Lecture Programme

All lectures start at 6:30pm, at the Nadder Centre Weaveland Road Tisbury SP3 6HJ.

Doors Open at 5:30pm for the Bar.

date title speaker synopsis
26th April The Hands of Leonardo da Vinci Guy Rooker

Leonardo stated that the hand could be as expressive as the face and acknowledged that the structure and function of the hand was the organ through which an artist expresses himself. His remarkably accurate drawings of the six layers of anatomy of the hand are testament to his pursuit of detail. This talk reviews the way in which Leonardo investigated the form and function of the hand. His paintings and narrative art are reviewed to demonstrate how he used this knowledge to depict the hand as a form of expression.

17th May Vivaldi in Venice Peter Medhurst

Vivaldi is the one Baroque composer whose music is a direct reflection of the city in which it was composed. Listen to a Vivaldi concerto and hey presto you are transported directly to the heart of 18th century Venice. The reasons for this are many – Vivaldi’s passion for colour, display and spectacle in his music; the unusual way in which Venice solved its problems with the poor and the homeless; Vivaldi’s health problems and his eccentricities as a man and a priest. Against the luxurious backdrop of 18th century Venice, and with live musical performances, this lecture explores the amazing world of Vivaldi’s music - music that is as intrinsically Venetian as the canvasses of Canaletto.

21st June Meet me at the Waldorf Mary Alexander

Immortalised in Cole Porter’s lyrics “You’re the top! You’re a Waldorf salad”, the Waldorf Astoria hotel, New York was ‘home in New York to the stars’, international celebrities and world leaders. Built at the height of the Depression and famous before it opened, its glittering Jazz Age interiors were created by leading European designers, artists and sculptors. We will explore the intriguing story of the hotel’s equally iconic predecessor on Fifth Avenue, in its heyday the place to meet and be seen, where high society paraded in the latest Parisian fashions in Peacock Alley, and where business tycoons and acquisitive art collectors such as J P Morgan and Henry Clay Frick met to ‘do deals’ - finance or art, before it was demolished in 1929. This lecture recreates the stunning interiors of both hotels, the personalities who created them, and the stars who met, feasted and lived there.

20th September Sinner or Saint? The changing image of Mary Magdalene Sophie Oosterwijk

Who was Mary Magdalene? Western artists such as Hugo van der Goes, Donatello, Caravaggio and Titian depicted a bewildering variety of depictions of the saint: as an opulently dressed former courtesan holding a jar of ointment, but also as a repentant sinner, sometimes revealingly dressed yet clasping a skull and crucifix, or with her body entirely covered by hair. The saint as we know her in the West is actually a conflation of four different female characters from the gospels, including the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10), the woman who was cured of seven demons (Luke 8), and the woman to whom the risen Christ first appeared (Mark 16). Moreover, there are also medieval legends, such as the story that she was the bride at the biblical wedding at Cana or that she travelled to France after the Crucifixion and ended her life in penitent seclusion in Provence. This lecture will explain the fascinating stories and startling depictions of this popular saint in western art.

18th October Cartier: Jeweller of Genius Judy Rudoe The period 1900-1939 saw some of Cartier's most original and imaginative design - from their pioneering diamond and platinum jewellery of around 1900 to the fascination with exotic influences and the bold geometric designs of the interwar years with their unrivalled brilliance of conception and craftsmanship. This lecture, given by the organiser of the exhibition Cartier 1900-1939 shown at the British Museum in 1997-8 and author of the exhibition catalogue, reveals not only the genius behind Cartier's luxurious jewels, but also the firm’s celebrity clientele, from the royal heads of Europe to Indian maharajahs, American heiresses and stars of film and stage.
15th November Clara Rhino Superstar and Wonder of the Grand Tour Clive Stewart-Lockhart Brought up as a house pet by a Director of the Dutch East India Company in India, from a young age, Clara was shipped to Holland in 1741 and spent nearly 20 years touring Europe as one of the wonders of the age. She visited all the major Courts of Europe including to King Louis XV of France, dying in London in 1758. She was recorded in paintings, prints porcelain, bronze, clocks and even hair styles. This talk explores the charming story of this magnificent beast, only the third or fourth rhino to be seen in Europe, through contemporary records and works of art.
17th January English Glass 17th & 18th Century Jane Gardiner This lecture will begin by looking back at the production of façon de venise glass in England in the 16th century and go on to discuss the experiments of George Ravenscroft and the problems he encountered in the development of English lead glass in the 17th century, which resulted in the emergence of a truly English style. It will look closely at the history of English drinking glasses, the growing interest in engraved, coloured and enameled glass and the perfecting of cut glass in the second half of the 18th century. The lecture will conclude by looking at the important use of cut glass for candelabra and chandeliers.
21st February Silk Road: A Textile Journey Chris Alexander Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today. The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx.
20th March Photography as Fine Art Brian Stater Should we accept that the very best photographs can be regarded as Fine Art? This question is at the heart of a lecture which argues that photography can equal, not to say exceed, more traditional disciplines in the key genres of portaiture, landscape and still life. Photography, moreover, has carved its own area of excellence in depicting the human condition. All these ideas are discussed with reference to the work of some of the acknowledged masters of photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fay Godwin, Bill Brandt, Ansel Adams and Wolfgang Tillmans.