Lecture Programme 2017-18


Josiah Wedgwood: the Arts and Sciences United

A new joint venture with YPS (Yorkshire Philosophical Society)

Date:  Tuesday April 11th 2017
Time:  7.30pm
Place:  The Tempest Anderson Hall, Museum Gardens, York.
Speaker:  Gaye Blake-Edwards, Curator of the Wedgwood Museum.

Please note the change of day, time and venue for this lecture.

For further details please click on the flyer below left.

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 11.26.56   Picture2   Picture1

Josiah Wedgwood is credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery.  He was an amazing innovator and businessman and combines the worlds of design, production, science and commercialisation.  He was an abolitionist and grandfather of Darwin’s wife, Emma. Come and hear more about this remarkable man.


Old Craft, New Art: An Artistic journey through stained glass.

Date:  Wednesday May 10th 2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Helen Whittaker, Barley Studios.  http://www.helenwhittakerart.com/

Please click for a larger image:


AGM 6pm – Wednesday June 14th 2017

Followed by …

Turner and the Whale

Date:  Wednesday June 14th 2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Dining Hall, St Olave’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  York University History of Art Department: Professor Jason Edwards; Dr Meg Boulton, Visiting Fellow; Martha Cattell, PhD student

Turner and the Whale opens at Hull Maritime Museum this autumn, as part of Hull’s year as the UK city of the culture. The exhibition brings to the region for the first time, from Tate Britain, three of J.M. Turner’s acclaimed whaling pictures of 1845-6, alongside a full-scale reproduction of the fourth picture from the Met Museum in New York. The exhibition considers the quartet in a number of innovative contexts. Firstly, in relation to similar scenes of whaling done by the local Hull School of marine artists. Secondly, in relation to examples of scrimshaw: folk art scenes carved onto pieces of whale bone, by the whalers themselves. And, finally, in relation to scenes of arctic hunting made by the indigenous Inuit population. These images and objects will be introduced in three short talks.

About the Speakers:

Jason Edwards is a Professor in History of Art Department at the University of York, and the co-curator, with Martha Cattell, a collaboratively-funded PhD in the department, of the Turner and the Whale exhibition that will open at the Hull Maritime museum this autumn. Dr. Meg Boulton is a freelance academic, with an extraordinary portfolio of interests ranging from Anglo-Saxon space to televisualisations of Agatha Christie.


Spanish Civil War Artists

Date:  Wednesday July 12th 2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Memorial Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  David Boyd Haycock (NADFAS) is a freelance writer and curator; he is the author of a number of books including I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women who went to Fight Fascism (2012) and A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War (2009).

The Spanish Civil War, which raged from 1936 to 1939 and which was described at the time as a ‘world war in miniature’, produced one of the most famous and influential paintings of the twentieth century: Picasso’s Guernica. In this lecture, Dr Haycock will explore the background to the war, the context of the making of Picasso’s masterpiece, and in particular the influence of the painting, Spain and the Civil War itself, on numerous British artists, including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra and Percy Wyndham Lewis.

July 1 July 2 July 3


August – No Lecture


Picturing People: The Victorians Portrayed

Date:  Wednesday September 13th 2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Lizzie Darbyshire (NADFAS)  Graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art. Has wide experience as a freelance lecturer in the History of Art, working with fine arts societies and art galleries throughout Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Lizzie is particularly interested in placing works of art within their wider social and economic context, exploring the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind the paintings. Lizzie is a Past Chairman and now President of The Arts Society Hambleton.

Having your likeness taken in the Victorian period was an important event in your life and one which you would be anxious to get right.  In this lecture, we follow the development of portraiture from the academic works of the early Victorians, through the innovative interpretations of the Pre-Raphaelites and on to the ‘aesthetic’ portrait of the later years.  We explore some of the practices used by portrait painters and consider the impact of photography on the painted portrait.  Amongst others, works by Francis Grant, G.F. Watts, John Everett Millais and John Singer Sargent will be discussed.

From the left:

  • Advertisement for John J. Hobbiss, Photographers of 1 Commercial Street, Leeds
  • Francis Grant, Portrait of the 3rd Earl of Harewood, courtesy of the Harewood House Trust
  • John Everett Millais, Jersey Lily: Lillie Langtry


A truly cultured women is as rare as the Phoenix: The Life and Work of Isabella d’Este

(c) Charlie Hopkinson

Date:  Wednesday October 11th 2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Sarah Dunant (NADFAS)  –  http://sarahdunant.com  –  Novelist, broadcaster and critic.  Sarah read history at Cambridge, then worked for many years as a cultural journalist in radio and television on such programmes as Kaleidoscope (BBC Radio 4), The Late Show (BBC 2), and Night Waves (BBC Radio 3). She has published thirteen  novels, taught renaissance studies at Washington University, St Louis, is a visiting tutor on the MA in creative writing at Oxford Brooks and has lectured around the world at festivals and conferences. Her last five novels have been set within the Italian Renaissance. Her next, In the Name of the Family (to be published in 2017)  completes the story of the Borgia family and the remarkable period of Italian history in which they lived. 

In an age where women had little public power, Isabella d’ Este (1474 – 1539) stands out as a formidable figure. She was one of the first and greatest female patrons and art collectors of the Renaissance. And her court in Mantua was filled with writers and poets of distinction. Her clever, educated and entitled voice sings out from thousands of letters which she composed in her meticulously designed study, and images – from Da Vinci to Titian – bring alive a woman whose eye for fashion was every bit as keen as her eye for art.

An intarsia panel (marquetry) from Isabella d’ESte’s studio


Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Date:  Wednesday November 8th  2017
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Gavin Plumley (NADFAS)  –  http://www.gavinplumley.com/  –  A writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday and The Guardian. Lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, including to the National Gallery, 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. 

After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

Image for Publicity 2


December – No Lecture



The American West in the 19th Century Art – Indians, Buffalo and Storms

Date:  January 10th 2018
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Toby Faber (The Arts Society)      http://www.tobyfaber.co.uk/

Toby Faber has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius and Fabergé’s Eggs, published by Macmillan in the UK and Random House in the US, and given lectures associated with these two subjects at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Library of Congress and the Huntington Library, as well as a number of literary festivals. 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 and Faber, where he remains on the board. He is also non-executive Chairman of its sister company, Faber Music and a director of Liverpool University Press and the Copyright Licensing Agency.

Artists were never far behind the explorers who opened up the west of America in the 19th Century. Sometimes they painted what they saw. Sometimes they painted what they wished they saw. Either way, painters like Alfred Miller, Frederick Church and Albert Bierstadt have left us a powerful, if romanticised, record of the country and people that the settlers found. Now we can use their pictures to chart the  history of the opening of America’s west – the arrival of the railroad, the confinement of native Americans into reservations, and the extermination of the buffalo.

This is a story on a big scale and it seems appropriate that among the pictures illustrating the lecture are some of the largest and most grandiloquent paintings of the era. After a period of deep neglect, they are now very much back in vogue, but whatever one thinks of their artistic merits, I hope audiences will agree with me that they are, above all, great fun.


The Scottish Colourists

Date:  February 14th 2018
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Alice Foster (The Arts Society)

Alice has lectured for Oxford University Department of Continuing Education since 1998. She lectures regularly at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock. Her busy freelance career includes organising History of Art study days with colleagues, and regular weekly classes in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire. In 2004 Alice joined The Arts Society and has lectured in Britain and in Europe. Since 2003 Alice has been a tutor on study holidays. In 2010 she was elected President of Banbury Fine Arts Society.

The work of S.J. Peploe and J.D. Fergusson was seen in Edinburgh and London in the decade leading up to World War 1, but Hunter and Cadell were less well known. All were bold pioneers in the field of rich colour and exuberant brushwork. The strong light and bright colour they discovered in France was easily harnessed to their favourite places in Scotland. People, places, interiors, still life were among their favourite subjects.

(c) Perth & Kinross Council (Mrs Jenny Kinnear); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) City of Edinburgh Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Arts and Crafts Houses of Parker and Unwin

Date:  March 14th 2018
Time:  6.30pm  (from 6pm)
Place:  Shepherd Hall, St Peter’s School, York.  YO30 6AB
Speaker:  Dr Mervyn Miller

Architect, Town Planner and historian, Dr Miller is Parker Scholar at Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation since 2017. He won a recent award of a three year Visiting Fellowship at the University of Hertfordshire. In November 2017 Dr Miller was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin are now best known for the master planning and enlightened housing of Letchworth Garden City and Hampstead garden suburb although northerners by family background and half cousins. The lecture will describe how Parker and Unwin extended the range of Arts and Crafts design to embrace not only fully furnished houses, but also reflected social concern for reform of working-class housing design, in which New Earswick had a pivotal role shortly before their master-planning of Letchworth, the first Garden City (1903) and Hampstead Garden Suburb (1905-7).