Provisional lecture programme 2023

Our lectures take at 3 pm and 7 pm on the first Wednesday of each month, except January and August in the Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne.
Please arrive at the Hall to check in at least 15 minutes before the scheduled lecture time so that you and the check-in team can be seated before the doors are closed five minutes before the lecture. Members are asked to have their plastic membership cards ready to ease the check-in process.

We welcome visitors to our lectures in the Digby Hall. There is a Visitor Charge of £7. Online Visitor registration is available approximately 2 weeks before the meeting. 

While registration and payment online is preferred visitors to the Digby Hall can also register and pay by card (preferred) or cash at the door.  

1 February 2023

Linking China With Europe

Blue And White In The Middle East

James Allan

Granny may have had a blue-and-white tea-pot but where did the idea come from, and the technology?  The history of blue-and-white is fascinating.   It began in the 9th Century in Basra in Iraq, and was adopted by the Mongols, for whom it was made in Ching-te Chen in China in the 14th Century, and was re-adopted in the Middle East, where Chinese blue-and-white was widely collected and copied.   It became a major item of trade with the Portuguese in the 16th Century, and the Dutch in the 17th century: as a result the technology spread to Europe, where the ultimate expression of blue-and-white was to be found in the Delft factories.

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1 March 2023

Mad Men and Artists

How the Advertising Industry Exploited Fine Art

Tony Rawlins

Fine art has provided advertisers and their agencies with a great deal of material to use in their creative campaigns.    This lecture describes some of the processes by which these advertisements have been created and why the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo have been a particularly rich source. From the Renaissance through to the present day fine art continues to provide opportunities to enhance Brand imagery with admiration, humour, satire and irony.   In this lecture there will be a wide range of visuals and video to show examples of the original works, the creative process and the (not always entirely successful) advertisements that are the end result.

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5th April 2023

Post War Fashion Illustration And The Artists of Today

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Connie gray

As the world emerged from WWII and Christian Dior introduced his revolutionary ‘New Look’ in 1947, fashion illustration became pivotal to the success of a fashion industry that had struggled to survive the war years in Europe.   Drawn by the masters of fashion illustration, their art dominated the front covers and pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar with their gloriously chic interpretations of the latest looks from the haute couture houses of Paris and London.   Traditionally considered to be commercial art, this genre of art is now understood to be part of a lost school of Fine Art.   Discover in this lecture the most influential names in post war fashion illustration, their differing approaches to documenting fashion for the stylish reader and why these remarkable fashion artists were trendsetters of their time.

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3rd May 2023

Vaux Le Vicomte “Fit for a King”

The Inspiration Behind Versailles Palace: A Take of Misplaced Ambition, Jealousy and Betrayal

Carole petipher

French 17th century chateau design owes much to one man; the ambitious visionary Nicholas Fouquet who is still somewhat of an enigma today.  He seemed invincible but made one grave error of judgement which was to lead to his downfall.    He employed the country’s best talent of the day to commission a spectacular chateau for himself.   In doing so he was completely outshining the Sun King; Vaux le Vicomte presented a radical new look for the century whilst Versailles was nothing more than a humble hunting lodge at the time.   The story that ensues is legendary.   This lecture explores innovative garden design and architecture together with lavish interiors to tell the shocking story.

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6th June 2023

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Classical Music`s Greatest Revolutionary

Sandy Burnett

Born in Bonn in December 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven became one of the greatest and most disruptive figures in the history of classical music. This talk presents an overview of this brilliant, cantankerous, visionary and astonishingly original composer, someone who tore up the rule book of classical music; visual illustrations include a selection of contemporary portraits, while musical examples are drawn from his genre-busting piano sonatas, quartets and symphonies, and from the revolutionary opera Fidelio.   It reveals how Beethoven became a true Romantic artist or, as he preferred to describe himself, a “poet in sound”.

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5th July 2023

Klimt and the Viennese Secession

A Kiss For All The World

Douglas Skeggs

(Thinking of changing the lecture to Velazquez – ‘The Great Magician of Art’)

The fears and anxieties of Vienna in the final years before the outbreak of the Great War found expression in the writing of Freud, the music of Gustav Mahler and the haunting paintings of Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele.   Shimmering portraits flecked with gold; hypnotic landscapes of vibrant brushstrokes; erotic dreams of decadence and death all reveal a society in search of salvation at a time when mankind had lost faith in its future.   The lecture traces the course of this brief, often dark but always dazzlingly inventive period of art.

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6th September 2023

160 Years of the London Underground Design and Architecture

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Mark Ovenden

The talk attempts to create some graphic unity (even in the 1860s and 70s), expansion of the Underground and the need to create some cohesion between the different operating companies.  The lecture covers architecture, the Arts and Crafts movement, Edward Johnston’s typeface and the Streamline Modern/Art Deco movement etc up to the present.

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4th October 2023

From Errol Flynn to Bottles of Gin

Literary Portraits and their Afterlives

Annalie Talent

From Burns to Byron and from Jane Austin to the Brontes; this lecture will uncover the fascinating stories behind some literary portraits of the Romantic period.   The lecture will look at various ways in which Romantic writers have been depicted in art, and how these likenesses have been received, both during the writers’ lifetimes, and posthumously.   It will also explore the afterlives of literary portraits and their use in popular culture – from banknotes and fridge magnets, to tins of shortbread and bottles of gin.   How do writers’ portraits contribute to literary fame and celebrity?   Do these images affect our perception of their lives and work?   To what extent may portraits of writers be said to be fictions themselves?

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1st November 2023

Wells Cathedral

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Jonathan Foyle

Johnathan has yet to write the lecture but he is a presenter on TV of ‘Secrets of The Palaces’ and is a former Curator at Hampton Court.   He has done lectures on Canterbury and Lincoln Cathedrals and when we asked if he had one on Wells Cathedral he said no but would like to do one especially for us as he always wanted to do a lecture on Wells.

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6th December 2023

Bring An Object

Audience Participation Talk Based on Artifacts Brought in for the Talk with Some of My Own Objects Interspersed

Marc Allum

A popular format, this spontaneous talk uses objects brought in by the audience to form an instant “Antiques RoadShow” of history, anecdotes and audience involvement; also interspersed with artefacts from his own collections