Lectures

Wednesday 9th January 2019

Lecturer: Toby Faber

Cover Design: 90 years of Excellence

Since 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.

About our speaker:

As the grandson of its founder, Toby grew up steeped in its books. He was managing director for four years and remains on the board. He is passionate about the firm's success, and intensely proud of his association with it.

Cover Design: 90 years of Excellence

Wednesday 13th February 2019

Lecturer: Caroline Walker

MacDonald Gill: Architect, Artist and Mapmaker

MacDonald 'Max' Gill, younger brother of the sculptor Eric Gill, was an architect, letterer, and graphic artist of the first half of the twentieth century, best known for his pictorial map posters for the London Underground and painted map panels for such iconic buildings as Lindisfarne Castle. His architectural legacy lives on in the arts and crafts cottages he designed in rural Sussex and Dorset while the alphabet he created for the standard military headstone is familiar to all. This wonderfully illustrated talk by Max Gill's great niece gives fascinating insights into the life and work of this remarkable but little-known artist.

About our speaker:

Caroline began research into her great-uncle in 2006. Since then she has co-curated several Macdonald Gill exhibitions around the country and has contributed articles to publications including Country Life. Apart from The Arts Society, she has lectured at organisations such as the National Archives, the Art Workers' Guild, and the National Trust. She runs the MacDonald Gill website, and is currently writing his biography.

MacDonald Gill: Architect, Artist and Mapmaker

Wednesday 13th March 2019

Lecturer: Dr Justine Hopkins

Twentieth Century Sculpture in Britain: adventures in 3 dimensions

Modern sculpture is mysterious to many people. Frequently abstract or distorted in form, and complicated rather than illuminated by critical jargon, it seems difficult and inaccessible. Yet everywhere we go, sculpture is invading our space and demanding to have attention paid. That is what makes it so challenging, and potentially so rewarding. The story of sculpture through the 20th century reveals a growing understanding of how form can be manipulated to explore emotion as well as appearance, how materials can dictate meaning as well as shape, and how technical skill and concentrated imagination can use a three-dimensional language as expressively as any painter, poet or novelist to give us insights into the rhythms and meanings of life itself.

Initially controversial, the names of the sculptors involved have tended to become more accessible than what they made. Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore; Michael Ayrton, Anthony Gormley, Elisabeth Frink and Eduardo Paolozzi - their work stands at the heart of our time, and yet still, too often, people looking at individual pieces are intimidated where they should be enthralled. The viewing of sculpture is an exploration, an adventure, something to be enjoyed. This lecture sets out to prove that we can all be explorers.

About our speaker:

Dr Justine Hopkins has lectured regularly for Tate Britain, Tate Modern, V&A, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery, as well as to Oxbridge and Bristol Universities. Her publications include 'The Art of John Martin', 'Michael Ayrton: A Biography' and articles for 'Apollo Magazine' and 'Modern Painters'.

Twentieth Century Sculpture in Britain: adventures in 3 dimensions

Wednesday 10th April 2019

Lecturer: Julia Korner

The Beauty of Frames: The history and creation of frames, with an insight into their design, selection and gilding techniques through time'

The lecture covers a brief history of frames, and how they developed across Europe, influenced often by the prevailing architectural style. It looks at how they are constructed and conserved, and how a frame can transform a painting and display it to its best advantage. Finally, the talk closes by looking at the materials and tools of the workshop, and the techniques that have survived the tests of time.

About our speaker:

Julia Korner, LSIAD, is a specialist and lecturer in fine art conservation and restoration of paintings, sculptures and frames. She is also a valuer, passionate collector, advisor and curator of paintings and works of art.

The Beauty of Frames: The history and creation of frames, with an insight into their design, selection and gilding techniques through time'

Wednesday 8th May 2019

Lecturer: Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac

Uncovering the Nation's Hidden Oil Painting Collection

Art UK was set up to catalogue every oil painting in public ownership in the UK. This ambitious project involved visiting 3,000 collections across the country and photographing over 212,000 paintings; these are now freely available to view on the Art UK website (www.artuk.org). The lecture offers an insider's view of the project and describes the detective work involved, some unusual collections visited and intriguing paintings uncovered. It will include several paintings of local interest.

About our speaker:

Mary Rose gained an MA (Distinction) in Victorian Media & Culture at Royal Holloway, University of London. She was a founder member of The Arts Society Richmond and is a volunteer guide at Dorich House Museum in Kingston and at J.M.W. Turner's House in Twickenham. Since 2007 she has been involved with the unique Art UK project that is the subject of her lecture.

Uncovering the Nation's Hidden Oil Painting Collection

Wednesday 12th June 2019

Lecturer: Aliki Braine

Understanding the difference between Contemporary and Historic Art

Same Old, Same New...

One might think that it is easy to spot the difference between contemporary and historical art, but what about what they have in common. Can old masters help us understand art works such as the infamous 'pile of bricks' or 'unmade bed'? This lecture explores whether the old masters can help us understand modern and contemporary works, and questions whether artists' intentions and strategies have really changed across the centuries.

About our speaker:

Aliki was born in 1976 in Paris, she now lives and works in London as an Associate Lecturer at Camberwell College of Art, UAL and Visiting Lecturer, Westminster University

Alongside her creative practice, Aliki gives regular lectures as an art historian for The National Gallery, The Wallace Collection, Christies' Education and The Arts Society

Understanding the difference between Contemporary and Historic Art

Wednesday 11th September 2019

Lecturer: Professor Brendan Cassidy

Canaletto and England

By the 1720s Canaletto had become the principal provider of Venetian views to British Grand Tourists; the Duke of Bedford, for example, bought 24 paintings, the Duke of Marlborough 20. When war on the continent prevented his British clients from travelling, Canaletto decided to move to London in 1746. He remained for almost 10 years painting his immediately recognizable views that had made him successful in Venice and now he applied to the sights of London. The Thames, St Paul's Cathedral, the new Westminster Bridge, for example, were represented to the English in ways they had never seen before. This lecture will consider Canaletto's career in England, the ways in which he adapted his style to appeal to local taste, the success he achieved and the occasional hostility and suspicion he met with from local artists. It will look at the range of work he produced, including his capricci or 'fantasy views', and the influence he had on later English artists, including Constable and Turner.

About our speaker:

Brendan Cassidy taught chemistry in Ghana, West Africa before returning to university to take his M.A. in Art History at Edinburgh and his Ph.D. at Cambridge. He has been Research Associate at the Warburg Institute, University of London (1985-88) and Director of the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University (1988-95). He has taught at St Andrews from 1996 & offers courses on Late-Medieval & Early Renaissance Italian art and on cultural relations between Italy & Britain in the eighteenth century. His recent research has investigated painted & sculpted imagery as evidence of societal tensions in Italy c.1250-1400 and the ways in which it was employed by the political classes to influence public opinion & behaviour. With a particular interest in sculpture, he is currently researching a social history of the craft in Italy from the thirteenth century to Michelangelo.

Canaletto and England

Wednesday 9th October 2019

Lecturer: Professor Colin Davies

Zaha Hadid: Architectural Superstar

Dame Zaha Hadid died on March 31st 2016 at age of 65. Architectural historians of the future will surely recognise her as one of the most important architects of the early 21st century. She was born in Iraq and her reputation was global, but she made Britain her home. This lecture tells the story of her career from the visionary projects of the 1980s, through the years of frustration when her designs were considered unbuildable, to the prolific crop of successful projects built all over the world in the last decade of her life.

About our speaker:

Colin Davies is an architect, a former editor of The Architects' Journal and a regular contributor to architectural magazines world-wide. He was until recently Professor of Architectural Theory at London Metropolitan University. He has made numerous TV and radio appearances. His books include 'A New History of Modern Architecture', 'Thinking about Architecture', 'The Prefabricated Home', 'High Tech Architecture', 'Key Houses of the Twentieth Century' and several monographs on the work of architects such as Norman Foster, Michael Hopkins and Nicholas Grimshaw.

Zaha Hadid: Architectural Superstar

Wednesday 13th November 2019

Lecturer: Elizabeth Merry

William Shakespeare and his Turbulent World

In his tribute to William Shakespeare on the publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays in 1623, Ben Jonson addresses him as 'Sweet Swan of Avon', 'Thou Star of Poets' and 'Not of an Age, but for all Time'. Four hundred years after Shakespeare's death his words still have the power to thrill, to move, to uplift the soul. It's said that a Shakespeare play is being performed somewhere in the world every minute of every day. In this lecture we explore what is known about his life in the turbulent and often dangerous world of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, and look at the development of English Renaissance theatre. We also focus on some of the portraits purporting to be of Shakespeare and examine the theories behind them.

About our speaker:

Elizabeth has over 25 years' experience lecturing on a range of subjects including classical art and architecture, aspects of the visual arts and the links between literature and art. She has lectured for the WEA, the Universities of Bristol and Southampton Departments of Continuing Education, Royal Society of Arts, Dillington House, Jane Austen Society, Thomas Hardy Society, Brussels Brontë Society, Finzi Society, the Art Fund, Dorset County Museum and literary, historical and philosophical societies nationwide. She has also lectured on study tours across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

William Shakespeare and his Turbulent World

Lectures Archive

Lectures 2018

Lectures 2017

Lectures 2016

Lectures 2015


Meetings are held at

Warwick Hall, Church Green, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4RY

Lectures begin at 11.00am with coffee and tea available beforehand

See information on how to get in touch

Contact Us


Join us as a new member

of The Arts Society Cotswolds

Become a member