of Camelot we still share.
Dr Sam NewtonDr Sam Newton was awarded his PhD in 1991 and is the author of scholarly books on the history and art of Medieval England. He has lectured widely around the country and has contributed to many radio and television programmes. He is a Director of the Wuffing Education Study Centre at Sutton Hoo and Time Team historian.

Frederick the Great, Anton Graf, 1781
Anton Graff, Frederick the Great, 1781.
Caroline Rayman will talk on ‘Frederick the Great, Soldier and Collector’ on 11 June, 2015.
(Copyright: this image is in the public domain, see

June 11th – Frederick the Great Soldier and Collector

Frederick II, the King of Prussia from 1740 until 1786, one of very few monarchs known to the world as ‘the Great’ was a truly remarkable man with enormous talent. He was an intellectual, a philosopher, a friend of Voltaire, patron of the arts and sciences and a fine musician and composer himself. As a reformer he is credited with modernising Prussia, and as a brilliant soldier and military theorist he was venerated by both Napoleon and Wellington. He was also a builder with exquisite taste whose most famous creation – the Rococo Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam near Berlin – has been proclaimed by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
Caroline RaymanCaroline Rayman Has worked in England, Italy and America conducting cultural tours for patrons of American art institutions, visiting private collections and gardens in Britain and Europe. She lectures in America and as a guest speaker on cruise boats for Noble Caledonia.

 Karelia Kizhi Church
Karelia – Kizhi church.
Professor Neil Kent will talk about ‘Karelia: A Fairy-Land of Wooden Architecture’ on 9 July, 2015.
(Copyright: this image is in the public domain, see

July 9th – Karelia – A Fairy-Tale Land of Wooden Architecture

Against the backdrop of great natural beauty and turbulent history, the people of Karelia and the Kola Peninsula in the north-western corner of Russia have produced an unusual and inspiring art and architecture.
The lecture considers this remote land covered by subarctic tundra and thousands of lakes, and focuses on the Kizhi Island and the splendid wooden architecture of its Orthodox churches built without a single nail and adorned with haunting icons of a hypnotic spirituality.

Neil KentProfessor Neil Kent Formerly consultant with Christie’s on nineteenth-century painting. Author of several books on the history and culture of Scandinavia and St Petersburg. Currently lecturing, teaching and researching at Cambridge University and St Petersburg’s Academy of Art, Architecture and Culture.

Venus and Cupid Lorenzo Lotto 1540
Lorenzo Lotto, Venus and Cupid, mid-1520s, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Shirley Smith will talk about the hidden language of Renaissance art
on 10 September, 2015.
(Copyright: this image is in the public domain, see

September 10th – Pearls and Pomegranates, Peacocks and Pipes: The Hidden Language of Renaissance Art

It is sometimes difficult for us to understand the full meaning of a painting from the past due to the wealth of symbolism it contains, much of it obscure to us today but instantly recognizable to contemporaries. Many of the objects in these paintings have acquired different meanings over the centuries, often diametrically opposed ones, depending on their cultural or geographical origins or whether they are being used for a religious or secular purpose.
In this lecture, we shall study some of the objects to be found in 15th and 16th century paintings as a means of deciphering these symbols – spiritual and secular, virginal and vulgar – and so enable us to read these paintings as had the people for whom they were intended.
Shirley SmithShirley P. Smith An art historian specialising in Italian and Northern Renaissance Art and Architecture. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, has lectured at the University of East Anglia and is a tutor for the Board of Continuing Education of Cambridge University. She also lectures for NADFAS, The Art Fund and other arts societies.
Useful Books
Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, James Hall, Westview Press Feb. 2008
Signs and Symbols in Christian Art, George Ferguson, Oxford University Press 1977

 Victorian upholstered spoon-back armchair
Victorian upholstered ‘spoon-back’ armchair.
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski will talk about the development of the chair on 8 October, 2015.

October 8th – Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The lecture traces the development of the chair in terms of its construction and style from ancient times through to the 19th century. It will – hopefully – surprise the listeners with just how much there is to reveal about such a common item of furniture. The role of the chair as a symbol of power and authority in both religious and courtly ritual will be examined as well as its social significance in a more vernacular setting. Have you ever wondered what the phrase ‘sitting on your money’ refers to? This lecture will tell you!

Janusz Karczewski-SlowikowskiJanusz Karczewski-Slowikowski has been a freelance lecturer and researcher in the history of English furniture since 1975. Collector and antique dealer he has lectured to over 300 NADFAS societies in the UK, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Mach Kingston telephone boxes
David Mach, Out of Order, 1989, Kingston-upon-Thames.
Mary Yule will talk about ‘Extraordinary Art from Ordinary Objects’ on 12 November, 2015.

November 12th – Extraordinary Art From Ordinary Objects

This lecture traces the history of the transformation of materials in sculpture, and considers how ordinary – and extraordinary – materials can make exciting art. Starting with the most notorious transformation in modern art – Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, Picasso’s bull’s head made of a bicycle seat and handlebars, and the Dadaist art made of old bus tickets, the lecture shows that today, in terms of what makes art, almost anything goes, and examines how British artists transform into art such everyday materials as rocks, leaves, ice and snow, tyres, coat hangers or a blown up garden shed.

Mary YuleMary Yule Art historian specialising in 20th Century British Art, former Director of Grants at The Art Fund. Has lectured for the Art Fund, Kingston University, the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection and at the Museums Association.

Copyright The Arts Society Walton, 2017
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), A View of Walton Bridge, 1754, by permission of the trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London