From Downton to Gatsby: Jewellery and Fashion 1890 – 192
At 16, Andrew started working for Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris, who trained him to make and appreciate fine ‘costume jewellery’, where quality of design and craftsmanship matched the intrinsic value of the stones in the piece. Work for the V&A, and stars such as Michael Jackson and Shirley Bassey, led to a commission to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series of Downton Abbey.For Downton Abbey, Andrew produced many jewels for the main characters, which inspired him to create a talk based on Downton and the changing styles of the time portrayed.
Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case.Andrew will guide us through the period between 1890 and 1929, when the great fashion houses collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce works of art of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this he discusses the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and how they were worn with the sumptuous gowns.
To accompany his Study Days, he normally brings with him many of the pieces used in Downton, to allow participants to see them close up. Sadly, this cannot happen online!
17 February 2021 Simon Seligman
From Venice to Sheffield: John Ruskin’s Passion for Art, Craft and Social Justice
Simon studied art and architectural history at Warwick University, including a semester in Venice. From 1991 until 2010, worked at Chatsworth, latterly as Head of Communications. Has lectured about Chatsworth, the Devonshire Collection and associated topics, throughout the UK and on several US tours (including the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery of Art). Gave numerous public presentations and interviews with the late Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Alongside his lecturing, working part time for John Ruskin’s charity the Guild of St George, a trustee of three arts festivals, and a Life Coach in private practice.
Inspired by the bicentenary of the birth of John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) in 2019, this lecture celebrates the extraordinary life and work of this visionary Victorian. As writer, teacher, artist, collector, patron and critic, Ruskin was perhaps the most complete polymath of the 19th century. He left behind a dazzling range of writing and collections that continue to inspire and generate debate around the world. Perhaps most famous today as a champion of Turner and admirer of Venice, Ruskin’s impact ranged far and wide; his ideas inspired the Arts and Crafts Movement and the founding of the National Trust, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and the Labour Movement. George Eliot wrote ‘I venerate him as one of the great teachers of the day’, and he influenced the thinking of Tolstoy, Proust and Gandhi among others.
Alongside this international reach, Ruskin became deeply concerned by what he saw as the negative impacts of the industrialization of 19th century England, and as a teacher, thinker and philanthropist he set up projects that aspired to give the working man access to beauty, art, craft and the land. In 1871, he founded what became the Guild of St George, the charity for arts, crafts and the rural economy, and gave it a sizeable collection of art, books and minerals for public display and education in Sheffield. Today, cared for by Museums Sheffield, the collection continues to honour his legacy, sharing something of Ruskin’s encyclopedic European sensibility for the benefit of a 21st century city. This lecture spans Ruskin’s life and work from the timeless and global to the intimate and exquisite, to paint a portrait of a great life.
17 March 2021 Chris Aslan Alexander
A Carpet Ride to Khiva – exploring the Revival of the 15th-Century Timurid Carpet Designs from Persian Illuminated Manuscripts
Chris was born in Turkey (hence his middle name) and spent his childhood there and in war-torn Beirut. After school, Chris spent two years at sea before studying Media and journalism at Leicester University. He then moved to Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan, establishing a UNESCO workshop reviving fifteenth century carpet designs and embroideries, and becoming the largest non-government employer in town. After a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, he moved to the Pamirs in Tajikistan, training yak herders to comb their yaks for their cashmere-like down, spending three years there. Next came two years in Kyrgyzstan living in the world’s largest natural walnut forest and establishing a wood-carving workshop.
This is a narrative approach to the revival of 15th century carpets in Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan. Illuminations on vellum – containing the only surviving representations of textiles from this era – flourished, despite the Islamic prohibition on representative art – and are all we had left of Timurid Carpets until Chris Alexander’s workshop began to weave them to life again. The lecture will examine the traditional role of carpet weaving and embroidery in the social lives of Central Asian women and how social and political influences led to the decline of textile production. How do the constraints of gender-inequality, corruption and the sourcing of natural dyes from neighbouring Afghanistan continue to challenge attempts at reviving the rich textile heritage of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand?
21 April 2021 Andy McConnell
The Genius of René Lalique
Andy has dealt in antiques since adolescence, but served an apprenticeship in journalism. After working in music, film and television, he returned to writing in 2004 as the author of the acclaimed tome The Decanter, An Illustrated History of Glass from 1650. He followed this in 2006 with Miller’s’ 20th Century Glass. He writes regularly for journals as diverse as The Times and Glass Circle News and runs Britain’s largest antique and vintage glass gallery in Rye, Sussex. He is best known as the distinctly humorous glass specialist on BBC’s evergreen Antiques Roadshow.
René Lalique was the 20th century’s greatest glass designer/entrepeneur. Lalique’s extraordinary work was unrivalled, combining his unique visual sense with a perfect understanding of glassmaking technologies and a revolutionary approach to marketing. This talk is a visual feast. It covers Lalique’s early work in jewels and furniture before he dedicated the remainder of his life, ca 1905-45, to glass. His output spanned simple, pressed cosmetic pots through car mascots and stemware to the unique cire perdu [lost wax] vases that today can command tens and even millions of pounds.
19 May 2021 Lydia Bauman
Looking for Georgia: Lydia Bauman’s Travels through New Mexico in the Footsteps of Georgia O’Keeffe
Lydia was born in Poland. She studied for her BA in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (John Christie Scholarship and the Hatton Award), and an MA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, London, (19th-20th century art – Distinction for thesis on Matisse’s Illustrations to Poetry). She has lectured to diverse adult audiences, notably in London’s National Gallery and MFA Boston USA. Her book on Great Themes in Art is being considered for publication by Merrell Books for worldwide distribution.
Legendary American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986 ) lived in and painted the New Mexico desert over five decades, calling it ‘my backyard.’ In September 2017 I travelled in her footsteps to find the iconic landscape motifs O’Keeffe made her own.The art historian in me wanted to deepen my understanding of her work. The artist in me needed to challenge my own landscape painting practice. This lecture is an account of my unforgettable journey, my adventures, my insights and my artistic challenge.
16 June 2021 David Wright
A Brief History of Wine
David has been a wine retailer, importer and distributor for 30 years. In that time, he has publicly presented tastings and talks on wine to trade and private audiences. These have taken the form of wine ‘tastings’ or charity events where a particular subject is presented and wines tasted. He has developed a talk, A Brief Story of Wine, a great subject, and full of rich evidence, going back 7,000 years, in the form of paintings, decorated drinking vessels, buildings and literature that contribute to the story.
Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years, and the story tells of its origin and appearance in all societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role wine has played in these societies and how it became an important component of faith, well-being and festivity. From the kwevris of Georgia in 5,000 B.C., the symposia in ancient Greece, the thermopolia of Pompeii, the hospices of Europe, to the dining tables of fine society wine has been ever present. Drawings, paintings, engravings, buildings, pottery and wine labels themselves all contribute to the story.
15 September 2021 Julia Musgrave
Cézanne and Van Gogh: Death as a Career Move
Julia Musgrave got her first degree in Chemical Engineering and went on to become a Chartered Information Systems Engineer and IT project manager. In 2008 she decided that life was too short for just one career and decided to become an art historian.
She now has a Graduate Diploma in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art and an MLitt in ‘Art, Style and Design: Renaissance to Modernism, c.1450 – c.1930’ from the University of Glasgow. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. at the University of York, ‘The involvement of Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury Group in the development of the Contemporary Art Society from 1910 to 1937.’
She is a lecturer in Art History at the City Literary Institute (City Lit).
Van Gogh and Cézanne made little impact on the public mind during their lifetimes – the British art world remained in thrall to the academic art of the nineteenth century and the French and British Impressionists. Both were rebels with art as their cause – Van Gogh painted quickly, exploiting the power of vibrant colour to express his emotions. Cézanne’s analytical approach led him to ponder each and every brushstroke. Neither sold much in their lifetime – only their artist friends appreciated the changes they brought into being. This lecture looks at how the work of Van Gogh and Cézanne went from unsold to blockbuster in the early years of the 20th century because a few brave, but important art dealers and critics decided to sponsor them posthumously.
20 October 2021 David Rosier
Imperial Chinese Court Art and Portraiture – Emperors, Ancestors and Jesuits
A Chartered Insurer by profession and a Fellow of the Assurance Medical Society, with extensive international experience as an author and lecturer in Medical Risk Assessment. He has in excess of 25 years of working and living in Asia. Whilst living in Hong Kong (1991-2004) he assembled a collection of approximately 700, predominately Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Imperial and related textiles/costume accessories. Past Committee Member of the Hong Kong Textile Society and frequent speaker on Imperial Insignia and Badges of Rank.
This lecture explores the origins and evolution of the nature and function of paintings created under an Emperor’s patronage by artists of the Imperial School of Art.
Court art evolved separately from classical Chinese paintings and included portraiture plus scenes of court life and significant State Events. These were used as visual evidence of the political power of the Emperor and the splendor of his court.
The lecture concludes by considering the revolution in court art that occured in the 18th Century as Emperor Qianlong deployed Western artistic skills and techniques brought by Jesuits invited to the Forbidden City.
17 November 2021 Jacob Moss
The Treasures of the Fan Museum
Having completed a BA (hons) in Fashion at Reading School of Art, Jacob took up a position as an assistant for womenswear designer Donald Campbell. In 2010 he returned to education and obtained a postgraduate degree (Distinction) in Fashion Curation from the London College of Fashion. Shortly thereafter Jacob joined The Fan Museum, the UK’s only Museum dedicated to the history of fans and craft of fan making.
As the Museum’s Curator, he is responsible for co-organising its temporary exhibition programme and overseeing loans from the Museum’s extraordinary collections to organisations such as the Palace of Versailles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2017 he curated ‘Street Fans’, a pioneering project linking street art and fan making which drew record audiences to The Fan Museum. Looking forward to 2021, the year in which The Fan Museum celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, Jacob will curate a special exhibition of fans at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion and Film, Atlanta, Georgia.
Occupying a pair of early Georgian townhouses nestled in historic Greenwich, the story of how The Fan Museum came to fruition dovetails with the multifaceted history of the handheld fan. From an especially rare Elizabethan-period embroidered folding fan to contemporary examples decorated by street artists, discover some of the key objects within the Museum’s extraordinary collections which encompass more than 5,000 fans and related objects dating from the eleventh century to the present day and gathered from most parts of the world.