Our Lectures


  • October - Eric Ravilious : Art & Life
  • November - Germany's Culture of Atonement
  • December - The American Glass Movement
  • 2022

  • January - The Market For Antiques
  • February - Every Picture Tells A Story
  • March - The Fabergé Connection
  • April - Nicholas Poussin: Rebel Philosopher
  • May - Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Treasures
  • June - The Queens Paintings on Public Display
  • July - The Artistic Legacy of the Carrot !
  • Our Visits

    Our Study Day


  • March - The Queen's Platinum Jubilee
  • Wessex Area Study Days


  • October - The Splendour of China
  • October - Russian Culture: Peter the Great to Stalin
  • 2022

  • April - Tutankhamun: tomb, treasures, family
  • Wessex Area Lectures


  • October - Virtual Tour of the Colosseum
  • December - Virtual Tour of St Peter's Basilica
  • Other Events


  • August - Wiltshire Artists Exhibition
  • September - Devizes Food Festival - Food in Art
  • December - Christmas Lunch 2021

Events in 2021 / 2022

Here is the programme of events for our next year, from October 2021 to July 2022. Click on a title to see the details. We very much hope that from October 2021 the lectures will be live in the Town Hall as well as concurrently on Zoom.

This page also includes events presented by the Wessex Area and invitations from other societies in the Wessex area.

Go to the Our Events > Other Sources page for online lectures and virtual tours that are available from other sources.

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Our Lectures 2021 / 2022

Wednesday 20th Oct 2021Eric Ravilious : Art & Life
by James Russell

To coincide with the exhibition “Eric Ravilious – Downland Man” at the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes (25 Sep 2021 - 30 Jan 2022).

Eric Ravilious was only 39 when he died on active service as a war artist in 1942, yet he had already achieved amazing things. A brilliant wood engraver and designer, he is best known today for his haunting watercolours in which lighthouses, white horses, empty rooms and downland paths become marvels. Over the past decade James Russell has explored many of these paintings in depth, teasing out stories and characters hidden in the wings. This entertaining illustrated talk illuminates the life and work of a playful, enigmatic artist, with plentiful examples of his work in watercolour, wood engraving, lithography and ceramics. The paintings are a delight, the Ravilious story funny, sad and full of surprises.

Having studied History at Pembroke College, Cambridge, James Russell enjoyed a lengthy stint selling contemporary paintings and sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an experience that inspired him to begin writing and lecturing on 20th century art. Of his dozen or so books, one was a Sunday Times book of the year, while his writing has been described by critics as 'insightful', 'informative' and 'enjoyably readable'. James has curated major exhibitions at Dulwich Picture Gallery and for museums around the country. He bases his lectures on wide-ranging original research into the subjects that fascinate him.

Wednesday 17th Nov 2021Germany’s Post-WW2 Culture of Apology and Atonement
by Angela Findlay

In the context of our World War centenaries, anniversaries and the current debate about statues and monuments, the subject of this talk is hugely relevant. In this country, relatively little is known about Germany’s complex post-WW2 process of ‘coming to terms with’ the atrocities of its recent past and the counter memorial movement that started in the eighties and continues to this day.

Germany’s very specific situation rendered all traditional concepts of monuments and memorials irrelevant and inappropriate. Instead of commemorating their own losses, German artists created art forms that responded to questions of apology and atonement: How does a nation of former persecutors mourn its victims? How do you remember what you would rather forget?

Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England. Her time ‘behind bars’ and later as Arts Coordinator of the London-based Koestler Arts, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation.

In the past decade Angela’s Anglo-German roots led her to research Germany’s largely unknown post-WW2 process of remembrance and the extraordinary culture of 'counter memorials' and site-specific artworks that emerged to express national shame and apology. With the current debates on statues and monuments, the ways Germany has tried to deal with its dark past is more relevant and inspiring than ever.  

Wednesday 15th Dec 2021Dale Chihuly & The American Glass Movement
by Scott Anderson

American pioneers in glass technology from the late 19th century onwards provided much of the innovative tradition that was to bring about the birth of the Studio Glass Movement in the USA in the 1960s. Glass manufacturers such as Louis Tiffany developed new blown shapes and technologies to create new surface effects and an appearance of movement in glass that was to be continued in the work of studio glass makers such as Dale Chihuly, who became one of the foremost American studio glass artists and popularised the medium throughout the world.

Dale Chihuly is still the name that comes to mind in the context of studio glass making and in this talk his work is considered in some detail in terms of individual works and large scale exhibitions such as that in Kew Gardens, England, in 2005.

Scott Anderson trained as an archaeologist at Leicester University and was a professional archaeologist for ten years before his interests shifted to the world of art, antiques and auctioneering. In 1994 he joined the team at Southampton Solent University lecturing on the only BA(Hons) degree course of its kind to look at the commercial art world. Now, as a Senior Lecturer, he teaches courses on the history and theory of interior design and visual culture. He has lectured to many adult audiences for a variety of University extra-mural departments and the WEA. For the last few years he has also worked as a consultant valuer for the BBC television programme Flog It.

Wednesday 19th Jan 2022The Market For Antiques – Why No-one Wants To Buy Your Wardrobe
by Matthew Denney

Markets come and go, rise and fall and sometimes disappear altogether. Today we are in a world of ‘downsizing’, ‘decluttering’ and minimalism, gone are the days of high demand and eager buyers furnishing with antiques and dealers filling container load after container load of furniture to send around the world.  This talk will examine the changes in the market in recent times and explain why ‘no one wants to buy your wardrobe’. Why are our ancestors’ prized possessions, items that they cherished and valued, now so unloved by this generation?

Matthew Denney has worked with the fine and decorative arts all his life.He has worked as an auctioneer and valuer and is currently a senior valuer and head of department at Lawrences in Crewkerne, one of the country's leading provincial auctioneers.
He gives talks to all sorts of different groups on the fine and decorative arts, his interests in the various Great Exhibitions since 1851 and Post War architecture and design are amongst his current favourite talks.

Wednesday 16th Feb 2022Every Picture Tells a Story
by Grant Ford

Grant Ford will discuss some of the great pictures he has handled during his extensive career in the art world, from incredible masterpieces by the Pre-Raphaelites to Lord Leighton and Modern British works. Why did certain works fall out of fashion at a certain point in time, only to spring back and set new world records many decades later? He will explain changes in the market place and his experiences with sellers and buyers. This talk will be focused on the international art market, but will specifically look at some of the great British artists and their work within the global art market arena.

Grant is an Independent Fine Art Advisor, Private Curator and Representative, based in Marlborough. Grant is a senior paintings specialist for BBC's Antique Roadshow in the UK and is particularly well known in the field of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelitism, Irish, Scottish, Sporting and European Art. He spent 30 years at Sotheby’s and now represents a number of prestigious family collections.

Wednesday 16th Mar 2022The Fabergé Connection Between Russia & England
by Cynthia Coleman Sparke

2021 promises to delight enthusiasts with an exhibition at the V&A dedicated to the legendary St Petersburg jewellers. Our lecture about the House of Fabergé’s British enterprise will dovetail with objects on view at the 'Fabergé in London' exhibition at the V&A Museum from November 2021 to May 2022. 

The firm’s Russian sales ledgers disappeared but those of the London branch, opened in 1903, document royal patronage and a ‘Who’s Who’ guide of Edwardian prosperity.   American heiresses and other prominent visitors flocked to the London salerooms while the branch supplied periodic trunk shows to delight buyers on the Continent and as far as Siam and India.  The role of the London business cannot be overstated and provides us, today, with insight into a society that was forever altered by the world events that followed.

Cynthia Coleman Sparke is an independent researcher, author and lecturer on Russian pre-Revolutionary works of art, consulting regularly on Fabergé for auction houses. Having grown up on and off in Moscow within a family of Russian art collectors, she was destined for a career in Russian art. Previously, Cynthia ran the Russian Department for Christie’s in New York and worked for Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens in Washington DC. This was followed by a restoration project at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Nicholas II’s last residence.

Wednesday 20th Apr 2022Nicholas Poussin : Rebel Philosopher
by Richard Whincop

The work of Nicholas Poussin became the cornerstone of the French classical tradition. This lecture will look at the ways in which Poussin was in fact highly original, with early works that were dramatic and highly idiosyncratic. It will look at some of the ideas underlying his work, examining how it compares with that of his contemporaries, and how his mature works reflect a new and coherent philosophy of art.

It will consider the fact that Poussin was a thoughtful, private person who resisted attempts by the French court to lure him into the art establishment – and how his work would one day influence radical, anti-establishment artists such as Cézanne and Picasso.

Richard Whincop is a professional artist who graduated in English and Art History from York University in 1986. From 1988-1994 he lectured at the adult education departments of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities, and then went on to become a full-time figurative artist, executing large-scale public commissions, and exhibiting widely throughout the UK. He now lives and works in Chichester, West Sussex.

Wednesday 18th May 2022“Wonderful Things!” Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Treasures
by Lucia Gahlin

This lecture celebrates the discovery 100 years ago of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter in 1922, arguably the greatest archaeological discovery of the twentieth century. The name of this boy-king conjures up wonderful imagery and mysterious tales of the pharaohs. This lecture explores this unusual tomb and its iconic treasures; examines the design and decoration of the most famous tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It discusses Carter’s discovery of the tomb, and explores what happened to the incredible wealth of funerary goods found inside, looking at these fabulous treasures, from Tutankhamun’s golden shrines to his ornate board games.

Lucia Gahlin is an Egyptologist who works in museums and on excavations in Egypt, but mostly lectures. Honorary Research Associate at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology. She has taught Egyptology at several UK universities, works at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London and leads tours to Egypt. 

Wednesday 15th Jun 2022Thank You, Your Majesty : The Queen’s Paintings on Public Display
by Linda Collins

When Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1953, she inherited a collection of paintings that rival any collection in the world. The Royal Collection of Art contains paintings from the Early Renaissance period to the Victorian era and beyond and is an important reflection of both the taste of the Monarch and of the social and economic thinking of the country at the time. There are fewer than 2,700 pictures hanging in the National Gallery in London – there are more than 7,000 paintings in the Royal Collection. 

Linda Collins is a lecturer on Historic Royal Palaces & The National Trust. She is a freelance lecturer at Tate Modern & National Gallery, London. Her publications include The Tudors: The Crown, The Dynasty, the Golden Age.

Wednesday 20th Jul 2022A Homage to the Carrot! The Artistic Legacy of a Humble Vegetable.
by Anne Haworth

This lecture topic is light and humorous in spirit but is serious at its heart. It is dedicated to an everyday root vegetable whose ancestors and cousins probably grew wild in Persia and Central Asia and travelled westwards - alongside more durable and costly commodities - on The Silk Road.

Carrots feature as meticulously painted meditations on nature in Spanish still-life paintings. A fanciful legend maintains that 17th Century Dutch horticulturalists bred sweet varieties of orange carrots in support of the ruling House of Orange. This humble and ephemeral vegetable emerges from the shadows, gleaming in brilliant colour as a symbol of abundance, quiet domesticity or as a code for seduction.

Anne Haworth became a senior specialist in ceramics at the head offices in London of Bonhams and Christie's. From 1995 to 2002, she was resident in Shanghai, China and gave lectures on the history of the China trade and European Chinoiserie to the international community of diplomats and expatriates in Shanghai and Beijing. On returning to London in 2002, she catalogued Chinese ceramics at Kensington Palace. She is a lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Queen’s Gallery.

Our Visits 2021 / 2022

Our Study Day 2021 / 2022

Wednesday 23rd Mar 2022The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Study Day
by Jonathan Foyle

Three lectures to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Study Day will be held on Wednesday 23rd March 2022 in The Devizes Conservative Club, with the first lecture starting at 10 am.

Click here for the Details and Booking Form. To reserve a place, print the form, fill it in and send to Alice Boyd as detailed on the form. Send payment preferably by BACS, or by cheque, as detailed on the form.

The lectures comprise :

Creating Windsor Castle : A Step-by-Step Guide.
Windsor is amongst the most prominent of national landmarks, but it presents a complicated picture. Jonathan breaks down the evolution of the castle into seminal moments, explaining the context and purpose of each change from William the Conqueror's mound to the nineteenth-century transformation as a picturesque composition under George IV - with a special insight into its current care as a conclusion.

Tudor Hampton Court.
Hampton Court is one of our most familiar historic sites, routinely associated with Henry VIII. But what were its origins? What does Cardinal Wolsey's magnificent building work tell us about England's relationship with Europe at the turn of the sixteenth century, and how did Henry obscure Wolsey's name and reputation? Finally, what do the diaries of visitors to the palace tell us about the palace Elizabeth I inherited?

Henry VII and Elizabeth Of York’s Marriage Bed.
In 2010, the elaborately carved, incomplete oak bed frame was removed from the honeymoon suite of a hotel in Chester, to be auctioned as a Victorian relic. Jonathan has spent six years studying and attributing it, now featured in press around the world. Featuring five royal arms, six single roses, and deeply esoteric symbols of fertility, it turns out to be covered in medieval paintwork, and its proportions respect the mural of the lost Painted Chamber of royal Westminster Palace abandoned in 1512. Scientific analyses, documentation and art history agree to demonstrate it is an astonishing national treasure: the marriage bed of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, made by 18 January 1486.

Click here for the Details and Booking Form.To reserve a place, print the form, fill it in and send to Alice Boyd along with payment, as detailed on the form.

Dr Jonathan Foyle was Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain for eight years, and a Curator of Historic Buildings at Hampton Court for as long, during which time he took his 2002 PhD on reconstructing Wolsey's palace. He is a frequent feature writer for the Financial Times on issues of architecture, history and craft, and is approaching his fourth published cathedral monograph: Canterbury, Lincoln, Lichfield - now Peterborough. A presenter of numerous television series including BBC4's Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer? and BBC2's Climbing Great Buildings, he lectures frequently on a range of art-historical topics. He brings teaching experience as a former Course Director for the University of Cambridge Summer Schools and is an Honorary Professor in Conservation at the University of Lincoln.

Wessex Area Study Days 2021 / 2022

Tuesday 12th Oct 2021The Splendour of China

This South Wessex Area Study Course will be held in Cerne Abbas village hall, (postcode DT2 7GY) circumstances permitting, and also on Zoom.

The course comprises 5 study days: 12 October 2021, 16 Nov 2021, 18 Jan 2022, 15 Feb 2022, 15 March 2022. See the poster below for details.

In the venue: book all five days (£140) or a specific day (£30)
Online: book all five days (£75) or a specific day (£15)

For more information and a booking form email Maggie at wessexcoursessouth@gmail.com

Wednesday 27th Oct 2021Russian Culture from Peter the Great to Stalin

Six days of lectures exploring art and culture in times of dramatic change.

Day 1 Douglas Skeggs Wednesday, 27th October 2021
Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, The Romanovs

Day 2 Rosamund Bartlett Wednesday, 10th November 2021
Art and Literature: Tolstoy and Chekhov, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

Day 3 Rosamund Bartlett Wednesday, 24th November 2021
Chagall to Heifetz, The Art of the Russian North, Russian Christmas Traditions

Day 4 Rosamund Bartlett Wednesday 26th January 2022
The Revolution in Russian Art, Constructivism and the Russian Avant-Garde, Russian Art and Architecture under Stalin

Day 5 Brian Healey Wednesday, 23rd February 2022
Decoding the Russian Icon: Isaak Levitan and the Poetry of Landscape, The Road to Revolution: Russian painting 1861-1917

Day 6 Peter Medhurst Wednesday 23rd March 2022
Tchaikovsky and ‘The Five’, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Each day starts at 10:15 for 10:25 and ends at about 15:00
Location: Market Lavington Community Hall.
See the Wessex Area website for more details and the application form.
Or email Julie Price at wessexcoursesnorth@gmail.com

Wednesday 13th Apr 2022Tutankhamun: his tomb, treasures and extraordinary family
by Lucia Gahlin

Six lectures over two days celebrating the centenary of this iconic discovery and exploring the art of Egypt’s sun kings.

DAY 1 Wednesday, 13th April 2022
1. Egypt’s Sun King and Queen: Amenhotep III and Tiye
2. The Mythologising of a Pharaoh: Akhenaten, deformed or divine?
3. Nefertiti: images of Ancient Egypt’s most intriguing queen

DAY 2 Thursday, 14th April 2022
1. Tutankhamun: the Pharaoh behind the Tomb
2. Tutankhamun’s Tomb: its design, decoration, and discovery
3. Tutankhamun’s Treasures - "Everywhere the glint of gold"

If there is sufficient demand these talks will be repeated as follows:
Wednesday 27th April 2022 - Day 2 content
Thursday 28th April 2022 - Day 1 content

To be held in Market Lavington Community Hall, SN10 4DG. Each day starts at 10.15 for 10.25 and ends at about 3pm. Cost £30 per person per day, which includes coffee and a light lunch with a glass of wine.

Click here for the Application Form.

See the Wessex Area website for more details or email Julie Price at wessexcoursesnorth@gmail.com

Our speaker, Lucia Gahlin, is an Egyptologist and University Lecturer. Lucia is an Honorary Research Associate at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology and lectures around the world. She has worked at the Petrie Museum of Egyption Archaeology in London and as an archaeological draughtsman on excavations in Egypt, including the site of Tell el-Amarna, Akhenaten’s and Nefertiti’s new capital and no doubt Tutankhamun’s home town. Lucia regularly leads tours to Egypt. Her publications include Egypt: Gods, Myths and Religion.

Wessex Area Lectures 2021 / 2022

Wednesday 20th Oct 2021Virtual Tour of the Colosseum
by Stuart Harvey

A virtual guided tour of the Colosseum with Stuart Harvey, revealing its secrets and its true history. This event is kindly offered to us by the Arts Society, Kington Langley.
(You can right-click on the poster below and 'open in new tab' to see it bigger.)

For all bookings email : heather.leach@leachuk.co.uk

Cost £5, payable by BACS to KLDFAS (Sort code: 20-84-58, Account: 10553093, Reference: your surname, initial and 'COL01')

Stuart Harvey has worked in educational tourism for almost 30 years, and is a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide, a qualified Rome Tourist Guide and now also an accredited Arts Society Guide. Using video and photos to showcase Rome, his relaxed style of communication will give you an entertaining tour that is easy on the ear, but also informative and historically accurate.

Thursday 16th Dec 2021Virtual Tour of St Peter’s Basilica
by Stuart Harvey

A virtual guided tour of St Peter's Basilica with professional Rome tourist guide Stuart Harvey for a journey through 2000 years of Christianity as he explores the art and history of the spectacular St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.
This event is kindly offered to us by the Arts Society, Kington Langley.
(You can right-click on the poster below and 'open in new tab' to see it the detail more clearly.)

For all bookings email : heather.leach@leachuk.co.uk

Cost £5, payable by BACS to KLDFAS (Sort code: 20-84-58, Account: 10553093, Reference: your surname, initial and 'PET01')

Stuart Harvey has worked in educational tourism for almost 30 years, and is a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide, a qualified Rome Tourist Guide and now also an accredited Arts Society Guide. Using video and photos to showcase Rome, his relaxed style of communication will give you an entertaining tour that is easy on the ear, but also informative and historically accurate.

Other Events 2021 / 2022

Saturday 21st Aug 2021Wiltshire Artists Annual Exhibition

At last a real exhibition is back - starting in Marlborough on Saturday 21st August and on for a whole week - The Wiltshire Artists Annual Exhibition.
In St Peter's Church, Marlborough from 10 am every day from Saturday 21st August up to and including Saturday 28th August.
Over 100 artworks, and good coffee and cake in the cafe in the church too!

David and Yvonne Auld

Thursday 30th Sep 2021Devizes Food Festival – Food in Art

This illustrated talk is presented in the Cheese Hall, Devizes Town Hall as part of the Devizes Food Festival. 10.30 on Thursday 30th September, price £10.

Food in Art? Join leading art historian Clare Ford-Wille for an illustrated talk on the representations of food in painting from Roman antiquity to the banquets of the Renaissance. An exciting journey through the symbolism and portrayals of all things edible in centuries of art.

Coffee and homemade cakes included.

For details of how to book, go to Devizes Food Festival website https://www.devizesfoodanddrinkfestival.info

Tuesday 7th Dec 2021Christmas Lunch 2021

Our Christmas Lunch will take place on Tuesday 7th of December at 12 noon for 12.30pm in The Town Hall. A local choir will provide musical entertainment. There will be a bar to purchase additional drinks. Tickets are £32 each for a three course lunch with a glass of wine or soft drink plus coffee and mince pies.

Click below to view or download details of the menu and the booking form.

Christmas Lunch Flyer   Download

Booking for this event closes on Wednesday 17th November.