Note: The Hall opens at 1.30pm and the lecture starts at 2.00 pm
If you would like to read about earlier speakers click here
Note: The October and April lecturers have been switched

MDFAS lectures for 2014/15

Tuesday 14th October

The Ballet Ruse:Chagall,Picasso, and Matisse

Theodora Clarke

Long regarded as the three titans of line, form and colour, Picasso (1881–1973), Chagall (1887-1985) and Matisse (1869-1954) shaped the history of modern art in the twentieth century with their explosive handling of paint, line and colour in the nightingaleproduction of masterworks of abstract modernism.  All three were master colourists and between them they developed some of the most significant advances in twentieth century art.

This lecture aims to introduce NADFAS members to their work in conjunction with Diaghilev and his internationally renowned ballet company the Ballets Russes. Diaghilev was a leading patron of the Russian avant-garde in the West who interacted with major artistic figures of the day. We will examine his use of the artist in ballet productions and thereby trace the Ballets Russes’ role in the history of modernism.

picassoParticular attention will be on the costumes and set designs by the three artists Chagall, Picasso and Matisse. Seminal productions covered will include The Nightingale (1920) and Parade (1917). The lecture will focus closely on the visual and moving image; we will look at costume and set designs, photographs, printed ephemera and ballet film footage.

The lecture will include a general introduction to key themes and artists of the early twentieth-century avant-garde and trace their artistic development through their involvement with the Ballets Russes. Themes of emigration, exchange and the creation of a Russian cultural identity in the West will also be examined.

Theodora Clarke is an art historian, critic and lecturer specialising in Russian art and European modernism. She studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Newcastle University, and lectures widely on twentieth century avant garde painting and sculpture including at the V&A, Tate Britain and the Courtauld Institute of Art. She has also worked at Christie's and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, currently edits the online magazine 'Russian Art and Culture' and founded 'Russian Art Week' in London.   For further information see www.theodoraclarke.co.uk

Tuesday 11th November

Henry Moore : England’s Greatest Sculptor

Eveline Eaton


Henry Moore’s (1898-1986) life and career spanned most of the twentieth century and his work is celebrated internationally.  This lecture will explain the reasons for Moore’s “infamous holes” and set his sculpture into the context of his time.  The British Museum and Picasso provided his early inspiration before Moore arrived – in both his drawings and his sculpture – at his own distinctive style with his key-theme of the human figure.

Evaline Eaton grew up in Berlin, Germany.  She worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency but it had always been her “dream” to study art-history.  The opportunity arose when she moved to England where she studied art-history in London, and obtained a BA Hons from the Courtauld Institute.  Since then she has taught at Surrey University and for NADFAS and is a tour-guide and a lecturer across the world.  In 2013 she was elected Chairman of The Dresden Trust, an organization helping with the rebuilding of Dresden.

Optional reading
Russell, J., 1973  Henry Moore , Pelican
Exhibition Catalogue Royal Academy London 1988

Tuesday 9th December

War Artists : Paul Nash, C R W Nevinson, and the Great War

David Boyd Haycock 

Paul Nash and C R W Nevinson were two of the most significant artists to paint the soldiers and battlefields of World War One.  Walter Sickert described Nevinson’s painting as La Mitrailleuse (‘The Machine Gun’, 1916, Tate Britain) as probably ‘the most authoritative and concentrated utterance on war in the history of painting’.  Another contemporary wrote that Nash’s shattered landscapes seemed to have been ‘torn from the sulphurous rim of the inferno itself.’ 

This lecture explores the artistic development of both men, and their distinct but related responses to representing an extraordinary, horrific and very modern war in paint.

David Boyd 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) and A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (2009)., He has lectured widely at galleries and museums in the UK including Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery. 
For further information : www.davidboydhaycock.co.uk

Tuesday 13th January

But ….. is it art?

Lynne Gibson  

If this question gives you food for thought you have plenty in common with artists, thinkers and educators, not just in our present time but throughout Western Art History.
Plato was one of the first to agonise over the question!
The question can seem particularly pressing now that anything, and everything, seems to go!  We agree that a Raphael Madonna is Art, but argue about Tracy Emin’s My Bed.  Can they both be Art, and, if so, what do they have in common?  Is My Bed Conceptual Art or just a ‘con’?
Can we agree on a definition of Art, or are we at the mercy of Nicholas Penny, Nick Serota and Charles Saatchi?  Join me to shake up some preconceptions and face up to some prejudices; to ask: But …. is it Art?

Lynne Gibson joins us again, having given us the lecture The Seduction of Art on 14th February in our inaugural year.  She is a freelance lecturer and artist.  She specializes in Critical Studies in Art (Understanding Art) and practical Drawing.  For many years she has lectured for Sussex and Bristol universities, including Lifelong Learning courses and Summer Schools.  She also runs courses at Adult Residential Colleges, provides talks and consultancy work for the National Trust, Bristol and Whitworth Art Galleries and various art societies.  Her own artwork is in private and public collections, has been exhibited widely and used in a range of publications. 
For further information : www.lynnegibson.net.

Optional reading
Bell, J What is Painting? Representation and Modern Art, Thames and Hudson 1999
Collings, M, This is Modern Art, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1999 (paperback ed. Seven Dials 2000)
Davies, S, Definitions of Art, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London 1991
Freeland, Cynthia,  But is it art?  An Introduction to Art Theory,  Oxford University Press 2001
Harrison, C and Wood, P (eds),  Art In Theory, 1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas,  Blackwell 1992
Tolstoy, Leo,  What is art?, tran, Aylmer Maude,  Oxford University Press 1930
Warburton, N,  The Art Question, Routledge 2003

Tuesday 10th February

How to date an old church : Medieval architectural style

Jon Cannon

 Do you know your Early English from your Decorated?  Can you distinguish your crocket from your cusp? This lecture takes the audience through the evolving story of medieval architectural style, outlining the defining features that can be used to distinguish one style from another and thus to date the separate parts of medieval churches.

Jon Cannon wrote Cathedral: the Great English Cathedrals and the world that made them (2007), and presented BBC television’s How to Build a Cathedral.  He also wrote The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship around the world which was published in 2013.  Other publications include numerous works for English Heritage and major academic volumes on West Country churches.  Part time lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Bristol; holds a degree in the History of Art from the University of Sussex; gives lectures and study days and leads tours on medieval church art, architecture and history. He is also lay canon (Keeper of the Fabric) at Bristol Cathedral; Council Member, British Archaeological Association.  Further information can be found on his website: http://joncannon.wordpress.com.

Tuesday 10th March

Royal Jewels from Tsars to Maharajahs

Joanna Hardy

Kings and Queens, Tsars, Emperors and Maharajahs have all displayed their status, power and wealth through the ownership and display of extraordinary gemstones and incredible jewellery. During the Diamond Jubilee we observed Queen Elizabeth wearing some of her favorite and most significant jewels which have been passed down through Royal generations.
We will journey through time to discover how diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds have captivated and inspired many explorers to travel the four corners of the world to seek out these precious gems.  
Royal dynasties throughout history have desired these gemstones because manybelieved them to have divine or magical powers. Elizabeth I, famous for her passion for pearls, wore them to symbolize her purity and wealth, while the Maharajas of India would not go into battle without their horse being protected with a cloth made of pearls. From Catherine the Great to Russia's master goldsmith, Carl Faberge, we will conclude with one of the world's most famous royal collections that are kept firmly under lock and key at The Tower of London.

Maharajah of Kapurthala, Jagatjit Singh 1927 wearing the Cartier headdress. 

Joanna Hardy trained as a goldsmith before working for De Beers valuing, grading and trading rough diamonds.  She then worked as a senior jewellery specialist for Philips Auctioneers and for Sotheby’s London.   She is now an independent jewellery consultant, author, curator and lecturer.  She is also a Liveryman of the Goldsmith’s Company, a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  For further information : www.joannahardy.com



Tuesday 14th April

In the Wake of Handel: the impact of Handel on 300 years of British Culture

Peter Medhurst

Despite his German birth, and his Italian musical training, Handel remains one of the most important composers that England ever nurtured.  Not only did his music have direct influence on his musical contemporaries, but his larger-than-life personality had a profound effect on the literary, visual and decorative arts as well – both in his lifetime and after his death, in 1759. 

By exploring the works of the French sculptor Roubiliac, the paintings of Hudson and Denner, the Vauxhall  Pleasure Gardens, the novels of Samuel Butler, the Crystal Palace, the chimes of Westminster, as well as compositions by Sullivan and Tippett, the lecture assesses the cultural influences Handel had on a nation from whom I have receiv’d so generous a protection.

Peter Medhurst studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.  He appears in the UK and abroad as a musician and scholar, giving recitals and lectures on music and the arts.   For further information : www.petermedhurst.com
Optional reading
Christopher Hogwood,  Handel,  Thames & Hudson
Jonathan Keates,  Handel – the man & his music,  Gollancz Paperbacks



Tuesday 12th May

Istanbul: Life and Work in the Ottoman Capital

Rachel Ward

In 1453 Mehmed the Conqueror entered Byzantine Constantinople, renamed it Istanbul, and made the city his new capital. It was to remain the capital of the Ottoman empire until the fall of the dynasty in 1922.

The lecture will focus on the interaction between life and art in Ottoman Istanbul: Court life at the Topkapi Palace, home to the sultans and their families and the setting for fabulous ceremonies, with rooms still full of silk textiles, goldsmiths work  and other treasures. Religious life in the mosques whose domes and minarets give Istanbul its distinctive silhouette. Commercial life in the markets which brought wealth and foreigners and exotic materials to the city. Artistic life in the ateliers, scriptoria and factories where the craftsmen balanced commissions for the court with those for ordinary citizens of the city. 

Rachel Ward is an independent scholar currently working on a Catalogue of the Arab and Ottoman Metalwork in the British Museum and on the medieval glass finds from the Aleppo citadel in Syria. Her publications include Süleyman the Magnificent, (co-author with J.M. Rogers), London, 1988; Islamic Metalwork, London, 1993; Gilded and Enamelled Glass from the Middle East, (editor), London, 1998; Court and Craft, a Masterpiece from Northern Iraq, London, 2014.  She was also curator (Middle Eastern section) at the British Museum 1983-2000 and Vice President of the Royal Asiatic Society 2005-2008.

Optional reading
J. M. Rogers and R. M. Ward, Süleyman the Magnificent, (exhibition catalogue),  British Museum Press,  London, 1988.
Philip Mansel, Constantinople, City of the Worlds Desire 1453-1924 London, 1995. Godfrey Goodwin, Topkapi Palace, an illustrated guide to its life and personalities, London, 1999
Godfrey Goodwin, A History of Ottoman Architecture, London, 1971
G. Necipoglu, Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: The Topkapi Palace in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Cambridge MA, 1991
Y. Petsopoulos Tulips, Arabesques and Turbans, Decorative Arts from the Ottoman Empire, London, 1982
N. Atasoy and J. Raby, Iznik, The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London and Istanbul, 1989.
John Carswell, Iznik Pottery, London, British Museum Press, 1998.
David Roxburgh, Turks, Royal Academy exhibition catalogue, London 2005.

Tuesday 9th June

Wallis Simpson: That Woman or a Duchess of Style

Anne Sebba

Wallis Simpson was born in Baltimore, in 1896, into relative obscurity.  Why she was so demonised by the British establishment and wider commonwealth, accused of being a spy, prostitute or Nazi sympathiser.  How, after she married the ex-King and became Duchess of Windsor, did she turn her exile and the hatred into a platform from which to launch herself as one of the world’s best dressed woman, who entertained in the most elegant homes fit for a King – or an ex-King.
Was she simply a clothes horse for dress designers and jewellery makers or did she have a heart that has never been fairly understood? I will include many pictures in this lecture of Wallis and the clothes and jewellery she had made especially for her as well as the homes she lived in.  But I will also tell the story of how, in the context of the 1930’s, this woman with three husbands was unacceptable as Queen of England and of the Empire. I will explore who this woman was and the power she had over King Edward Vlll.  Seventy five years since the Abdication in 1936, it is time to reassess That Woman.  

Anne Sebba
is a biographer, lecturer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She is the Chair of Britain’s 9,000 strong Society of Authors.She has written nine critically acclaimed books of non fiction, mostly about iconic women who enjoyed using power and influence in different ways such as Enid Bagnold, Mother Teresa, Laura Ashley and Jennie Churchill.  Her biography, THAT WOMAN : The life of Wallis Simpson, quickly became a bestseller in Britain, Australia and the USA.  Anne’s discovery of a new archive of letters and diaries shedding dramatic new light on this important story was the subject of a Chanel 4 TV documentary, The Secret Letters.
For further information see : www.annesebba.com

Tuesday 14th July

A Likeness of Paradise: Stained Glass, the Sublime Art

Dick Bolton

This talk explores the development of window glass since Saxon times, concentrating on the work of the artist-craftsman.  It looks at the jewel like quality of early coloured glass and the revolution in the glass painter’s art with the introduction of stained and later enameled windows.  Changes in worship, and influence from abroad affected fashion and design.  Destruction and lack of interest took its toll in the 17th century but there was renewed interest in the medium in the 19th century, which led to its wide spread use once again.  The Arts & Crafts Movement then gained momentum and led the way to a variety of brilliant styles in the last century and today.

The story ends with an appreciation of the skills of today’s conservators, so that our unique collection of windows in cathedrals, churches and public buildings can be enjoyed by future generations.

Dick Bolton describes himself as a ‘Man of Kent’.  He is a Canterbury Cathedral Guide, registered Blue Badge Guide for SE England and the City of Canterbury and is accredited to Rochester Cathedral and York Minster.  He is also a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass and member of the British Brick Society.