JANUARY 18th 2017

Islam and the Mosque

Roof_hafez_tombThe development and spread of Islam following the death of the prophet Mohamed led to the adoption of one particular building type for all Muslims, the Mosque. The lecture begins with the life of the Prophet and the astonishing spread of Islam after his death. The early Islamic monuments of Jerusalem and Damascus will be examined, as well as the spread to North Africa from where the religion spread to Spain and the building of the great mosque at Cordoba.

Dr. Tom Duncan:

Tom Duncan studied History of Art and Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at Trinity College, Dublin. He has lectured at university level and to many heritage and arts organisations.

Image: By Pentocelo – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org


Hogarth – A Harlot, a Rake, and a Marriage

The Painter and his Pug 1745 William Hogarth 1697-1764 Purchased 1824 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N00112William Hogarth (1697-1764) aspired to be a great society painter of his age. However, his sense of humour and social conscience threw this off course. He succeeded in becoming a great British printmaker, using prints “to reform the reigning vices” of his age. Here, Hilary Williams, who lectures for The British Museum and the Wallace Collection, will look at his series of compositions: the Harlot’s Progress; the Rake’s Progress; and the Marriage-à-la-Mode, with their related drawings, prints, and paintings, to see how Hogarth developed his themes and reflected the luxury and poverty of Georgian Britain.


Hilary Williams

Formerly Print Room Superintendent at the British Museum, now Art History Education Officer. Lectures for BM, London Borough of Bexley and Wallace Collection. NADFAS liaison officer at British Museum. Founding Artistic Director North Kent Evening DFAS. Guides Special Interest Private Tours of State Apartments Buckingham Palace.

Image: The Tate Britain, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org

MARCH 15th

Opera, the melting pot of culture.

Walewska_lorens_1The talk charts opera’s close connection with the society that is paying for it. The talk moves from the 17th and 18th century preoccupations with princely patronage, classical plots, courtly manners, high voices, enormous costumes and happy endings – through the gear change of the war and revolution to the 19th century concerns of nationalism, epic themes and doomed heroines.  The talk is based on years of writing articles, programme notes, and lecturing for the Royal Opera House and the BBC.


Sarah Lenton

Sarah Lenton has spent her working life in the theatre, principally at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and English National Opera. She writes programme articles and websites, she gives lectures on the operas and ballets in the rep. and does live opera broadcasts and podcasts for BBC Radios 3 and 4. She has written and directed many shows, including more than 20 for the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre and for Glyndebourne Touring Opera. She is also a cartoonist.

Image: By Leslawdutkowski (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

APRIL 19th

Grayson Perry, Frocks and Pots

graysonperryWidely known for his appearances dressed as his feminine alter ego, Claire, Grayson Perry RA is now a core part of the art establishment. Ten years after winning the Turner Prize he gave the brilliant BBC Reith Lecture in 2013. His works of ceramics, textiles, tapestries and prints are highly sought after. Often controversial, he is able to tackle difficult subjects in a poignant yet witty way. This talk will examine Grayson Perry’s works, his exciting and thought provoking exhibitions, and we’ll look at the character inside the flamboyant frocks.


Ian Swankie

A Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and gives regular tours at each venue. Also a qualified and active freelance London guide and a member of both the City of London and Westminster Guide Lecturer Associations. Clients include NADFAS and WEA groups, Transport for London, the National Trust and London Open House. In 2012 he established a weekly independent art lecture group in Richmond and gives talks on a variety of subjects.

MAY 17th

Faber and Faber – Its designs and history

A_Song_for_SimeonSince its foundation in 1925, Faber and Faber has built a reputation as one of London’s most important literary publishing houses. Part of that relates to the editorial team that Geoffrey Faber and his successors built around them – TS Eliot was famously an early recruit – but a large part is also due to the firm’s insistence on good design and illustration. This lecture traces the history of Faber and Faber through its illustrations, covers and designs. Early years brought innovations like the Ariel Poems – single poems, beautifully illustrated, sold in their own envelopes. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was an emphasis on typography, led by the firm’s art director Berthold Wolpe; his Albertus font is still used on City of London road signs. In the 1980s, the firm started its association with Pentagram, responsible for the ff logo. Along the way, it has employed some of our most celebrated artists as cover illustrators – from Rex Whistler and Barnett Freedman to Peter Blake and Damien Hirst. Slides will range from book covers, advertisements and photos of key individuals, to illustrations of the concepts behind the designs. The talk will also be peppered with personal insight and anecdote. Faber and Faber is the last of the great publishing houses to remain independent. As the grandson of its founder, I grew up steeped in its books. I was managing director for four years and I remain on the board. I am passionate about the firm’s success, and intensely proud of my association with it.


Tony Faber

Has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius and Fabergé’s Eggs, published by Macmillan in the UK and Random House in the US, and given lectures associated with these two subjects at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Bath Theatre, The Library of Congress and the Huntington Library, as well as a number of literary festivals. His career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board. Is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music, a trustee of Yale University Press (UK) and a director of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.

Image: By Faber & Gwyer – From Faber and Faber’s T. S. Elliot collection on Flickr, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org

JUNE 21th

The Art and Scandalous Lives of the Bloomsbury Group

by Unknown photographer, vintage snapshot print, July 1915The art of the three main ‘Bloomsbury’ artists (Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry) cannot be separated from their extraordinary lives. They, along with their literary and other intellectual companions (Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes, amongst others) were part of a movement, the popular name for which became widely used only after the death of around half its members.


Frank Woodgate

Lecturer and Guide at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and for Tate on cruises. Lecturer at Dulwich Picture Gallery and scriptwriter for the Living Paintings Trust (art for the blind and partially-sighted). Lecturer can provide digital projector if required.

Image: by Unknown photographer, vintage snapshot print, July 1915


When Britain Clicked – Fab photos from the Swinging Sixties

david_baileyBritish photography enjoyed a golden age in the 1960s. Young, talented  newcomers broke out of the conventional studio to revolutionise perceptions  of fashion, portraiture and popular culture. This lecture looks at a range of  superb images from photographers such as David Bailey, Terence Donovan,  Lewis Morley, Tony Ray­Jones and Jane Bown.


Brian Stater

His chief interests lie in photography, architecture and history and he combines all three in his lecturing career. He has taught at University College London, since 1997 and became a NADFAS lecturer in 2003. He is a member of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and an exhibition of his own photographs has been staged at UCL. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the skills of some great photographers of the past, he has begun to work with a pre-War Leica camera, as used by his great hero, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and many others.


Plants and Birds in Art – From the Ice Age to the Digital Age

Birds_Illustrated_Pintail_DuckThis talk explores the portrayal of both plants and birds from Ice Age times to the present digital age in the pursuit of artistic pleasure and knowledge. The presentation will include consideration of ancient herbals, florilegia, Renaissance and Dutch art and the golden age of illustrated natural history books. These aspects will be compared with the works of 19th and 20th century painters as well as with contemporary artists particularly concerned with wildlife and present day issues of conservation and representation.


Professor Roy Burdon

Graduate of St Andrews University and a Research Fellow at New York University. Holds Professorships at Glasgow University and the Polytechnical University of Denmark. Chairman of the Department of Biosciences & Biotechnology at Strathclyde University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; the Royal Society of Arts and the Society of Biology. Chairman also of the Biochemical Society (UK) and UK Coordinating Committee for Biotechnology; also chair of Milngavie Art Club. As well as a part-time artist, with paintings exhibited at significant galleries in group and solo exhibitions, is the author of over 200 scientific papers and six books (three relating to environmental issues). A guide to the Fine Art Collections at Kelvingrove Art Galleries, Glasgow, and lecturer to various art clubs, societies, schools and galleries on the interface between art and science.

Image: By Nature Study Publishing Company, Chicago. – Birds Illustrated By Color Photography (part work), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36588283


Up To a Point – In search of Pyramids in Britain and Ireland

IrishPyramid1From Inverness to Cornwall, from Pembrokeshire to Norfolk, from the Antrim Coast to County Cork, the pyramids of Britain and Ireland are little-known but of great variety and interest. This talk, which will include local examples, sets the pyramids of Britain and Ireland in their historical perspective and tells the story of the mausoleums, memorials, garden ornaments, pumps, wellheads, boat houses, beacons, sculptures, churches, offices, shops, sports halls, swimming pools, cinemas, navigation marks and general pyramidal oddities that turn up in the most unexpected places. Their builders range from eccentrics to engineers, via martyrs, philanthropists, ghosts, kings, musicians, heroes and villains. The talk uncovers forgotten corners of history and highlights unusual discoveries, like Britain’s only castiron pyramid, a Scottish Formica pyramid, an Irish pyramid that sheltered the IRA and a Welsh one made of road signs. Whether you have an interest in architecture, landscapes, gardening, Freemasonry, New Age ideas, scandalous family histories or just in what prompts people to place triangles together to make an interesting structure, Up to a Point will surprise and inspire you.


David Winpenny

Studied English at Birmingham University and taught for several years before joining the Countryside Commission as Co-ordinator of its National Parks Campaign. Worked for the Central Office of Information in Leeds before setting up own public relations company. Author of ‘Up to a Point – in search of pyramids in Britain and Ireland’ and has written and contributed to several books for the AA. Writes regularly for BBC Countryfile Magazine, is chairman of Ripon Civic Society and lectures on architectural and related subjects.

Image: The Pyramids of Arklow letscelebrateireland


Preview the 2018 programme