Lectures are held in St. George’s Hall Blockley and start at 2.45 pm, refreshments are available after lectures


Lois Oliver

Boris Anrep and the National Gallery mosaics

Visitors to the National Gallery are often surprised to find at their feet mosaics featuring a host of famous characters, including Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, and Greta Garbo, even Lewis Carroll’s Alice and a Christmas pudding. This exuberant mosaic cycle was created by the Russian artist Boris Anrep between 1926 and 1952. A larger-than-life character, Boris Anrep was an intimate of the Bloomsbury Group and a close friend of Augustus John and Anna Akhmatova. His exploits included deeds of derring-do in occupied France, competing in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, and a colourful love-life. This is an account of an extraordinary man and his work, by the author of Boris Anrep: The National Gallery Mosaics.

Lois Oliver studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge and the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. She worked at the Harvard University Art Museums before joining the curatorial team at the V&A and then the National Gallery, where she curated the major exhibition ‘Rebels and Martyrs’ (2006) and a series of three touring exhibitions. Currently Associate Professor in History of Art at the University of Notre Dame in London, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute.


Charles Harris

Posters of the Belle Époque

Charles will relate the technical innovation combined with creative genius and remarkable craftsmanship which enabled the poster to become the world’s first effective method of mass communication. From ‘Les Chats’ by Edouard Manet to ‘Saxoleine’ by Jules Cheret and ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Divan Japonais’ by Toulouse Lautrec, you’ll see inspirational work by generations of superb artists who made the poster great: magnificent Mucha, socially-conscious Steinlen, and many more. Charles will show us how an effective poster is designed and how it plays on the mind; and why most posters today go unnoticed.

As the global award winning creative director of international advertising agencies, Charles Harris has created posters for some of the world’s biggest brands, such as British Airways, Nestlé, Sony, General Motors and Shell. Charles has lectured extensively on design, illustration and photographic styles. His travel writing and photography has appeared in various magazines and he has also written and produced TV and radio commercials and corporate video programmes.


Doug Gillen

Hidden canvases: street art and the city

There’s more to the world of street art than Banksy. Hidden canvases is a beginner’s guide to the biggest art movement since pop art. From train writing in New York to interactive technology that brings murals to life, the concept of un-commissioned public art is a very different beast to that which it once was. Hidden canvases explores the key stages in street art’s growth, examining the different elements and styles that comprise the scene with no rules. From the international superstars to the local underground heroes you’re guaranteed to leave knowing your Invader from your Aryz and who knows you might even start looking at the world a little differently.

Doug Gillen is heavily involved in documenting the street art scene in London and abroad through his project Fifth Wall TV, and can offer a genuine insight into this world. He has lectured previously for London Art and More, and when not filming he is an East End tour guide for Alternative London, specialising in culture and art.

Oscar Wilde


Giles Ramsay

Oscar Wilde, up close

‘I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my work.’ Giles Ramsay will examine the public and private life of one of the world’s most original and controversial artists. Born into a moderately respectable Dublin family, Oscar Wilde recreated himself as an international celebrity and wrote a series of short stories and plays that charmed the world. In 1890 he also published the last of the great myths – the picture of Dorian Gray. Ten years later, devoured by his fame, demons and decadence, he would be dead.

Giles Ramsay is a Fellow of St Chad’s College, Durham University and Course Leader in Theatre at the V&A Museum in London. He is an independent theatre director and producer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries and has run theatre projects in Botswana, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Kosovo, Palestine, Mexico, Thailand and Zimbabwe. Giles combines academic analysis with hands on experience to bring a unique insight to the world of the theatre.

MONDAY 15 JANUARY 2018 11:00AM

Ann Blagden

The art and history of the Egyptian dancer


11am for coffee and biscuits
At Wyck Hill House Hotel, Burford Road,
Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1HY

It seems that we in the Western World have always held a fascination with Egypt and the Middle East. Over the generations it has influenced our paintings, poetry and storytelling, with evocative tales from the silk and spice routes, fantastical ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, and of course Salome and ‘The Dance of the Seven Veils’. Our relationship has been passionate, intriguing and mysterious and at times turbulent, but always captivating.

During this talk and demonstration, Ann will take a light hearted look at some
of these findings in ‘The art and history of the Egyptian dancer’.

Cost: Members and waiting list: £36, Guests: £38

Please send your cheque and the completed booking form
by 18 December 2017 to Ruth Craig
Ryknild, Manor Farm, Condicote, Cheltenham, GL54 1ES
(01451 870312, ruth.e.craig@icloud.com)

Ann Blagden’s love affair with Egyptian and Indian dance started when she moved to London from the Welsh valleys over 30 years ago. Many of her friends were Middle Eastern or Asian and they welcomed her into their homes and invited her to their family and community celebrations, where she first participated and fell in love with their cultural dances. Since then, music and dance has fascinated her, revealing much about the political, commercial and social climate of a country.

Cover of Lord of the Flies


Toby Faber

Faber & Faber – 90 years of excellence in cover design

This lecture traces the history of Faber & Faber through its illustrations, covers and designs. It will feature artists from Rex Whistler and Barnett Freedman to Peter Blake and Damien Hirst and design concepts from the typographical excellence pioneered by Berthold Wolpe to the various ‘grids’ used by the agency Pentagram. Toby will show book covers and photos of key individuals to illustrations of the concepts behind the designs. The talk will be peppered with personal insight and anecdote, whether it is Lord of the Flies being rescued off the slush pile, or the decision made while he was Managing Director to turn down Life of Pi.

Toby Faber has written books on Stradivarius and Fabergé’s Eggs and given lectures associated with these two subjects at venues including the V&A Museum, Bath Theatre, the Library of Congress and the Huntington Library. His career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber & Faber, where he remains on the board.

Wallis Simpson


Anne Sebba

‘That woman’ or the Duchess of style. Time to reassess Wallis Simpson

This lecture is based on at least three years of research into why this Baltimore woman was so demonised by the British establishment and wider commonwealth, accused of being a spy, prostitute or Nazi sympathiser, yet how, after she married the ex-King and became Duchess of Windsor, she turned her exile and hatred into a platform from which to launch herself as one of the world’s best dressed woman who entertained in the most elegant homes fit for a King – or an ex-King.Was she simply a clothes horse for dress designers and jewellery makers or did she have a heart that has never been fairly understood? Anne will also tell the story of how, in the context of the 1930s, this woman with three husbands was unacceptable as Queen of England and of the Empire. It is now time to reassess That Woman.

Anne Sebba is a biographer, historian and author who lectures to a variety of audiences in the US and UK. A former Reuters foreign correspondent, Anne is now a broadcaster and 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. Anne is a former chair of Britain’s 9,000 strong Society of Authors.


Nigel Arch

Dear little Kew: the story of a surprising Royal Palace

The title recalls Queen Charlotte’s fondness for this, perhaps the smallest of royal palaces. As consort to George III, Kew Palace offered a private retreat for the queen and her daughters. It has a rich architectural history, ante-dating the King’s reign, having originally been built as a fashionable house by a Huguenot merchant. The royal narrative of the palace begins with Queen Caroline, wife of George II. Her achievements, and those of her eldest son Frederick Prince of Wales, are discussed in the context of the palace and the gardens. The palace as now presented largely reflects the occupation of George III and his family. The latter years of the King’s reign, blighted by his illness, also impacted on the building, threatening its survival.

Nigel Arch retired from his post as Director of the State Apartments at Kensington Palace in April 2012, having worked initially at the Palace as Curator of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection. Before that he was Head of the Department of Art at the National Army Museum and Keeper of Military History at the Castle Museum, York. Nigel has lectured in this country and the US and his most recent publications include the essay on uniforms for the West Europe volume of the Berg Encyclopaedia of World Dress. Nigel was appointed LVO (Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order) in 2008.

MONDAY 21 MAY 2018

Dr Annie Gray

To please the palate and charm the eye: 400 years of food as ephemeral art

This lecture looks at the art of cooking purely through its results upon the table. Using paintings, illustrations and photographs, we will go on a culinary journey from the late Tudor period to the mid 20th century, considering both how food presentation was influenced by the wider trends of each era, and how that presentation reflects notions of edibility through time. From delicate, moulded pies, to flamboyant stuffed turkeys with lobster tail wings, we’ll explore the idea of food as the ultimate in ephemeral art. Raw ingredients can be transformed beyond all recognition, their presentation agonised over for weeks with the result presented with an artist’s flourish – but within each dish is the recognition that its destiny is utter destruction. The lecture will be enhanced by the lecturer’s own experience in cooking historic food, and with pictures of her very real creations.

Dr Annie Gray is one of Britain’s leading food historians. She has degrees from Oxford, York and Liverpool, and is a research associate at the University of York. She works as a consultant on historic food for organisations such as the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces, as well as training staff in live interpretation. Annie is the resident food historian on BBC Radio 4’s culinary panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet, and works on The Great British Bake Off and on James Martin: Home Comforts. She recently advised on, and co-presented, Victorian Bakers, a living history-based documentary for BBC2.


Ian Pickford

Dr Christopher Dresser and C R Ashbee: two opposing revolutions

During the 1880s and 1890s two remarkable and opposing developments took place. Both, for quite different reasons, failed at the time and yet both were to have a significant influence on what followed.We will first look at the remarkable ideas and designs of Christopher Dresser, who it may be said, was the first true industrial designer and who introduced the principals of functionalism into design. We will then go on to examine C R Ashbee and the development of the ‘Guild of Handicrafts’ which put into effect, for silver, the arts and crafts ideas introduced by William Morris.

Ian Pickford is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He lectures at the University of London, University of Surrey, the V&A, the National Trust, and the Art Fund. Ian broadcasts on both television and radio and is an author and editor of Jackson’s Silver & Gold Marks.