MacDonald ‘Max’ Gill, brother of sculptor and typographer Eric Gill, was an architect, graphic designer and letterer, best known for his pictorial maps, especially those for the London Underground.  He created painted maps for Arts & Crafts houses including Lindisfarne Castle, magnificent murals for Cunard liners, and eye-catching publicity posters.  An enduring legacy is his alphabet for the Imperial War Graves Commission used on all British military headstones since the First World War. This talk by Max Gill’s great-niece presents a colourful overview of this versatile artist’s personal life and artistic achievements.

As well as lecturing for the Arts Society, Caroline Walker has given talks for the National Archives, the Art Workers’ Guild, Christie’s, Friends of Kettle’s Yard and the National Trust.  She is currently writing a biography.

This lecture covers the period from c. AD300 to 750, the end of the Classical world in the Levant. The construction of churches and monasteries from Syria to Egypt witness the blossoming of Christianity. The vibrant Jewish communities adapted late Roman artistic traditions to their own distinctive style. Finally, we witness the advent of Islam and the rise of the Umayyad Caliphate. The story is told using some of the most evocative architecture, sculpture, mosaics, wall-paintings and numismatic art from Jerusalem and elsewhere in the region.

Sam Moorhead is the National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum. Before joining the British Museum in 1997 as Staff Lecturer for Archaeology, he taught Classics and Archaeology; he is an Honorary Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. He has excavated widely in the Mediterranean and Britain, concentrating on the Roman and early Mediaeval periods.

There are more than 7,000 works of art in the Royal Collection.  The works are of the highest quality and range from Early Italian to Modern Pictures, given as gifts to our monarch today.  They come in all shapes and sizes from pictures designed to cover the wall of a royal palace to the small private paintings that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert gave to each other.

Linda Collins holds a BA (Hons) in Early Italian Art, an MA in the works of Georges de La Tour and a diploma in French language and culture.  She was employed for 20 years by the Historical Royal Palaces, and she now a freelance lecturer at the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and Tate Modern.  She also lecturer to adult education groups, fine art societies, Antique Groups, the National Trust U3A and various universities.

Please note venue: St Margaret's Church, Lee Terrace SE13 5DL

The British Musical was triumphant in the 1930s when the musicals of Noel Coward and Ivor Novello dominated the West End. However the arrival of Oklahoma in 1948 changed everything and over the next 30 years the audiences flocked to the big American musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Cy Coleman and Kander and Ebb.. Nevertheless there were moments of British success in between and composers like Julian Slade, Sandy Wilson, David Heneker and Lionel Bart had enormously popular shows until, in the 1970s and 80s, Andrew Lloyd Webber re-established the British musical internationally.

An illustrated talk by Malcolm Jones.

In Spring 2000 an archeological drama began to unfold on the banks of the Euphrates river in Turkey, close to the border with Syria.  A team of French and Turkish archeologists found a Roman city, with mosaics and wall paintings finer than those of Pompeii.  However, just beside them was the almost completed Birecik Dam, and the Turks had begun to flood the great reservoir behind it, taking the city under water.  This lecture tells the story of the archeological rescue excavation than then took place (racing the waters for four and a half months as they rose at a rate of two feet a day) and the treasures recovered, including mosaic floors depicting colourful scenes from myth and legend. 

Louise Schofield is an archaeologist who was Curator of Greek Bronze Age and Geometric Antiquities at the British Museum from 1987-2000.  She now writes, lectures and runs international archeological projects - previously in South-Eastern Turkey, Greece and Albania and Ethiopia. 


The period after the fall of the Second Empire in France saw huge developments in the fashion industry, not just in haute couture, but also in the greater availability of ready-to-wear clothes and in the emergence of Paris's shopping culture.  More people than ever before expressed an interest in fashion trends, a phenomenon that was reflected in contemporary art and literature.  This lecture explores some of the ways in which Renoir depicted fashion and fabrics in his paintings of the 1870s and 1880s.

Aileen Ribeiro read history at King’s College, London, followed by postgraduate study (MA and Ph.D) at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She was Head of the History of Dress Department at the Courtauld Institute from 1975 to 2009; appointed Professor in the History of Art at the University of London in 2000, she is now Professor Emeritus.  She lectures widely in Great Britain, Europe and North America, and has acted as costume consultant/ contributor to many major exhibitions of art.


In this lecture, Charles Hajdamach will introduce us to the work of American glass sculptor and installation artist, Dale Chihuly.  Born in 1941 in Washington State, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.  Major exhibitions of his work have been held at Kew Gardens and the V&A, and his work is now included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide

Charles R. Hajdamach is one of the top authorities on glass in the country.  For 30 years he was in charge of the glass collections at Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford which opened in 1980 and quickly became one of the top glass museums in the world.  In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology for services to glass and glassmaking and in 2009 he was elected as Life-President of The Glass Association, of which he was a founder member. 


By the fourth century the classical pagan world was coming to an end. The process of Christianisation of the Roman Empire had begun with Constantine the Great and his mother St Helena. This lecture focuses on the religious art of this transitional period and will take the audience on a journey from the Holy Land and the finding of the True Cross to the catacombs of Rome and some surprising early images of Christ.

Dr Helen Rufus-Ward is an art historian who has lectured at the University of Sussex since 2007, specialising in early Christian and Byzantine art.  She is a member of the Society of Jewellery Historians and the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies.

This lecture looks at ordinary working people: skilled and unskilled workers in both urban and agricultural environments, craftsmen, artisans, shopkeepers, domestic servants, entertainers, prostitutes, beggars, paupers, slaves.  Throughout the history of western art, they have always been there: for centuries as mute observers, background detail or comic relief.  But as the world changes,   art changes, and this talk will discuss the move of low-life subject matter from the despised and vulgar fringes of popular taste into the respectable mainstream; and out again into political radicalism and avant-garde edginess.

Linda Smith holds two first-class degrees in Art History.  She is  an experienced guide and lecturer at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and lectures to secondary school audiences and independent arts societies.




Armour was one of the great Renaissance art-forms, but today it is usually overlooked by art historians, scholars and enthusiasts.  In the 15th and 16th centuries almost all of the most powerful noblemen in Europe were dedicated patrons of the armourer’s art.  This was an intensely personal art, both expressive and decorative.  Its essence was the creation of a living sculpture, a process which demanded not only fantastic skill in the sculpting of iron and steel, but also mastery of all the decorative techniques available to the Renaissance metalworker.

Dr Tobias Capwell is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and an internationally acknowledged expert on Medieval and Renaissance weapons.  He also has a practical knowledge, having jousted competitively!





In 1964 Terence Conran opened the first Habitat shop in London's Chelsea.  Habitat's colour and quirky take on contemporary design chimed with Swinging London.  He revolutionized British retailing.  

 From the beginning, Conran spread the word of this now classic lifestyle working with some of the best designers, art directors and photographers to produce his iconic catalogue.  

 Caroline MacDonald-Haig is a design and decorative arts journalist and author as well as being a London Blue Badge guide, specialising in tours for museums and art galleries.  In the early '70s she worked for Terence Conran, copy writing and editing the Habitat Catalogue.







This lecture will address the art of the Protestant Netherlands in ‘the Golden Age’ of the 17thth Century.  It will explore the dramatic story of the revolt against Spain from 1568 – 1648 and will describe how the wealth of Holland’s commercial empire fuelled an interest in new subjects such as landscapes, interiors, still-lives and maritime paintings.  Featuring prominently the work of Rembrandt, we will also look at Pieter de Hooch, Nicolaes Maes, Johannes Vermeer and Jacob van Ruysdael.

 Gerald Deslandes has a background in organising exhibitions at contemporary art galleries.  He teaches, lectures and leads visits on topics ranging from Asian, African and Oceanic art to Western art from the Renaissance to the present day.








The Empress Catherine was a consummate politician, a great art collector, a product of the European Enlightenment. This lecture looks at her art collections, her notorious private life, her skills as educator, ruler and empire builder. Ambitious, intelligent and far-sighted monarch, Catherine left the Russian Empire in far better shape than she found it, and certainly earned the title of "GREAT".

Our lecturer is Patricia Erskine-Hill, who holds degrees from Trinity College, Dublin and the University of Edinburgh.  She has lectured extensively on Tsarist Russia, including on cruise ships in the Baltic, on the Danube and round-Britain cruises.

In this lecture we discover the art of curating, including its history and methods.

William Lunn is a graduate of then Courtauld Institute, where he studied Art History and is currently curator and director of the contemporary art gallery Copperfield, London.


British photography enjoyed a golden age in the 1960s, when young, talented newcomers broke out of the conventional studio to revolutionise perceptions of fashion, portraiture and popular culture.  This lecture by Brian Stater looks at a range of superb images from photographers such as David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Lewis Morley, Tony Ray-Jones and Jane Bown.

 Brian’s chief interests lie in architecture, photography and history.  He is a member of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and an exhibition of his own photographs has been staged at UCL.  Brian is an engaging and amusing speaker who seeks to entertain as well as inform his audience.




This talk begins with well-known official war artists such as the art historian Sir Anthony Blunt, but also includes wartime oddities such as the Spaniard Tomas Harris.  He was Case Officer for double-agent Garbo, who famously invented no fewer than 26 agents, all supposedly working for the Germans in England, all totally fictitious.

Nicholas Reed is author of five books on the Impressionists in England and Wales, and one on the Frost Fairs on the Frozen Thames.  He was Founder Chairman of the friends of Shakespeare’s Globe.





This lecture deals among other things with work Grinling Gibbons undertook for royal palaces.  It shows in detail the technique by which the world famous lime wood carvings, realistic to the point of deception, were made and fixed in place.  The lecture contains an analysis of the changes made by Gibbons to the décor of the Queen’s Chapel of St James’s Palace (Inigo Jones) together with an account of his development as a designer from 1670-1699.

Launce Gribbin lectures in the history of art and architecture.  Early success as a painter led to the study of Art History at the Cortauld Institute, after which he worked at the V&A, the London College of Printing and then as a tutor in Sotheby’s Department of Educational Studies.  

In terms of worldwide influence, the English garden of the 20th century was almost as significant as the landscapes of William Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown. The gardens created in particular by Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll set a standard against which English gardens would be measured for the next 60 years. Modernism, instinctively mistrusted by the English, swept over Europe and America at precisely this period and only in the 1990s were brave steps taken to establish an alternative to the Arts and Crafts style.

The third, and contemporary, strand of 20th century garden design is different again and is a curious mixture of formality, harking back to the 17th century, and informality influenced by new planting schemes from Holland and Germany. The best contemporary gardens, which point the way forward to the 21st century, combine these two elements.

James Bolton lectures exclusively on gardens and garden history. He set up his own garden design business, administered courses at the Inchbold School of Design and NADFAS and runs Border Lines, a garden tour company specialising in tours to English and Italian gardens.

Founded in 1911 and inspired by French Post-Impressionist and working-class life in London, the short-lived Camden Town Group chronicled changed in British Society immediately before and during World War 1 and heralded a new modern spirit in British Art.

Valerie Woodgate is a lecturer and guide for Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Dulwich Picture Gallery. She is also a scriptwriter for the Living Paintings Trust (art for the blind and partially sighted).

In this lecture Charles Beauclerk explores the life and music of England's greatest pianist, John Ogdon (1937-89), who rose to the pinnacle of his profession following his victory at the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow in 1962. Famed for his impossible exploits at the keyboard - a result not only of his prodigious technique and Herculean reserves of stamina, but of his magical flights of fancy - Ogdon was the ultimate piano man.

A severe schizophrenic breakdown, however, drove a coach and horses through his success, destroying his family life and leading to his early death at the age of 52. Drawing on interviews with Ogdon's family, friends, and colleagues Beauclerk pieces together the story of this tragic genius.

Charles Beauclerk has lectured extensively throughout Canada, the United States and the UK. He is a Trustee of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust and Vice-President of the Royal Stuart Society Publications.

Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor are amongst the most well-known sculptors working in Britain today and have both had major commissions for public works of art. With a wide range of inspirations and motifs, the work of these two artists provide an interesting insight into contemporary views and preoccupations in Britain.

This lecture looks at examples of both artists work, exploring the common ground between them.

Rosalind Whyte is a lecturer for Tate, Dulwich Picture Gallery and independent art societies, and an experienced Guide at Tate Britain and Modern, the Royal Academy and Greenwich.

The Mona Lisa, one of the most iconic paintings in western art, was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in Florence in 1503. It accompanied him to France in 1517 and eventually passed to the Louvre.

Why did Leonardo keep this painting with him until his death? What is its place in the history of portraiture? When did the Mona Lisa become an international celebrity? She has inspired artists and writers from Freud to Warhol, Dalì to Dan Brown, as well as songs and films. She went on a ‘state visit’ to Washington, meeting President Kennedy and Jackie; she has been vandalised and stolen. This lecture looks at the reasons for her fame – and incidentally, explains why she is smiling!

Paula Nuttall lectures for the Courtauld Institute, Christie’s Education, The Art Fund and the National Gallery.