Past Lectures & visits We are following Government and National advice, updated daily, on the best way to cope with the Covid-19 issues for our meetings. At the moment our programme continues, but if the situation changes we will circulate details as soon as we are able. Tuesday 8 September: Zoom Lecture: 11am Go Crystal Tears; The Art of Melancholy Adam Busiakiewicz (the Lutist we love). An invite from Stamford Society. Despite our own modern preconceptions, the quiet introspection of melancholy was often associated with creativity in the past. This was prevalent in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when significant treatises, music and art were dedicated to this condition. Treading the thin line between madness and contentment, this lecture will investigate why and how artists of painting and music responded to this significant part of human consciousness. (Several pieces of live lute music will be performed as part of the lecture.) 27 August 2020 11.00 am Sophie Matthews Music in Art Sophie Matthews began playing flute at the age of ten but is now more well-known for her prowess on the English border bagpipes and has become one of the foremost players of the instrument in the UK. She also plays a variety of early woodwind instruments such as shawm, rauschpfeife and recorder. She is one of a handful of British players of the baroque musette, an 18th century French bagpipe similar to the Northumbrian smallpipes. Sophie is also recognised as a superb interpreter of narrative song with a clear, pure and unaffected soprano voice. When not touring with modern-day balladeers GreenMatthews, Sophie makes instruments (she made her own baroque oboe) and works with respected luthier Tony Millyard on his flutes. She’s previously worked with The Oxford Waits as well as the respected early music collective Piva. Sophie is self-taught on all of her instruments. About the presentation: Historical musician and instrument maker Sophie Matthews explores the links between the visual and the aural in this one-hour presentation. Drawing on the works of great painters such as Brueghel, Hogarth and Bosch, Sophie presents a variety of images of historical woodwind instruments in their original social context. The symbolism of music in mediaeval and Renaissance arts is also explored, along with live performances of historical music upon authentic instruments. 23 July 11 am on Zoom Briony Hudson In paynted pots is hidden the deadliest poyson Blue and white tin-glazed earthenware has long been admired and collected for its attractive appearance, but this lecture goes further by examining English delftware with a pharmaceutical purpose. Drawing on examples from collections at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons of England, this talk will provide a beginner's guide to these beautiful yet practical vessels. By placing them in their wider historical context, Briony will also demonstrate that delftware drug jars have an undervalued role to play in understanding medical practices in the 17th and 18th centuries. Briony Hudson studied History at Cambridge University, and Museums Studies at Leicester University. She has worked at museums as diverse as Hereford Cider Museum, the V&A, and Wakefield Museum, and was Keeper of the Museum Collections at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society from 2002 to 2010. Among her publications are works on English Delftware Drug Jars: The collection of the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Jacob Bell: a useful and honourable life. Briony is Past President of the British Society for the History of Pharmacy, and gives lectures on a wide range of topics relating to pharmacy history. Photo courtesy of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum 27 February 2020 Joanna Banham Walter Crane and Nursery Wallpapers Due to unforeseen circumstances on the day, the Walter Crane lecture was replaced by a lecture on William Morris. 23 January 2020 Jonathan Foyle Peterborough Cathedral Peterborough Cathedral started life as a seventh-century abbey, and became a cathedral under Henry VIII. Once called ‘Golden Borough’, the Saxon abbey’s wealth was plundered after the Norman Conquest, but the church arose again with architecture of great power culminating in its unmistakable triple-arched west front. The speaker, author of a recent book on this great building, will outline the development of the building and focus on presenting the first analysis of the hidden meaning in its magnificent thirteenth-century nave ceiling, which emerges as the greatest political work of art in the age of Magna Carta. Click here for the web site for Peterborough Cathedral 12 December 2019 Last Supper in Pompeii Visit to the Ashmolean Museum This major exhibition tells the story of this ancient Roman town’s love affair with food. See below three photos from the trip ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ Members and guests of Oakham Arts Society enjoyed a guided tour of this stunning exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in early December 2019. These few pictures show our group and just some of the detailed artworks and articles still being revealed in excavations at Pompeii. There are no lectures in December November 28 IO Saturnalia: Happy Christmas the Roman Way Gillian Hovell Early Christians celebrated Christmas at the same time as the ancient Romans were feasting and partying for their pagan Saturnalia festival. Many of the pagan habits were therefore absorbed into our Christmas traditions. Present-giving, holly and even party-hats all have their origins in this 2000 year old party. This talk will revel in artwork that is ancient and modern as we unwrap the images and stories behind our festive season. 'A History of Western Painting in 25 Masterpieces' Study Day with Dr Aliki Braine 29 October at Oakham School From the beginnings of the Renaissance in 13th century Italy to the birth of Abstraction in the 20th century, this lecture charts the main developments of Western European painting. Focusing on a limited number of acclaimed masterpieces, this dynamic lecture charts both the stylistic and thematic development of European painting alongside the historical contexts in which they were created. Here is feedback on the above study day And what a ‘tour de force’ this was, enjoyed by nearly 80 members of the society. Split into 4 sections this was a personal selection of Western European works of art, eloquently delivered and underlined with considerable background information and personal experience. The full list of the 25 titles is given below and reflects a breadth of historic development of painting and its place in the social conscience of its time. Members’ feedback: I thought Aliki’s knowledge was astonishing and I really liked the way that she linked the paintings and artists together in some fairly unexpected ways. I also liked the mix of well-known as well as less famous pictures that she’d chosen. The lecture today by Dr. Aliki was enthralling and kept everybody's attention. For us many pennies dropped and uncoordinated earlier thoughts crystallised together. Dr Aliki is a lecturer not just totally in command of her subject but able to present it in an interesting and easy to listen to manner. The catering of four coffees/teas was generous and sandwiches excellent.  It might have been helpful if the Oakham staff had popped their head in towards the end of each coffee session to see if everybody was well catered (we ran out of milk) but it would appear they weren't catering staff and wouldn't appreciate the importance of a little oversight. Venue is excellent with the easy parking not requiring Parking Warden fears. I really enjoyed the Study Day, I thought the lecturer was first class – with excellent ‘slides’. The timing of the day was also good - with the exception of the 1 hour 15 minute lunch break, which I thought was far too long. I appreciate that we have to think of the speaker’s voice, but she was actually sitting in the theatre for at least 20 minutes waiting for the audience. Also it was a glorious day so we could go outside, but if it had been raining the lengthy period would have been very tedious. I think that a 45 minute lunch break would be quite adequate. Despite that – many thanks for a very enjoyable and very instructive day at an amazingly low cost. Oakham school lecture theatre is such a good venue, comfortable, accessible, with easy parking and a thoroughly professional touch. Thank you to all those who made this fascinating day possible. Yet another TASO meeting where expectations were exceeded. October 24 The Guggenheims: A Dynasty of Art Collections Andrew Hopkins What other family in the twentieth century managed to amass such extraordinary art collections, and design or purchase such astounding buildings to display their collections? Compared to the Frick and Gulbenkian, individual collections displayed in single museums, the Guggenheim name was transformed in the late twentieth century into a brand, some would say a chain. With celebrated museums in New York, with the flagship Solomon R. Guggenheim landmark on Fifth Avenue, together with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, the family foundation did not stop there. They commissioned the celebrated building by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, which opened in 1997, and which is now considered a masterpiece of modern architecture and design. Other expansion plans have not fared so well, with outposts in Las Vegas and Berlin closing after some years, and new building projects in Vilnius and Helsinki have been abandoned after opposition by residents, who were not persuaded they needed a Guggenheim in their city. This lecture looks at the beginning of both Solomon’s and Peggy’s collections in New York City, with artists they acquired such as Kandinsky and Pollock, and traces the development and expansion of their collections over more than half a century, by which time the Guggenheim name had become synonymous with some of the most inspiring art and museums in the world. Click here for the history of the family and their wealth September 26 Post War Theatre : From Coward’s Cocktails to the Angry Young Men Giles Ramsey No synopsis Our 2019 Summer buffet will be on 22 August at Greetham Valley Golf Club, following the morning lecture. When Cotton was King: the architectural legacy of nineteenth century Manchester Brian Healey 'Cottonopolis’ as it became known, was the world’s first industrialized city that enjoyed unstoppable growth for much of the last century. With it came grand commercial and civic buildings on a scale and of a quality never witnessed in the city before. This lecture examines the extraordinary variety of such buildings and shows how their architects and stonemasons brought directly into the streets of Manchester the golden age of Pericles, the architecture of Renaissance Italy and the Gothic of the Grand Canal. It goes into a detailed study of the allegorical sculpture and decoration of many of these buildings, many of which have fascinating stories to tell and which were designed by eminent architects such as Charles Barry and Alfred Waterhouse even before they went on to make names for themselves in the capital itself. Click here for more information on Cottonopolis June 27 The Lunar Society Sally Hoban The Lunar Society of Birmingham, whose members included Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestly and their friend Josiah Wedgwood, were both artists and scientists and their legacy of experimentation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries helped give us the modern industrial world we know today. This lecture discusses the relationship between art and science in the Lunar Circle, with examples drawn from subjects including painting and drawing and Matthew Boulton’s silver. The lecture also discusses the virtually unknown women connected with the Lunar Circle, including Elizabeth Stockdale Wilkinson (1799 – 1871), who was involved in early photography in Birmingham, and the poet Anna Seward (1747 – 1809). The Lunar Society still meets today, click here for their web site. May 23 An overview of the Life and Work of William Morris Fiona Rose William Morris (1834–1896) was the single most influential designer of the nineteenth century. Morris was a political theorist, scholar, translator and publisher, environmental campaigner, writer and poet as well as an outstanding designer. When he was dying, his physician said, ‘he is dying of being William Morris, of having lived the life of ten men in the body of one’. This illustrated talk includes an overview of his early life, marriage, family, homes, and the work of his firm Morris & Co. & The Kelmscott Press. This lecture takes a look at not just the business man but the man. Find out more about William Morris and his designs. April 25 The Lute – Queen of Instruments Adam Busiakiewicz The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden-haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages. March 28 250 years at the Royal Academy Rosalind Whyte In 2018 The Royal Academy of Arts celebrates its 250th anniversary, so it is an opportune time to explore its history and the role it has played in the development of British art. We will look at the position of artists in London before and after the formation of the Academy in 1768 and some of the characters involved, from the first President, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and other establishment figures, to artists who have taken a more oppositional stance, whether individually, such as Reynolds’ great contemporary and rival Gainsborough, or as a group, such as the (initially) clandestine Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young rebel artists who sought to subvert the Academy from within. Like any important institution, the Academy has been embroiled in intrigue and controversy over the course of its history and no scandal or outrage will remain unexposed as we trace the history of one of Britain’s most important cultural bodies, from inception to the present day. Click here for the Royal Academy web site. February 28 Castles of Nottinghamshire James Wright Based on a four year research project, which culminated in a popular book on the subject (Nottinghamshire County Council 2008), Castles of Nottinghamshire looks in detail at the lesser known earthworks and ruins of lost castles and fortified manor houses in the county. The subject is set in the context of wider castle studies and focuses on both documentary sources and fieldwork to tell the often surprising story of aristocratic life in Medieval Nottinghamshire. Click here to find out about the latest developments January 24th 2019 Douglas Skeggs Klimt and the Viennese Secession Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objects d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods.
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