Programme for the 2024 - 2025 Season



Monday 16 September   

Legend & Lustre - Jim Thompson & Thai Silk

Jim Thompson, aesthete & art collector fell in love with Bangkok and its ancient art.  Captivated by the beauty of Thai silk, he revived this ancient craft. This lecture tells of his achievements & shows the intricate process of Thai silk production and its illustrious heritage, including royal robes & temple murals.

Denise Heywood: Published author, Lecturer at The Courtauld Institute, British Museum & the Royal Geographical Society.


Monday 14 October

Wonder Workers& The Art of Illusion - The History of Magic Through Art & Pictures

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic and the impossible has been widespread.  Egypt was the cradle of magic. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people. Where there was power there was magic.

Bertie Pearce: Lecturer, performer & journalist on entertainment & theatre. Member of the Inner Magic Circle.


Monday 18 November

The Power of Jewellery - Adornment & Ritual from Prehistory to the Present

What does jewellery mean to different societies across time & across the world? This lecture reveals how jewellery has been worn & used, taking us from ancient burial ornaments by anonymous masters to the big designers of the modern world. 

Judy Rudoe: Senior curator at the British Museum.  President of the Society of Jewellery Historians



Monday 9 December

A Very British Art Form - The Story of Pantomime

Pantomime - originally used to describe performances at Drury Lane Theatre based on the Italian Commedia dell’arte and as an opportunity for political satire.  In the 19th Century the fairy-tale story plots were established and the extrovert Music Hall entertainers created the traditions that we know as the Christmas pantomime today.

Malcolm Jones: Accredited lecturer at V & A Theatre Museum and RADA. Works with Age Exchange Community Arts on creative arts programmes.


Monday 13 January

Can Robots Cry? Art Touches Human Emotions Which Machines Cannot Feel 

Art of all kinds can touch us to respond, often beyond the expectation of the artist.  Justin demonstrates how art arises from human imagination to feed our emotions & discusses the difference between imitation of the physical world- which even robots can be taught to do- and the creation of truly human art which inspires & enhances our lives.

Justin Reay: Published historian, tutor in History of Art & Architecture for independent Colleges at Oxford, member of AI & Arts Interest Group at Alan Turing Institute.



Monday 17 February 

Bodies In Balance – Asian Medicine In Art 

The great medical traditions of Asia (India, China & Tibet) are explored through a rich diversity of artistic treasures both historical and contemporary including exquisite Indian paintings, rare Chinese acupuncture charts, Tibetan tangkhas and Japanese woodblock prints.

Zara Fleming: Specialist art consultant, curator, lecturer & tour guide. Initially based at V & A, has worked with Central Asian Dept of Bonn University, the Orient Foundation, the Royal Academy and major museums.


Monday 17 March

The Art Of The Cartoon

Harry will be tracing the history of the cartoon from early practitioners like Cruickshank and Hogarth, to more contemporary artists such as Giles and Schulz, bringing events up to date with cartoons produced fresh on the page that day.

Harry Venning: Comedy writer and performer. Cartoonist for The Guardian for 25 years.  Hon. Fellow of the English/Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University.


Monday 14 April

 Search For The Woven Art Of The Nomads Of Afghanistan & Iran

‘My time spent in Iran & Afghanistan during the 1970’s began to foster a passion for the wonderful woven art produced by nomads on basic ground looms’.  Brian a dealer & consultant in antique oriental rugs & carpets, discusses his travels & experiences living and travelling in search of the nomadic tribes’ woven art.

Brian Macdonald:   Author of ‘Tribal Rugs – Treasurers of the Black Tent’ updated & re-printed twice. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.



Monday 19 May

John Barbirolli & The Gramophone 

John Barbirolli, conductor & saviour of the Halle Orchestra in Manchester became one of the preeminent musicians of the 20th Century.  His monumental number of recordings allowed him to alert listeners & musicians to a wide variety of works that may have flown under their artistic radars.

Raymond Holden: Award -winning writer, broadcaster & lecturer.  Conductor with several prestigious orchestras.   Currently Emeritus Professor of Music at the Royal Academy of Music London



Monday 16 June 

 Charismatic Crook Or The Worlds Greatest Art Dealer 

‘Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money’ remarked Joseph Duveen the British art dealer whose wit & charm convinced the hard-nosed, tight-fisted titans of Wall Street - Frick, Mellon, Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Vanderbilt that ‘when you pay high for the priceless, you’re getting it cheap’.

Mark Meredith: Lectures regularly in Europe & the United States, notably at the New-York Historical Society.