Programme of Lectures
These talks normally take place at Whiteley Village Hall at 10.30am. Whilst the numbers permitted in the hall are so low, lectures are being given by Zoom.

Wed 13th January 2021 at 10.30 am

The Artists of Montmartre - "The pilgrims of Babylon"

Douglas Skeggs
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There is no name more evocative of Bohemian life: of high spirits, decadence, poverty,  and revolutionary art in Paris, than Montmartre. In reality it was little more than a rundown suburb overlooking the city, bristling with windmills. But the garden cafes, the dancehalls and cabarets, and the ramshackled studios that spilled down the hillside of Montmartre would become the inspiration and home to some of France’s greatest artists.

From the Moulin de la Galette where Renoir painted Parisians dancing in the afternoon sunlight, to Toulouse Lautrec’s vivid images of the Moulin Rouge, the smoke filled cabaret where the can-can was danced to Offenbach’s music, to the shabby garrets of the Bateau Lavoir where a group of artists headed by Picasso would paint canvases that would shake the foundations of Western art, this lecture charts the course of this extraordinary artistic life.

Image: The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
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Douglas read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980. In that time he has given over 8000 lectures to universities, colleges and art societies.

He was the director of  The New Academy of Art Studies for three years and is presently a regular lecturer at The Study Center, Christie's course 'The History of Art Studies' and other London courses. Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, MI5 headquarters, the Captain's Room at Lloyds, and an aircraft hanger in a German NATO base. Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and has taken numerous tours around Europe.

He has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on Whistler and the exhibition video on William Morris. Three one-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland. He has published five novels, which have been translated into 8 foreign languages, and his book on Monet, River of Light, has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France.

Image: Douglas Skeggs
Wed 10th February 2021

Les Parisiennes: How women lived, loved and died in Paris from 1939-49

Lecturer: Anne Sebba
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Les Parisiennes is a story about women’s lives during the dark years of Nazi occupation and beyond and includes British and American women caught in Paris as well as native born resisters who were eventually sent to camps, couturiers and jewellers, some of whom flourished in wartime, as well as actors, singers, night club dancers and housewives.
The lecture opens with a magnificent circus ball held by Elsie de Wolfe at the magnificent Villa Trianon, a chateau in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles; many of the guests could not believe that war was imminent and ends with Christian Dior’s lavish new look in 1947 as well as a perfume, Miss Dior, named after his sister Catherine, a resister, who had only just survived a prison camp and never wanted to talk about her experiences.

Image: Villa Trianon, Versailles
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Anne Sebba
Biographer, historian and author of eleven books who lectures to a variety of audiences in the US and UK, including the English Speaking Union, Royal Overseas League, National Trust, British Library and Imperial War Museum. A former Reuters foreign correspondent, Anne is now a broadcaster - she presented a BBC R3 documentary about the pianist Harriet Cohen and for Radio 4 the documentary Who was Joyce Hatto? she regularly appears on television talking about her books, mostly biographies including Jennie Churchill, William Bankes, Laura Ashley and Wallis Simpson. The latter, published as That Woman, was an international bestseller. Her latest book is a history of Paris between 1939-49 through women's eyes published in 2016 as Les Parisiennes How the women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s. Anne is a former chair of Britain's 9,000 strong Society of Authors.

Image: Anne Sebba
Wed 10th March 2021

Inspired by Stonehenge

Lecturer: Julian Richards
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Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans.
We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it’s instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Image: Stonehenge
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Julian Richards:

Studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist, in commercial archaeology, for English Heritage, for the BBC and as an independent. Elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and is being awarded an honorary doctorate. Has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. A career in broadcasting involved researching and presenting Meet the Ancestors and Blood of the Vikings for BBC2, and Mapping the Town for Radio 4. Author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge, including the previous and current guide books to the monument and landscape. Guest curator of Wish you were here, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of 'Stonehengiana' which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Also curated an exhibition for the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Vienna, in 2016. 

Image: Julian Richards
Wed 14th April 2021

Lecture: Ways to look at painting

Lecturer: Alice White
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Alice White is a professional oil painter, and Tutor at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Kings College London, Brunel University, The Art Worker’s Guild, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Alice’s solo show entitled 
A New Wave documented her year’s residency as Artist for Animals at ZSL London Zoo. Her forthcoming exhibitions include the Mall Galleries in London and the Gustavo Barcarisas Gallery in Gibraltar. She has been awarded the Russell and Chapple Canvas Prize for An Outstanding Work in Oils at the Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Marine Artists.
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Alice White - Curled Octopus of the British Isles

Wed 12th May 2021

The Magnificent Maya - Fact & Fantasy
Diane Davies
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The Maya created one of the most sophisticated civilizations in the ancient world.  Their achievements in the arts and sciences, along with their complex social, political and economic systems, make them one of the most remarkable culture groups in the Precolumbian Americas. These people brought us an intricate calendar system, complex hieroglyphic writing, some of the largest pyramids in the world, a form of ballgame that was like no other and most importantly chocolate! This lecture will discuss the major achievements of the Maya as well as pointing out the common misunderstandings we have of this remarkable civilization.

Image: Palenque, Mexico
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Dr Diane Davies is a Maya archaeologist and honorary research associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She completed her PhD at Tulane University, New Orleans. Little is known about the Maya in the UK and so aside from carrying out research in Guatemala and teaching, Diane is an educational consultant for schools giving workshops to both teachers and children on the Maya. She has created award-winning resources, organizes trips to the Maya area and is also the Chair of Chok Education, a charity supporting the education of Maya children. Diane organises conferences on the Maya as well as lecturing to a variety of organisations, including the City Literary Institute, London and the Historical Association.

Image: Diane Davies
Wed 9th June 2021

Rembrandt's Vision: Dutch history painting in the 17th century
Sophie Oosterwijk
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‘History painting’ was a special genre for a distinct clientele in the Dutch Republic. It depicted stories from especially the Bible and Antiquity with the aim of moving the viewer. However, it could also provide an excuse for depicting the female nude. Trained in history painting by Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt gradually developed his own interpretations of such stories as Bathsheba and David or Susanna and the Elders with greater emphasis on inner conflict and personal drama. His visions can still move or disturb us in ways quite different from depictions of the same stories by his contemporaries. 

Image: Rembrandt - Bathsheba

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We are taking advantage of Zoom lectures by booking Sophie Oosterwijk, who lives in the Netherlands.

Born in Gouda (Netherlands). Has an MA and PhD in English Literature (Leiden), an MA in Medieval Studies (York) and a PhD in Art History (Leicester). Has taught at the universities of St Andrews, Leicester and Manchester, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, National Trust, V&A, U3A, WEA and other organisations, and organised many study days, tours and visits. Also a regular lecturer for Cambridge University and travel companies, and Honorary Research Fellow with the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews. Numerous publications. 

Image: Sophie Oosterwijk

Wed 14th July 2021

Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) "The Ultimate renaissance ruler & fine art collector"

David Rosier
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The Emperor Qianlong was arguably the greatest of all Qing Emperors as he guided China through a period of unquestionable political, economic and cultural prosperity which rivalled any comparable period of high achievement in Chinese history. Qianlong was a noted scholar who during his lifetime wrote and published over 43,000 poems, painted on virtually a daily basis and was accomplished in the art of calligraphy. It was perhaps as a Collector of Fine Art that Qianlong created his greatest legacy. He amassed a treasure trove of hundreds of thousands of works of art from previous dynasties or which represented the finest current workmanship. His collection spanned all genres of the arts including paintings, porcelain, jade, textiles, enamelling, ivory carvings and snuff bottles.  

Image: Emperor Qianlong

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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.

Image: David Rosier

Wed 11th August 2021

Bhutan: the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon

Zara Fleming
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A general introduction to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, known by its inhabitants as Druk Yul or land of the Thunder Dragon. This is a reference to the Drukpa tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism that permeates every aspect of Bhutanese life. This lecture explores the history, art and culture of this extraordinary country, which for centuries has preserved its traditional Buddhist values. Over the last few decades there have been many changes; such as the introduction of roads, television and tourism. Will Bhutan be able to maintain the fine balance between tradition and modernity without diminishing its unique culture?
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Freelance lecturer, art consultant and exhibition curator specialising in the art and culture of Tibet, the Himalayan areas and Mongolia. Initially based at the V&A, but also worked with the Central Asian Department of Bonn University, the Orient Foundation, the Royal Academy, Tibet House, the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside and Asia House. In addition to lecturing for The Arts Society, she lectures for museums, universities, Asian art societies, and private associations. Guest lecturer and tour guide on numerous trips to the Himalayas. Edited Masterpieces of Mongolian Art: Vol 1 and has published many articles in the field of Buddhist art and culture.
Wed 8th September 2021

The Two Gustavs: Mahler and Klimt

Gavin Plumley
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Gustav Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the imperially endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Secession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. Comparing these two totemic fin de siècle talents, this lecture places Klimt and Mahler in context, asking what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides them.
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A writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide. Lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Recent talks include the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the National Trust, the National Theatre, the British Museum, the V&A, the Southbank Centre, the Tate and the Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund. 
Wed 13th October 2021

Underground Cathedrals - The World-Class Art, Architecture and Design of London Underground

Ian Swankie
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The world’s first underground railway has a unique heritage of architecture, ingenious design, powerful advertising posters and unique calligraphy. This talk plots the early development of the Underground, examines the legacy of Frank Pick and Charles Holden, looks at some of the iconic posters, and celebrates the award-winning architecture of the modern Tube in the Jubilee Line Extension. We’ll also take a peek at a few of the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) stations, designed by some of the world’s top architects.

Image: Arnos Grove station
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A Londoner with a passion for art and architecture, Ian is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and gives tours around each venue. He is also a qualified and active freelance London guide and leads regular tours for various corporations and organisations. Since 2012 he has led a popular weekly independent art lecture group in his home town of Richmond in West London. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, one of the City livery companies

Image: Ian Swankie

Enquiries about the Programme can be sent by email to our Programme Secretary, Stephen Hayes, at progsec@theartssocietyweybridge.org.uk. The lectures are for The Arts Society Weybridge members only.


Hall opens 10.00 am Coffee is served 10.00 – 10.20 am Lecture begins 10.30 am promptly

The Arts Society Weybridge cannot be held responsible for any personal accident, loss, damage or theft of members’ personal property. Members are covered against proven liability to third parties.