All lectures are at 7:45pm, with wine served from 7:15pm.  Please see this page for details of the location.  Images are reproduced with permission from the lecturer.

Sir Anthony van Dyck has been described as the greatest painter in 17th century Britain. Though born and trained in Antwerp, he had a huge impact on English cultural life. As principal painter at King Charles I’s court, he portrayed many of the leading characters of the period and his portraits have shaped our view of the Stuart monarchy. This lecture will look at his life and works, focusing particularly on works produced during his time in England from 1632 until his death in 1641.

Rosalind Whyte holds a BA and MA from Goldsmith’s College, and an MA (distinction) from Birkbeck College. She is an experienced guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the Royal Academy and Royal Museums Greenwich. She has lectured at Tate, Dulwich Picture Gallery, to independent art societies and on cruises, as well as leading art appreciation holidays.

Before her death in 2016, Zaha Hadid was one of the most distinguished architects in the world, and a talented designer.  She twice received the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize, and in 2012 was made a Dame for services to architecture.  We will hear the story of this visionary architect, from her early abstract paintings to her first sharp-angled buildings and her later structures, extruded to the most extreme organic shapes in what she called a “seamless fluidity”.  We move around the world to look at her completed works, including her most famous building in the UK, the Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics in 2012, as well as unexecuted designs.

Anthea Streeter studied Fine and Decorative Arts in London and at Harvard University; it was at the latter that she developed her particular interest in 20th century architecture.  Since returning from America she has taught on courses in Oxford and London, lectured on the Country House course in Sussex, and for several private groups around the country.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will take place in the larger theatre.  Turn left after entering King William Court and use the lift at the end of the corridor to reach the first floor.


Hadrian is the Roman emperor we all think we know. We know he built Hadrian’s Wall and imagine him as a man of peace, either travelling continuously through his empire or living a life of luxury in his villa at Tivoli outside Rome.

But in reality he was a person of huge contrasts – a shrewd politician and ruthless general, as capable of massacre as mercy, an obsessive in everything he did, from amateur architecture to love. Though married to his wife Sabina for nearly 40 years, Hadrian’s greatest love was a young man Antinous, whom Hadrian turned into a god after his suspicious death.  In this lecture we try to find out more about Hadrian, this incredible, mysterious man.

Dr Paul Roberts is the Sackler Keeper of Antiquities at the  Ashmolean Museum, and was previously Senior Roman Curator in the Department of Greece and Rome at the British Museum. He studied at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Oxford and lived in Italy for several years. He has excavated in Britain, Greece, Libya Turkey and in particular Italy, where in September 2018 he'll be excavating a Roman Villa . His research focuses on the  day-to-day lives of ordinary people in the Greek and Roman worlds. 

He was the  curator of the major exhibition "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum", at the British Museum.   He is currently working on a major exhibition for 2019 "Roman Feasts - from the Table to the Grave”.

PLEASE NOTE: This lecture will take place in the larger theatre.  Turn left after entering King William Court and use the lift at the end of the corridor to reach the first floor. 



In 1515 King Henry VIII founded a new armourer's workshop. Kings of England had never had personal court armourers before, and in bringing Flemish and German craftsmen into his service Henry was following the most current courtly fashion.  High-quality armour had been made in England for at least 200 years previously, but Henry consciously rejected their work, as part of a new continentalism which defined his style of kingship.  For thirty years the master armourers at Greenwich made armour for the King's personal use, playing an essential role in casting him as a dominant player on the international stage of war and diplomacy.  The workshop continued to flourish after his death, enduring into the seventeenth century.

Tobias Capwell is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection and an internationally-acknowledged authority on Medieval and Renaissance weapons.  He is the author of numerous books on the subject of arms and armour and appears regularly on television, most recently on A Stitch in Time (BBC4).  In 2015 he had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of King Richard III, from the battlefield at Bosworth to their resting place in Leicester Cathedral.


The Nutcracker has delighted audiences at Christmas for many decades yet it was deemed a failure at its first performances and was very nearly lost to history.  We take a close look at how this much-loved ballet now takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with story-telling, dance, design, technology and more than a little onstage magic all come together to make a wonderful escape for young and old alike.  Fully illustrated with audio and performance video clips.

Nigel Bates has worked as a performer for nearly forty years in and out of London’s Royal Opera House, including seventeen years as Principal Percussion with the Orchestra.  In the course of over 6,000 performances, broadcasts and recordings he has worked with many of the leading figures in the classical music industry.  He was a producer for both the BBC's Maestro at the Opera and Pappano's Classical Voices television documentary series and in 2012 was appointed to the position of Music Administrator for The Royal Ballet.