Past Lectures & visits 22 March Maggie Campbell Pederson Ivory and Tortoiseshell – Past Users and present bans Ivory and tortoiseshell are two  organic gem materials that have often been used together, and that today share very similar trade bans. This talk will look at the use of the two materials through the ages, the animals from which they are derived, some of the imitations that have been used, and how to recognise fakes. The talk is richly illustrated. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory’ ... part of Zimbabwe’s ivory stockpile. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP Guardian article on recent ban changes WWF article on ivory ban Telegraph article on Ivory sales Study Day to be held on Thursday 15 March 2018 Victoria Hall in Oakham, cost is £25 per person and members and guests are welcome. ‘Iran – Land of Great Kings, Shahs and Ayatollahs’ The study day will look at contemporary Iran following the revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as the ancient palace of Persepolis, the brilliant architecture of the country’s mosques and palaces, and the delightful gardens of which the Iranians are so proud. John Osborne, an Arts Society lecturer who know the country well, will be our guide.  He has lived and worked in Iran, speaks Farsi and has led travel groups there for many years.  There can be few people better able to reveal the secrets of this fascinating country. Bas reliefs of Persian guards, Winter Palace of Darius (Tashara) Persepolis 22 February Jon Cannon Sacred Art of Ancient China Join me to tour the religious art and architecture of China. We will see examples of work of the great faiths that dominated the history of that great civilisation, including the ancient, indigenous Confucian and Taoist traditions; the image-rich Mahayana version of Buddhism that has been hugely influential in the country for two thousand years; and the distinctive Chinese responses to Christianity and Islam.   At the heart of this rich, and often precociously humanistic culture lay a series of concerns of truly ancient origin: the maintenance of harmonious relations between men and Heaven; respect for one’s family, including the spirits of one's ancestors; and the role of the Emperor as the fulcrum of life in the ‘central Kingdom’, a role as much spiritual as secular.   During the lecture we will visit mountain-tops decorated with Confucian calligraphy; some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world — the Buddhist temples of Wutaishan, built in the eighth century and with their decoration and sculpture intact — and Mandarin’s gardens, their design infused with symbolism from Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian traditions. These between them comprised the ‘three teachings’ (San Jiao) encouraged by the imperial Chinese state.   Even today, Beijing’s layout is  recognisably that of a sacred city designed around the palace and sacrificial altars associated with the imperial cult: we will see what remains of these, and ponder the role of religion in China’s modern, secular and rapidly developing state. By the end of the hour, you will have a clear and vivid idea of the enormous significance of religion for the Chinese arts. Beijing travel guide 25 January Anthony Penrose The Boy Who Bit Picasso As a child Antony Penrose first met Picasso when he visited the Penrose family home of Farley Farm, in Chiddingly, East Sussex in 1950. They became instant friends and invented their own boisterous game of pretend bull fights. In the excitement Antony bit Picasso, and Picasso bit him right back, but it did not spoil the friendship and during the many visits he made to Picasso’s homes in France Antony felt very much at home. He loved the menagerie of pets – the live ones and those Picasso made as sculptures that seemed alive. Antony’s parents were Roland Penrose, the curator and biographer of Picasso, and Lee Miller, the photographer. Picasso painted her portrait six times and she photographed him more than 1,000 times and her images illustrate Antony’s entertaining and amusing account of life around Picasso. This lecture also covers the process of writing and the design of the book which has been very favourably reviewed and is a best seller. Link to the Penrose Farley Farm web site Guardian article on Antony Penrose 23 November 2017 Hidden Treasures: The Fine Art of Book Illustration James Russell By their very nature, book illustrations tend to be hidden, and the work of even well-known artists is rarely seen. In a broad survey we enter the secret world of the illustrated book, focusing mainly on popular titles such as Alice in Wonderland and Gilbert White's Selborne - showing the diverse ways in which artists have responded to the text. We look at wood engravings, line drawings, pochoir illustrations and lithographs by a diverse range of artists, including John Tenniel and EH Shepard, Barnett Freedman and Eric Ravilious, Kathleen Hale and Quentin Blake. A visual and literary treat. Click here for background on John Tenniel 26 October 2017 AGM A Flawed Genius? The life and art of Amadeo Modigliani  Frank Woodgate Opinions are divided about what would have become of Amadeo Modigliani, had he not died of tuberculosis (and excess) at the age of only 35. Some critics claim that he would have gone on to be a modern master, while many feel that he had already produced his greatest and most powerful works of both painting and sculpture before his untimely death. From an Italian/Jewish background (he was born in Livorno in 1884), he settled in Paris in 1906 and, while outside the prevailing movements (Fauvism, Cubism and Futurism), was friendly with other artists such as Picasso and absorbed influences from such varied sources as Botticelli and African tribal carving. Double portrait of Jacques Lipchitz and his wife, Berthe, 1916 Click here for background on Modigliani 28 September 2017 Twentieth Century Sculpture  Linda Smith This lecture traces the development of sculpture in the twentieth century, from large lumps of marble at one end to unmade beds at the other, and explains how and why this trajectory happened. Key developments like Cubism, Primitivism, Surrealism and Pop Art all affected sculpture, and are carefully explained with a wide range of illustrations. Tracy Emin- My Bed The Bodleian Library, Oxford Visit on Tuesday 19 September 2017 Despite motorway closures and huge traffic jams, forward planning ensured we arrived at the Bodleian Library for our prebooked tour at one minute before it was due to start.  We missed our coffee break, but the very informative and interesting tour and atmosphere of the Library and its surrounds made up for this.  A very pleasant lunch and time to visit exhibitions and walk around a beautifully sunny Oxford, alongside the film crews and cast of either Lewis or Endeavour contributed to a lovely afternoon before again, an elongated drive back.  Thank you to Gay and Sue for the extremely well organised day and to our bus driver who avoided the M1 !   Foreigners in London 1520 - 1677: Artists who changed the course of British Art Leslie Primo Thursday 24 August 2017 This lecture will be held at Greetham Valley Golf Club and will be followed by the Summer Lunch. 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, van Honthorst, Gheeraerts the younger, the Horenbouts, Isaac Oliver, van Somer, van Dyck, Lely, and Rubens. This lecture will consider how these artists influenced the British School of painting and assess their legacy. A visit was made in June 2017 to the Hokusai - Beyond the Great Wave Exhibition at the British Museum.
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