Rebecca Barker is responsible for the information on this page.

Lectures are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month (excluding August) at the The Gateway Centre, Abergavenny promptly at 11.00 am.
Coffee will be available from 10.15 to 10.45 am. In order to avoid disturbance at the end of the lecture we should be grateful if you would allow
enough parking time to cover an over-running lecture. e.g. at least until 12. 15 pm.
Visitors are welcome at a cost of £8 at the door, but they must be signed in by a Member or, if unaccompanied, by a Member of the Committee.


12 September 2019 Treasures of the Turf - Christopher Garibaldi
From the late seventeenth century to the modern period this lecture looks at the development of the sport of horseracing in England through its associated cultural material. Using the wealth of paintings, archive material and decorative art objects associated with and depicting the ‘Sport of Kings’, the lecture will take as its starting point the earliest origins of the sport including the development of Newmarket and the Jockey Club as racing’s ‘Headquarters’. Treasures of the Turf also explores other influential racing circuits and because of the national nature of the sport can be adapted to include links to the local area.

Christopher Garibaldi - Director of the National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket. Senior Curator & Assistant Keeper of Art (Decorative Art) at Norwich Castle Museum 1998-2003. 1997-1998 Curator for exhibition George Wickes of Bury St Edmunds, RoyalGoldsmith. 1994-1997 Catalogued the silver in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Speaker's Residence - The House of Commons.
Godolphin Arabian
Racing horses print

10 October 2019 How we got Ikea - Scandinavian Design c1880 - 1960
Scandinavia became one of the leading countries for ‘progressive’ design in the 20th century. This lecture starts by looking at design reform and the arts and crafts movement at the end of the 19th century. Included will be the interiors of Karl Larsson, for many the direct precursor of the IKEA Swedish style; the metalwork of the Dane Georg Jensen, which drew heavily on the English Arts and Crafts; Swedish and Danish glass and ceramics - Orrefors, Rorstrand and Copenhagen. The impact on Scandinavian designers of the Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism will be appraised bringing us up to the 1950s when it can be said Scandinavian design came of age. Scandinavian Modern, as it was christened in America, offered an ideal life-style for the post war era, based on clean lines, natural materials and the notion that ‘less is more’. Founded on principles of economy and self-reliance, Do-It-Yourself-IKEA has globalized Scandinavian Modern and many have embraced its founder’s ethos as it suits our busy lifestyles.

Anne Anderson
With a first degree in archaeology and a PhD in English, Anne was a senior lecturer in Art and Design History at Southampton Solent University for 14 years. During 2009-2010, Anne worked on Closer to Home the reopening exhibition at Leighton House Museum, Kensington. She has curated three national exhibitions, including The Truth About Faeries (2009-11) and Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree (2013). Her book on The Perseus Series was published for the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition (2018). She has held several prestigious fellowships including Fellow of the Huntington Library, CA (2008 and 2018) and Fellow of the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Library and Museum (2009/10). Currently a tutor for the V&A Learning Academy, Anne specialises in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement.
Ikea logo
Ikea interior

14 November 2019 Norman Wilkinson - A Dazzling Artistic Career
In 1917 Wilkinson (1878-1971), a first-rate painter and poster designer, invented Dazzle ‘camouflage’. Thousands of British and Allied ships were painted with vivid and violently contrasting patterns of colour to deter U-boat attacks. Discover the life and work of Wilkinson and his Dazzle scheme that continues to inspire art and design. Was it really inspired by Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism?

James Taylor
studied at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester, and is a former curator of paintings, drawings and prints, and co-ordinator of various exhibitions and galleries, at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, also lecturer and ships' historian on board cruise ships. Publications include illustrated histories of Marine Painting (1995) and yachting art Yachts on Canvas (1998), The Voyage of the Beagle: Darwin’s extraordinary adventure aboard FitzRoy’s famous survey ship (2008), Careless Talk Costs Lives: Fougasse and the Art of Public Information(2010) and Your Country Needs You: the Secret History of the Propaganda Poster (2013). Completed his PhD at the University of Sussex in 2015 on the voyager artist William Westall (1781-1850) who sailed with Commander Matthew Flinders aboard HMS 'Investigator' (1801-1803) the first ship to circumnavigate Australia. Guided tours of the buildings and artworks of the National Maritime Museum can be arranged for groups.
Curator of Dazzle: Disguise and Disruption in War and Art at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery in Lymington, Hampshire which runs until 23 September https://www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk/whats-on/current-exhibition.php
Dazzle scheme
Dazzle scheme
Dazzle scheme

12 December 2019 Mrs Beeton's Christmas - Annie Gray
Published in 1861, Beeton’s Household Management book contains a number of Christmas recipes, without going into depth on what the festival really meant. This reflects the mid-Victorian turmoil over Christmas: was it an excuse for drunken revelry and better off banned or forgotten? Or was it an occasion to celebrate with family and friends and to remember those less fortunate than the middle classes to whom Beeton addressed her writing?
The talk addresses the way in which the customs that we consider part of our ‘traditional’ Christmas were invented, or reinvented, in the mid-nineteenth century. It uses recipe books and depictions of food to think about our Christmas lunch, along with cards, etchings and book illustrations to show the development of Christmas as we know it today. It also covers ideas for house decorations taken from Victorian times and suggests some alternatives to watching TV during the after dinner lull.

Dr Annie Gray is the resident food historian on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, and co-presented BBC’s Victorian Bakers, as well as its Christmas special, which was filmed at Blists Hill Victorian Town, one of the 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums. She also fronts the hit BBC Two show ‘The Sweet Makers’ part of which was also filmed at various locations at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.
Mrs Beeton's book

9 January 2020 Pleasure, Sin and Men with Fish Heads: The Fantastical Works of Hieronymous Bosch - Stella Grace Lyons
Monsters and morals, pleasure and sin, heaven and hell; the strange works of Hieronymus Bosch are considered an anomaly in the history of art. They are filled with grotesque images of fantastical creatures surrendering to lust, desire, fantasy and angst. His most famous work, the triptych The Garden of Earthly Desires illustrates the danger of giving in to temptation, with a terrifying hell scene which even today is disturbing. This talk looks at arguably the most enigmatic figure in art history, and the fantastical works he created.

Stella Grace Lyons
gained her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice. In addition, she attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios in Florence. In 2017, Stella was selected by The Arts Society to lecture at the launch of ‘Drawing Room Discussions’ in association with ROSL ARTS, hosted by Guardian arts correspondent Maev Kennedy. Stella runs her own art history courses and she is also a regular lecturer in the UK and Europe for The Arts Society, National Trust, Contemporary Arts Society Wales (CASW), Classical Education Forum, WEA, and several travel companies. Stella also works as an artist’s model for the internationally renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland.
Seven Deadly sins etc
The Garden of Earthly Desires

13 February 2020 Foreigners in London 1520 - 1677: The Artists that changed the course of British Art - Leslie Primo
Why were foreigner painters preferred by the aristocracy in London to native-born English painters, why did foreigners come in the first place, what was their motivation, and what was the impact of foreigners in London on English art and art practise? The lecture will look at the various formats and uses of art, tracing foreign artists from the Tudor period through to the Renaissance and Baroque, looking at their origins and how they came to work in England. It will examine the contributions of artists such as Holbein, Gerrit van Honthorst, Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, Lucas and Susanna Horenbout, Isaac Oliver, Paulus van Somer, van Dyck, Peter Lely, and Rubens. This lecture will look at how these artists influenced the British School of painting and assess their legacy.

Leslie Primo holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Was Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading in 2005 and 2007, and gives lectures and guided tours, plus special talks, at both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Also lectures at the City Literary Institute, and has presented a series of talks at the National Maritime Museum and the Courtauld Institute.
Peter Lely

12 March 2020 Canal History and Heritage - Roger Butler
This lecture provides a colourful introduction to the secret world of our 2000-mile inland waterway network and looks at all aspects of their exceptional artistic, architectural and engineering vernacular. Features range from sweeping aqueducts to tiny bollards; from colourful historic narrowboats to 'Roses and Castles' artwork; from grand World Heritage Sites to quirky listed buildings. A well-known architectural historian once described our canals as a 'poor man's art gallery'.

Roger Butler holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Was Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading in 2005 and Roger Butler is a landscape architect and an experienced writer, photographer and lecturer. He has a particular interest in the unique history, architecture and traditions of our canal network and worked on some of the UK’s major canal restoration projects. He has also acted as a consultant to bodies such as Waterways Ireland, Natural England and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
He regularly contributes to waterway and heritage magazines and writes and provides images for a range of countryside and outdoor titles. Roger is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute. He lives near Stratford upon Avon and lectures to groups such as the National Trust, RSPB, U3A, history societies, etc across the Midlands and further afield.

Canal Lock
Canal Walk

9 April 2020 Bees of Hardwick and Hardwick Hall - Gillian White
‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’. Bess of Hardwick is one of the most fascinating women of the sixteenth century and her most famous building, Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, survives as a fine example of Elizabethan creativity, magnificence and pride. During this study day we’ll examine Bess’s story, her rising social status, her association with Mary, Queen of Scots, her many husbands and her royal aspirations. We’ll also look at her earlier great house, Chatsworth, before concentrating on her surviving masterpiece, Hardwick Hall, its architecture, its interior and its luxurious furnishings.

Gillian White Specialises in the visual arts of late medieval and sixteenth-century England. She formerly worked for the National Trust as Curator and Collections Manager at Hardwick Hall, about which she then wrote her PhD at Warwick University. She now teaches part-time at Leicester University, predominantly in The Centre for the Study of the Country House, and is involved with the Continuing Education Department at Oxford University, as well as freelance lecturing.

Bess of Hardwick
Hardwick Hall

14 May 2020 Drawn from Life: The Extraordinary Art and Life of Augustus John - David Haycock
When Augustus John died in 1961 he was described in The New York Times as ‘the grand old man of British painting and one of the greatest in British history.’ He was only in his mid twenties when, in the early 1900s, he was widely acknowledged as one of the most talented and promising young British artists – a Welsh rival, perhaps, to Gauguin or Picasso. This lecture explores John’s extraordinary life, including his early achievements, his position as one of the most exciting and outrageous young British artists before the Great War, his slow decline after it, and his troubled status as ‘the last Bohemian’.

David Haycock read Modern History at the University of Oxford, and has an MA in the History of Art and a PhD in British History. He is the author of a number of books, including Paul Nash (2002), A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (2009) and Augustus John: Drawn from Life (2018); he has lectured widely at galleries and museums in the UK, including Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Watercolour Society and Pallant House. He was formerly a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, and at UCLA, and was Curator of Maritime and Imperial History at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer.
Augutus John Self Portrait

11 June 2020 The Genius of Beethoven - Peter Medhurst
Famously, every morning of his adult life, Beethoven measured out exactly 60 coffee beans for his breakfast. A man who is capable of such discipline over a cup of coffee, can surely apply that exactness elsewhere in his life; and in Beethoven’s case, it was applied to his compositions. In fact, the detail found in his music is often so subtle, that most people don’t even know it’s there. The lecture explores Beethoven’s genius as a writer of music, at the same time setting his extraordinary story against the backdrop of 19th century warfare, revolution and dramatic social changes. Beethoven will be 250 years old on 17 December 2020.

Peter Medhurst appears in the UK and abroad as a musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.


9 July 2020 A Portrait of Jewels - Andrew Prince
Andrew was inspired to produce this after visiting the National Portrait Gallery, and seeing all the Tudor and Stuart monarchs, in all their finery, and wondering where were and what are all the jewels that they wore.
Among the many jewels he traces, Andrew follows some pearls that belonged to Catherine De Medici then Mary Queen of Scotts, Queen Elizabeth Ist and now are worn by Oueen Elizabeth II. Also a spectacular diamond that belonged to King Charles Ist, later worn by Marie Antoinette, which was stolen then purchased by a Russian Aristocrat and later mounted in a tiara by Cartier for an American Heiress, when she became a British member of parliament! Jewel hunting has never been more fascinating.

Andrew Prince Andrew Prince has had a passion for the jewellery since he was a small child. The very first piece of jewellery he created was a ring made of copper wire pulled from the back of a television. He presented it to his grandmother (it turned her finger green and gave her a rash). He then created a necklace for his mother using beads taken off her wedding dress (she was not at all happy).
In 1980, when he was nine, Andrew's mother took him to the Princely Magnificence exhibition at the V&A, exhibiting Renaissance jewels dating from 1500 to 1630. It proved a revelation. Dazzled by the splendour and opulence of the jewels on show, Andrew decided then and there that creating jewellery was what he wanted to devote his life to. Andrew started work in London’s Bond Street, working for The Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris.He then joined the renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage who was to have an enormous influence on Andrew's sense of what was possible within the realm of jewellery design.
Andrew's taste for fine 'costume jewellery' can be traced back to an antique market, where he came across a late Victorian brooch set with what he initially thought were emeralds and diamonds. They were, in fact, crystal and green glass set in silver and gold. He realised that beautiful jewellery didn't require expensive stones, and that it was the elegance of the design and the quality of the workmanship that truly mattered. Private commissions then started to trickle and then flood in. In 2012, he was chosen by the creators of Downton Abbey to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series. The characters played by Maggie Smith, Shirley Maclaine, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery were all adorned with elegant tiaras, combs, earrings and necklaces designed and created by Andrew Prince.


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