Past Meetings Here are details of our past meetings, to give you an idea of the variety and scope of the lectures. Also members might like to use the links to find out more. 24th January 2024 Clare Phillips Decadence and Dreams; Jewellery from around 1900 The decades around 1900 witnessed a fascinating variety of styles and produced some of the most elegant pieces of jewellery ever made. Diamonds and pearls - the mainstay of European court jewellery - were arranged in garlands and ribbon bows of incredible delicacy. At the same time symmetry was challenged by the sinuous lines of Art Nouveau, and the ‘one colour theory’ long practised in European jewellery was undermined by a fascination with unusual gemstones and a more luxuriant sense of colour. The lecture will explore the distinctive styles of great jewellers such as Cartier, Fabergé, Tiffany and Lalique, and examine also the contrasting aesthetic of Britain’s Arts and Crafts Movement with its celebration of traditional craftsmanship, unfaceted stones and hand-beaten metals. 22nd November 2023 Matthew Sturgis Oscar Wilde: A life in Epigrams Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was one of the great figures of the late nineteenth century: a poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, wit and subversive thinker. He lived a life crowded with incident, spanning great success and humiliating failure. This talk charts a way through his life and achievement by examining, and contextualizing, half a dozen of his celebrated epigrams, from ‘Every day I find it harder and harder to live up to my blue china’ to ‘I am fighting a battle to the death with my wallpaper: one of us will have to go.’ This will be the last meeting of the 2022/23 membership year The AGM will be held before the meeting 25th October 2023 Kirsty Hartsiotis A Beautiful Book: William Morris's Kelmscott Chaucer Discover the fascinating and complex story behind William Morris’ last masterpiece, the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, and his collaboration with his great friends the printer Emery Walker, who inspired him to start the Kelmscott Press, and helped him set it up, and artist Edward Burne-Jones, who provided the 87 illustrations in the book. This lavishly illustrated talk takes you through both the story of the book and the press, and also explores the personalities who came together to work on it. VISIT Wednesday 6th September £35 for members Visit to Compton Verney To see the Quentin Blake Exhibition Sir Quentin Blake (b.1932) is one of the most celebrated illustrators and writers of children’s books working today. Over the course of a career spanning several decades, Blake has illustrated more than 500 books, bringing to life treasured literary characters in his unmistakeable style and inspiring generations. Showcasing over 70 original illustrations, this exhibition takes inspiration from recurring themes in Blake’s work – birds, fantastical flying creatures and the joy of exploring in nature – as well as the flying creatures that call Compton Verney’s grounds home. The Houses & History of the East Riding of Yorkshire 4 days from £514 Departing 15th September 2023 . Half board accommodation . All excursion travel & guided tours included . Most entrance fees included . Blue Badge guide on Days 2 & 3 . Executive coach throughout 27th September 2023 Two Gustavs: Mahler and Klimt Gavin Plumley Gustav Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the imperially endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Secession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. Comparing these two totemic fin de siècle talents, this lecture places Klimt and Mahler in context, asking what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides them. 26th July 2023 Steve King (Summer Social, additional charge, venue - Upton Steel County Cricket Ground) I bet you think this song is about you? It’s a famous line from a well-known 1970s hit about male vanity written by Carly Simon, but was it inspired by one of her lovers? Who inspired the Beatles classic Here, There and Everywhere, and what is the link between Midnight Train to Georgia and Charlie’s Angels? Songs are often inspired by individuals in the lives of composers and some individuals have inspired more than one composer. All is not always as it seems - in this lecture the identities of the people who inspired some of the world’s best known songs are revealed. 28th June 2023 David Haycock The England of Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) Watercolourist, muralist, ceramicist and wood-engraver, Eric Ravilious was one of the most distinctive young British artists working between the two World Wars; he is also an artist who is of increasing interest and popularity, as recent exhibitions and sales of his work have revealed. This lecture explores Ravilious’s career, looking both at his place in the long tradition of watercolour painting in England, as well as within the social and cultural context of England in the 1920s and ‘30s, leading up to his untimely death as an official war artist in Iceland in 1942. 24th May 2023 Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski The Genius of Robert Adam An examination of neo-classic furniture in the context of the Grand Houses and rooms for which it was intended. Adam’s name has become an epithet for his architectural and interior design work, which is characterised by a remarkable and often overwhelming expression of stylistic and chromatic unity. Neither a furniture designer nor maker, he did, however, design a number of pieces for specific locations within his room designs. His style was interpreted and adapted by celebrated cabinetmakers, who produced furniture that made “charming harmony” with his interiors. STUDY DAY: Thursday 11 May 2023 Venue: The Coplow Centre, Billesdon, LE7 9FL The Story Of Wine, Its History, Glasses And Rituals Speaker: Andy Mc Connell The Glassware Specialist From The Antiques Roadshow Cost: £35.00 per person including tea and coffee Bookings should be made using the form below. You are welcome to bring guests. A non refundable handling charge of £10.00 will be made in the event of a cancellation after 30 April. 26th April 2023 Simon Seligman 'O Paxton!' - How Chatsworth's Victorian genius Joseph Paxton came to put the world under glass When the Duke of Wellington witnessed Joseph Paxton at work at Chatsworth, he exclaimed “I’d have liked that man as one of my generals.” Paxton was one of the most inventive and influential figures of the 19th century, whose most famous masterwork, the Crystal Palace of 1851, is considered by significant contemporary architects like Sir Norman Foster to be ’the birth of modern architecture’. Born into a humble farming family, as gardener, engineer, designer, architect, publisher, railway investor and MP, Paxton was to leave his mark on Victorian Britain like few others. For more than 30 years he worked at Chatsworth, supported by his formidable wife Sarah, enhancing it with innovative buildings and garden designs in a close partnership with his patron the 6th Duke of Devonshire. His boundless energy and vision found its greatest expression in his radical design for the Great Exhibition, where the ‘industry of all nations', and a dazzled populace, gathered under his vast glass structure. My lecture celebrates the man and his achievements which have profoundly influenced architecture ever since. 22nd March 2023 Clare Phillips Easter Presents from Faberge Of exquisite design and unfailing ingenuity, the Easter eggs made by Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family rank amongst the most extravagant and wonderful examples of the goldsmith’s art. Each year from the mid-1880s to 1917 major events or simple themes were commemorated in these eggs - from the opening of the Trans-Siberian railway to the icy beauty of a Russian winter; from the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty to the domestic pleasure of petit-point embroidery. Carl Fabergé drew on the most skilled designers and craftsmen who worked with an astoundingly wide variety of materials. This lecture will be a celebration of these great works and the techniques by which they were created, and will also explore the range of more modest Easter gifts and the wider context of how Easter was celebrated in Orthodox Russia in the decades leading up to the Revolution. 22nd February 2023 Dr John Stevens The Art of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is arguably the most important Indian artistic figure of the modern era. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that he had two gurus: Gandhi and Tagore. A renowned poet, novelist, composer and painter, Tagore is also the only person in history to have written the national anthems for two countries (India and Bangladesh). He became a global sensation when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the first non-European to do so. This lecture provides an introduction to Tagore’s remarkable life and work, including his novels, poetry, songs and paintings. It also explores the role Tagore’s art played in the story of India’s fight for independence. 25th January 2023 Sophie Matthews Music in Art So many of our historical references for musical instruments can be found in works of art. Not only can these windows into the past show us what the instruments looked like but also the social context in which they would have been played. Music and different instruments also play a strong role within symbolism in art. Visit to Cambridge, including a tour of Kings College Tuesday 28th March 2023 The organised part of the day consists of an introductory tour of Kings College Chapel, which includes seeing the worlds largest fan vaulted ceiling and wonderful stained glass from the time of Henry VIII. This will be followed by a guided walking tour of some iconic sights of Cambridge. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy other attractions that Cambridge has to offer, for example, the Lucie Rie exhibition at Kettles Yard or ‘Islanders’ at the Fitzwilliam. 23rd November 2022 Prof. John Thomas & Jennifer Browning (Project Officer) Encounters with Achilles: The Discovery of a Trojan War Mosaic in a Rutland Field In 2020 a Rutland landowner’s walk across fields during the pandemic lockdown led to the discovery of one of the most exciting Roman mosaics in over a century. The unique mosaic featured scenes of Achilles and his battle with Prince Hector of Troy as told by Homer in his epic Trojan War poem The Iliad which were the first of their kind from Roman Britain. John Thomas will describe the discovery of the mosaic, and talk about further work by University of Leicester Archaeological Services and Historic England that has revealed the wider setting of the mosaic within an extensive villa complex. 26th October 2022 Colin Shindler Charlie Chaplin: Tortured Genius Charlie Chaplin was a man of contradictions – a playboy and a workaholic, an innovative artist and the last to embrace talking pictures. Chaplin revolutionised the language of cinema and in his guise as The Little Tramp he became the most universally recognised performer of all time. He had a tortured private life but he was adept at using elements of that life in his films. 28th September 2022 Tara Munroe Leicester's Casta Paintings In 2010, as a trainee curator working in the Leicester Museum stores, Tara Munroe came across a stack of unloved paintings in a desperate state of repair. Looking past the scars and dirt she soon realised that what she was looking at were part of a set of challenging works from the 18th centuries depicting racial classifications of the time. A re-discovery of international importance, Tara gives a detailed look at the works, their relevance today in conversation about race relations, and what will become of them in the coming months ahead. 27th July 2022 (Social) Lars Tharp An Evening with… We were last able to hold a social evening three years ago in 2019 and this year we shall be returning to the Charles Palmer Suite at the County Cricket Ground, now renamed the Upton Steel County Ground. Many of you will know this as Grace Road but access is from Curzon Road off Duncan Road, Sat Nav LE2 8EB. Adequate free parking is available inside the ground. 22nd June 2022 Gavin Plumley Bruegel - The Seasons and the World In 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder was commissioned to create a series of paintings for a dining room in Antwerp. The images, charting the course of a year, changed the way we view the world through art. Landscape had previously been a decorative backdrop to dramas both sacred and profane. But in Bruegel's hands the landscape and our interaction with it became the focus. Looking at paintings such as The Return of the Herd, Hunters in the Snow and The Gloomy Day, this lecture explores how Bruegel pioneered a whole new way of thinking about the environment and our individual places within a shifting cosmos. Pieter Bruegel the Elder - Hunters in the Snow (Winter) 1565 25th May 2022 Rosalynd Whyte Antony Gormley - a Body of Work Antony Gormley’s career spans nearly 40 years, during which time he has made sculpture that explores the relationship of the human body to space, often using his own body as his starting point. His work has been shown throughout the world, in galleries including the Tate in London and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, but is also often on open display, as public art, such as Another Place at Crosby Beach, near Liverpool. As well as works that he is well known for, like the iconic Angel of the North, this lecture will look at some of his earlier and less well-known works, to give an overall view of the development of his work across his whole career, up to the present time. Danclarke1981 Creative Commons Click here for more on Antony Gormley 27th April 2022 Cindy Polemis Surrealist Women Overshadowed by the likes of Salvador Dali,René Magritte and Max Ernst, there was a host of intriguing Surrealist female artists including Frida Kahlo, Meret Oppenheim and Leonora Carrington, who embraced surrealist ideas and created extraordinary and haunting works with a unique and distinguished conceptual energy. Self-Portrait Leonora Carrington, 1938 Click here for more information on Meret Oppenheim 23rd March 2022 Suzanne Perrin Woodblock Prints of the Edo Period: Hokusai and Hiroshige (18th -19th century) The Edo period (1603-1868) was the highpoint for crafts of all kinds including woodblock prints. Of all the artists working in Edo, Hokusai and Hiroshige were the most innovative and prolific, creating extraordinary and beautiful images that are still revered today. 23rd February 2022 at Sue Townsend Theatre for 7.45 Karin Fernald The Shakespeare of Dogs' Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) In his heyday, the animal artist Edwin Landseer was hugely celebrated and loved for his dogs and Highland stags; later, for his lions in Trafalgar Square. He was a child prodigy; aged 5 years old he made a detailed study of a foxhound which astounded everybody; later he became known for his vivid and varied textures of animal skin, hair and fur, which he achieved with special brushes, keeping their design a secret. He was a party man, with party tricks; with his left hand he could draw a horse’s head and with his right a stag’s head complete with horns – at the same time! Most widely appreciated for his dogs, he could paint comic dogs, tragic dogs and in- between dogs, and he became known - with some justification - as the Shakespeare of Dogs. He was socially much in demand with the aristocracy and with Royalty, teaching the Queen and Prince to etch. But after awhile it all gets too exhausting; the celebrated artist feels happier up in the Highlands of Scotland. He ends up stressed, drunk and mad, comparing himself to one of his own hunted stags. Nobody can get him to behave except his neighbour Mrs Pritchard, an elderly widow said to look like “a very small monkey, with bright blinking eyes and a merry mouth.” When Sir Edwin died they named a pub after him; they buried him in St Paul’s Cathedral, and someone put black wreaths around the necks of those lions in Trafalgar Square. Click here to find more about Landseer Wed 15 Dec – Nigel Bates – In the kingdom of Sweets On Zoom Log on from 7:15 Curtain up 7:30 The Nutcracker ballet has delighted audiences at Christmas for many decades yet was deemed a failure at its initial performances. This lecture is based on the current Royal Ballet production and takes a look at how this ballet takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with story-telling, dance, design and stage ingenuity come together to make this the most magical escape for everyone. Wed 24 Nov - Georgina Bexon – The Story of Modern Indian Art On Zoom Log on from 7:15 Curtain up 7:30 At Indian Independence in 1947 a group of talented and determined artists set out to create a new art for a new country, with a radical view of how Indian art could speak to its audience. The movement, known as the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, created an art very much for and of its time. It offers an exploration of how art in the subcontinent threw off the yoke of colonial influence to create modern masterpieces and a thriving global business. Day excursion We are resuming day excursions with a visit on Tuesday 2 November to Compton Verney to see two exhibitions: Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making, and John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace. The Gibbons exhibition celebrates the remarkable legacy of the ‘Michelangelo of Wood’ and marks the tercentenary of his death. Gibbons carved with unsurpassed realism that could literally fool the eye. John Nash was one of a small number of artists who were Official War Artists on both World Wars. He was also a keen plants man and botanical artist, a judge at Chelsea Flower Show and a teacher at the Royal College of Art and Flatford Mill. We shall not hire a coach for this visit. Participants will be asked to self drive. The notice of the visit will be issued at the end of this month. Wed 27 Oct (Please ignore the previous date shown, it was incorrect) Julian Halsby – Amadea Modigliani and Bohemian Paris 1906 – 1920 The lecture looks at Modigliani’s early development and his arrival in Paris from 1906 until his death in 1920 He became a close friend of Utrillo, Picasso, Max Jacob and many other painters who made up Bohemian Paris. The lecture looks at how he developed a highly individual style of his own, and his haunting portraits and sensual nudes while exploring the Bohemian life of Montmartre. September 22nd 2021 7:30 on Zoom the last lecture of the 2020/21 Membership year. Timothy Walker The Subtle Science and Exact art of using colour in English garden design – why gardening can rank as a fine art In 1882 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 evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like. Lectures will continue to be held over Zoom until January. This is because the capacity of the Sue Townsend theatre was severely restricted by the social distancing measures in force until recently. The capacity of the theatre was limited to 40 or so people with two empty seats between members of the audience. The committee therefore took the decision in the summer that we should continue with lectures over Zoom until the New Year. June 23rd 2021 7:30 on Zoom Catharine Wallace Art in a Cornish Church: Annie Walke and the artists who made paintings for St Hilary’s Church The Reverend Bernard Walke was the Catholic/Anglican vicar of St. Hilary Church for twenty years. In that time he and his wife the painter Annie Walke (1888-1965) befriended many of the artists living and visiting Cornwall at the time and invited them to make paintings for the church. This lecture looks at the work of Annie Walke and works by other artists such as Ernest Procter and Roger Fry that were made for St. Hilary's. Wed 26th May 2021 7:30pm on Zoom Ian Swankie Pots and Frocks: The World of Grayson Perry Best known for his outlandish appearances dressed as his feminine alter ego, Claire, Grayson Perry is now a core part of the art establishment, a Turner Prize winner, Royal Academician, popular broadcaster and colourful character. He’s possibly one of the world’s best-known contemporary artists. His works of ceramics, textiles, tapestries and prints are highly sought after. Often controversial, he tackles difficult subjects in a poignant yet witty way and holds a mirror up to society. This talk will examine Grayson Perry’s work, his exciting and thought-provoking exhibitions, and the unique character inside the flamboyant frocks. Click here for more information on Grayson Perry 28th Apr 2021 7:30pm on Zoom Ian Cockburn Moorish Architecture: The Legacy of a Vanished Kingdom The Alhambra of Granada, the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alcazar of Seville are the three most impressive monuments to the architectural creativity of the Moors in Spain, but there are many other examples worthy of mention too. The classical origins that influenced the Moorish style are less well-known, but fascinating to explore, as too is the unique interior decorative style developed by the Moors, which gives their architecture its beauty and exotic appeal – an appeal so strong that the Christians sometimes copied it, even as they slowly reconquered the territory from its Islamic rulers. This lecture provides a comprehensive introduction to the peninsula’s Moorish architecture. 24th Mar 2021 7:30pm on Zoom Julia Marwood The Women of the Manchester Art Gallery Women have always been involved in art - as patrons, collectors, sources of inspiration, art historians, critics and of course as creators - but the traditional narrative of art history has ignored many women artists or have treated them as surprising exceptions to the rule that women just don’t create great art. This means that women are under-represented in most great art collections. This lecture uses works in Manchester’s collection - by both men and women – to explore how women and their lives have been represented over time. Click here for Manchester Museum web site 24th Feb 2021 7:30pm on Zoom Mark Ovenden 150 years of London Underground Design Covers surprising attempts to create some graphic unity, even in the 1860s and 70s, expansion of the Underground and the need to create some cohesion between the different operating companies. For instance Leslie Green's architecture and the Arts & Crafts movement, Frank Pick, Edward Johnston's typeface, Charles Holden's architecture and the Streamline Moderne/Art Deco movement, the New Works Programme, post war austerity/design, Victoria Line, loss of Johnston & rescue by Kono, Jubilee Line Extension/architecture, creation of TfL, recent schemes and future works including the Elizabeth Line/Northern Line extension to Battersea etc.. January 27th 2021 7:30pm on Zoom Nicholas Merchant Eileen Gray, an Irish Rebel Imagine, late 19th century Southern Ireland, a young girl of “good family”, living in an 18th century mansion, a tranquil rural existence. It sounds idyllic, the sort of life colour supplements write about with floods of purple prose. This was the life of the subject of this lecture, as the 19th century drew to its close. In 1900 Eileen’s Mother took her to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and as the saying goes “she never looked back”. An imaginative, and determined girl, Eileen was determined not to see Enniscorthy again. She enrolled in the Slade School of Art, progressed to learn the true art of lacquer in Paris and after the First War became one of Paris’s most recherché and sought-after designers. Not for her the stuffed Victorian furniture of her home but for her, what we now call, “cutting-edge” design. In her studio in the rue Bonaparte she created works which rivalled all the great 20th century furniture makers of Paris. The Art Deco Exhibition of 1925 was the turning point of her life, and the world became aware of her. Ever restless, she built in the late 20’s an extraordinary house at Roquebrunne which became the envy of one of the best- known architects of the period, Le Corbusier. This is a fascinating story of the girl from Enniscorthy, who became one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century. Click here to find out more about Eileen Gray Web site designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training
The Arts Society Leicester
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Web site and mobile phone pages designed, created and maintained by Janet Groome, Handshake Computer Training