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Members' Lectures  March – December 2020

The lectures up until August are cancelled, updates will be posted on this website

New: Online Lectures via The Arts Society Connected

Members must  show their current, 2020  annual Membership Card and sign in.
Members can bring  a friend for a donation of £5.

Unless otherwise stated Lectures take place in the Kensington Library Lecture Hall. 
Entrance via  12 Phillimore Walk, W8,  which is also the entrance to the local Surgery.

Thur 26 March

Cecil Beaton   cancelled
Dr Benjamin Wild

Glittering cast of 1920s and 30s bohemians will be subject of  the National Portrait Gallery show 12th March – 17th June.


Thu 2 April

Osborne, Pinter & Co: Post-War British Theatre cancelled
Giles Ramsay
Giles Ramsay takes us on an exciting path through the artistic revolution which took place in British post-war theatre: from John Osborne’s  1956 “Look Back in Anger” through Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, Edward Bond and Tom Stoppard and on to the repercussions on contemporary  West End theatre.

Emlyn Williams, Elliot Mason and Angela Baddeley, in The Morning Star at Liverpool Royal Court in 1943 as part of an HM Tennent tour. Photo: Liverpool Royal Court Trust


Thu 23 April

Berthe Morisot: her Life and Her Career cancelled
Dr Caroline  Levisse
An insight into the revolutionary ideas of the artist Berth Morisot, a trailblazer of the Impressionist Movement whose work has been overshadowed by that of her male counterparts
This lecture gives an insight into Berthe Morisot’s revolutionary ideas, her delightful painting and her pioneering to gain acceptance into the established art world of 19th Century Paris.
During the 19th Century Paris saw a growing number of independent career women who became professional artists who were at the forefront of artistic innovation and Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) was spectacular amongst these.
From her first Impressionist paintings in the 1860’s and 1870’s to her bold late works, she worked with a passion and dedication that used to be socially accepted only when displayed by men.  She continuously pushed herself and adopted a bold style yet remaining attached to domestic subject matter and landscapes.  Her origins and training, her relation with Edouard and Eugene Manet,  as well as her place in the Impressionist group and on the art scene will be discussed in the lecture.  Her style and painting technique will also be considered.

Berthe Morisot by Manet.

Berthe Morisot:  The Cradle 1872


Thu 7 May

Riviera Paradise: Art, Design and Pleasure in the 1920’s cancelled
Mary Alexander
Since the 19th Century English high society had ‘wintered over’ on the Cote d’Azure, but always left by April.  In this lecture we will time travel to the new summer season of the 1920’s to meet such people as Cole Porter and Scott Fitzgerald and hear how the traditional boundaries were torn down by artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Cocteau and how Chanel merged with the worlds of fashion, theatre and interiors against the magical backdrop of the Riviera.




Thu 21 May

What have the Huguenots Ever Done for Us? Mass Migration and the Arts in Britain cancelled
Vivienne Lawes
The mass migration of the French Protestant Huguenots in the 16th and 17th centuries impacted  the arts, the military and finance sectors of the countries to which they fled after suffering Catholic persecution in their homeland. It is estimated that upwards of 50,000 people settled in the British Isles, and that perhaps one in six of the country’s current population descends from Huguenot lineage. This lecture focuses on three areas of the arts impacted by the migration: the baroque style of Versailles that arrived in London through the great Huguenot designer, Daniel Marot, who worked for William and Mary at Hampton Court; the growth of the silk weaving industry in Canterbury, Spitalfields and later Sudbury and Macclesfield; and on the silversmiths and ceramicists who ushered the French Rococo style into Britain. This is put into the context of how their work changed material culture and was absorbed into British national identity.



Thu 11 June

Tea, Opium and Hong Kong; The China Trade 1600-1900 cancelled
Patrick Connor
By 1750 tea was China’s principal export to Britain, in return Chinese traders wanted opium from the British owned poppy field of India:  a trade which culminated in the ‘Opium War’ of 1839-42 when Hong Kong was ceded to Britain.  Fine tea has long been prized in China: according to Lu Yu in c.780, it should ‘unfold like mist rising out of a ravine’. By 1750 tea was China’s principal export to Britain, valued as a remedy for indigestion, amnesia and excess of alcohol. But what would China accept in return? Only opium from the British-owned poppy fields of India found a ready market in China. Following the ‘Opium War’ of 1839-42, Hong Kong was ceded to Britain. Blending Chinese and Western elements, Hong Kong developed in dramatic fashion.  The story of Hong Kong is illustrated with vivid paintings by Chinese and Western artists.

A fort on the Canton River, 1840. This was one of China's most important trade waterways and linked Canton with Hong Kong


Thu 9 Jul

Why Roy Lichtenstein Matters cancelled
Dr Kate Aspinal
American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein has captivated the art world since his debut in the 1960s. His paintings, however, remain controversial. This  talk discusses why Lichtenstein’s works are more complex than they appear – a perspective that Kate has gained after half a decade of working for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and closely examining Lichtenstein’s paintings, sculptures, tapestries and drawings.


Thu 8 Oct

Up the Nile with Amelia: a Victorian Voyage
Clive Barham Carter
Writer, artist, musician collector - the story of Amelia Edwards who travelled the length of Egypt in 1873  and drew and recorded, her impressions of all she saw,  publishing   ‘A Thousand Miles up the Nile’ to great acclaim. From Dervish dancers in Cairo, to a midnight arrival at Abu Simbel, she carried her readers with her in engaging descriptions and evocative engravings. Using extracts from the book and her original watercolours, as well as illustrations by her contemporaries.  We will follow her on her remarkable journey. 
Of Interest:..  Opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza

The Sphinx before excavation with tribesmen, a tourist and camels and the pyramids of Kephren (left) and Cheops (right) beyond at Giza circa 1890

Tue 10 Nov
10.45am AGM

AGM followed by Pam Boas lecture
Sensation and Sensibility: Depictions of the Industrial Age by Joseph Wright of Derby
Justin Reay gives  glimpse into the social and economic upheavals which took place during the Industrial Revolution (c. 1760-1840) through art, individuals and events.  Using the works of Joseph Wright of Derby*, an admired portraitist who primarily portrayed inventors, intellectuals,  industrialists and  Tradesmen - and their sometimes unsavoury commercial methods -  we explore this exciting record of invention and progress.

* Joseph Wright of Derby’s work describes the social and economic world behind Turner’s revolutionary depictions of the modern world of the Industrial Revolution - forthcoming Tate exhibition ‘Turner and the Modern World ‘  28 October – 2 March 2021

D'Ewes Coke, His Wife Hannah and Daniel Parker Coke (1782) - Joseph Wright of Derby 

Joseph Wright of Derby 1734–1797   View of Vesuvius’ eruption from the bay of Naples.

Tue 8 Dec

The Inventors of Christmas
Alan Reid
Christmases of days gone by: the characters and personalities of the people who began those traditions and introduced them to this country.
Everyone knows the ingredients of a traditional Christmas: gathering round the Christmas tree, pulling crackers, eating Christmas pudding and mince pies.  Those last-minute cards sent to people you’ve not seen all year. These are the festive celebrations with which most of us grew up and they still hold a special magic as representing the timeless Christmases of days gone by. But where did they start? This lecture looks at the characters and personalities of the people who began those traditions or introduced them to this country.

Christmas card, probably Ernest Nister, 1890 – 1900


Members may like to join for lunch at Wholefoods, first floor restaurant, after our morning lectures.