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

MDFAS lectures for 2014/15

Tuesday 14th October

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 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.

Eveline 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


Tuesday 14th April

The Ballet Ruse:Chagall,Picasso, and Matisse

Theodora Clarke


Tuesday 12th May

Istanbul: Life and Work in the Ottoman Capital

Rachel Ward

Tuesday 9th June

Wallis Simpson: That Woman or a Duchess of Style

Anne Sebba

Tuesday 14th July

A Likeness of Paradise: Stained Glass, the Sublime Art

Dick Bolton