Lecture Programme 2018-2019



11/09/2018     Charles Hajdamach.   20th Century Scandinavian glass.

In 1916 the Swedish firm of Orrefors took the exciting step of appointing fine artists to their design team. As a result their glass won endless awards at international exhibitions and became the benchmark for many other countries.

09/10/2018     Bertie Pearce .     The Punch and Judy Show

Mr Punch – the most famous puppet character of all time. His comic irreverence gave “Punch” magazine its title. His anarchic vitality has inspired opera, ballet and punk rock and his enduring popularity has seen his likeness on goods ranging from Victorian silverware to computer video games.

13/11/2018     Anne Sebba.   Les Parisiennes: How women lived, loved and died in Paris   1939-49

Les Parisiennes is a story about women’s lives during the dark years of Nazi occupation and beyond and includes British and American women caught in Paris as well as native born resisters who were eventually sent to camps, couturiers and jewelers, some of whom flourished in wartime, as well as actors, singers, night club dancers and housewives.

11/12/2018     Dr James Grant.   Medical Gold: From Ancient Egypt to the Nobel Prize

Today it is a substance used in medical instrumentation, investigation and cutting edge therapies. This lecture illustrates how artists such as Rogier Van Der Weyden, Joseph Wright and Gustav Klimt, as well as numerous goldsmiths and instrument makers, have defined medicine’s relationship with the most coveted of all the elements. The lecture ends by describing how the ultimate “medical gold”, the Nobel Prize, has acknowledged some of the fundamental advances in medical science.

08/01/2019     Dr Meri Arichi . The Silk Road and the Great Buddha of Nara

The colossal bronze statue of Buddha, over 16 metres high, was the symbol of the imperial authority, and its completion in 752 was marked by the grand ceremony, attended by Emperor, Empress, aristocrats, thousands of officials and monks, as well as foreign guests from many regions of Asia. The ceremonial artefacts used in this occasion are still preserved in the temple storehouse Shoso-in, together with the emperor’s personal belongings.

12/02/2019     Prof. Brendan Cassidy.  The Scots in Eighteenth-Century Rome: Artists, Antiquarians and Art Dealers 

By the second half of the eighteenth century, a number of highly educated Scotsmen, had all but cornered the market as guides & mentors to British tourists in Rome & Naples. They were scholars and intellectuals, archaeologists and art dealers, bankers and, occasionally, successful artists. Through their various activities, they played a central role in the formation of eighteenth-century British taste. This lecture will consider the achievements of these ‘men o’ pairts’, representatives of the Scottish Enlightenment abroad.      

12/03/2019    Roger Mitchell.    The Victorian House around the world

Having successfully taken the Georgian House around the World, I can now offer to do the same for the Victorian House in a single lecture. It is quite a challenge because there are so many houses and so many different styles

 09/04/2019     Sandra Pollard.   The Coterie: Children of the Souls

The Coterie, children of the Souls; an alternative aristocratic way of life in Edwardian England.  The Souls, and their children, the Coterie, were a self conscious group of aristocrats who, in the late Victorian and Edwardian period protested against the philistinism of contemporary aristocratic society, preferring personal intimacy, friendship and love of the arts, to field sports and vulgar display.

14/05/2019  Shauna Isaac. The Art of the Steal:  Nazi looting in WW II

The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II and the effects of Nazi looting are still evident today. This lecture will cover the following topics: setting the scene in Germany, the Fuhrermuseum, Nazi art repositories, Post War restitution and the Monuments Men, contemporary restitution issues and current international recovery efforts

11/06/2019    Andrew Spira.  Earthly Sciences of the Renaissance  

Earthly Science in the Renaissance.  I have the following:  The Renaissance was not only a time of epoch-making change in the arts.  There were also profound changes to what we now think of as aspects of science – thought the word ‘science’ did not exist at the time.  This lecture looks as the extraordinary progress made in the study of plants, animals, minerals and anatomy from the 14th to the 17th centuries, placing these developments in their cultural context and relating them to the arts.  Leonardo da Vinci was famously interested in all of these subjects but he was the tip of an iceberg.


TASDAG Lectures for 2019 – 2020

10th September ‘19              Diocletian’s Palace at Split                                  Isabella Image  

The emperor Diocletian saved the empire from collapse by instituting a new system of government. However, his most enduring legacy was probably his wide-ranging building schemes which included renovation work at Palmyra, Luxor and the existing Senate House in the Roman Forum.

This lecture looks at his monumental palace at Split (modern day Croatia) including the domed mausoleum and the southern facade along the sea front. We will also consider its impact on the young architect Robert Adam, and subsequently to its influence on neo-classicism and 18th century architecture.

8th October               People, Places and Piazzas.

The life and art of Charles H. Mackie                              Pat Clark

A comprehensive survey of his life and the development of his art, from his early struggles as an artist up to his final recognition as RSA, RSW. The people he met – Gauguin, Vuillard, Hornel- and the places he painted – Kirkcudbright, Normandy, Venice – form the core of the talk.

The illustrations cover all aspects of his oeuvre – watercolour, oil, tooled leatherwork woodblock prints and sculpture. A journey with this ‘forgotten man’ of Scottish art will provide evidence of his skill as a colourist and reclaim his place in art’s pantheon.

12th November        Mars and the Muses: the Renaissance Art of Armour             Tobias Capwell

Armour was one of the great Renaissance art-forms. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries most of the richest noblemen in Europe were dedicated patrons of the armourer’s art, a kind of visual language which they used to project their identity and prestige.

The armour-making process demanded both fantastic skill in the sculpting of iron and steel and mastery of decorative techniques such as acid-etching and mercury-gilding. This lecture serves as an introduction to the idea of armour as an expressive art-form, where the achievements of virtuoso armourers embodied splendour and richness while also carrying more complex messages about status, aristocratic associations, the social order and divine power.

10th December     Celebrate, rejoice, rise up! : Johann Sebastian Bach’s glorious Christmas    Oratorio                                                                                                                                                               Sandy Burnett  

Sandy Burnett’s close relationship with Bach’s music stretches back for decades; between 1997 and 2010 he directed a complete cycle of Bach’s sacred cantatas in West London. In this illustrated talk he explores how Bach brings the Christmas story alive in his Weihnachtsoratorium or Christmas Oratorio, written for Lutheran congregations in 1730s Leipzig. Starting with an overview of Bach’s life and achievement, Sandy moves on to an examination of this magnificent work which draws on various forms ranging from recitative, arioso, aria, chorale, and instrumental sinfonia through to full-blown choruses. In short, it harnesses the power of music and deploys it in the service of God.

14th January 2020                Classical Gardens: A New Perspective                                                                                                              Anthony Rayworth

For the first time in history, the garden is able to accommodate elements and approaches from previous generations whilst ensuring that wider considerations such as ecology, sustainability and the encouragement of wildlife are placed at the forefront of any design decision making process. One consequence of such awareness is a new perspective on what exactly constitutes a garden, as a re-appraisal of aesthetics and responsibilities has led to innovation in both design methodology and planting combination. This talk illustrates and discusses the integration of contemporary garden considerations within traditional garden contexts and how both approaches are raised by association.

11th February           The Prince Regent and his Collecting Mania                                                                                                     Nicholas Merchant

To be a Prince, to be handsome and rich would seemingly be to have it all, but the Prince Regent, later George IV, whilst having all these attributes was to undermine all these benefits by a life-style that was not only raffish, extravagant and selfish, but also that of a voluptuary. Ironically, he at the same time, through his collecting of works of art did much to re-establish the Royal Collection as one of the greatest in the world, and thus restore its preeminence, disastrously destroyed at the time of Oliver Cromwell. This talk explores not just the forming of the collection but something of the character of this conundrum of a prince. “The First Gentleman of Europe.”

10th March         Lawrence of Arabia: excavating a legend                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Neil Faulkner

On the basis of sensational new evidence from archaeological fieldwork, Neil will contrast the legend of Lawrence of Arabia with the true story of what happened in the famous desert war of 1916 to 1918. Is the legend a myth? Was Lawrence, as some claim, a liar and a charlatan? Or does the legend reflect reality? Was he, in fact, a brilliant military commander and a sincere advocate of the Arab national cause?  ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ is an early 20th century instance of celebrity culture. Neil will analyse the invention and re-invention of the legend from 1919 onwards through memoirs, photos, films, paintings, biographies, and documentaries.  The historical context for the legend was the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918. The numerous well-preserved archaeological remains of the conflict, mainly along the line of the former Hijaz Railway, have been the subject of a ten-year programme of field research led by Neil and his close colleague Professor Nick Saunders. Neil will summarise the key findings. Some representative archaeological objects will be on display.  He will also offer a new narrative and analysis of the war based on the archaeological evidence, leading to a new assessment both of Lawrence’s role and achievements, and of the relationship between art and reality in the creation of ‘celebrity’.

21st April  20.  The Bayeux Tapestry                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Imogen Corrigan

There is far more to be discovered about the Bayeux Tapestry than could ever be covered in one lecture. Who made it, where and why are the most frequently asked questions – although they might also be seen as less important beside the information the tapestry itself offers us. It is not just a narrative of the most famous battle in English history, but also of the build-up to it. It is a moral story showing that good cannot come to those who break their word. It is a story of kings, chivalry and ambition. Intriguingly, many crucial events are omitted and we can only speculate as to why. The tapestry itself is woven from only 10 different colours on linen, but remains as vibrant today as it must have been 900 years ago. The lecture looks at many of the scenes in detail and explores what might be learned from this depiction of a turning point in our history.


12th May 20.  Stripped Naked: The Nude in Art History                                                                            Stella Grace Lyons

The human body has long been a subject for artists and art historians. Looking at nude imagery from Classical Greece up until the present day, this lecture explores the roles of female nudes and male nudes in art. Is the female nude always an object of desire? Are male nudes always symbols of power? What has conditioned us to believe these notions? Are there artists who challenge the conventional gender roles? This talk will investigate these topics and look at how the nude reflects the social attitudes of the time.


9th June    The Most Exalted and Prodigal Magnificence:  Filippo Brunelleschi and the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore              Ross King

The octagonal dome that was to crown Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral begun in Florence in 1294, presented the most daunting architectural puzzle of the age: how to raise the highest and widest vault ever attempted. The cupola was to have a span greater than the Roman Pantheon—the world’s largest dome—and vaulting higher than any Gothic cathedral. The logistical problems were enormous. How could this enormous octagonal structure be made self-supporting? How could the tons of masonry be raised more than 200 feet in the air and laid into place with micrometric accuracy? This illustrated lecture examines the procedures developed by Filippo Brunelleschi as he worked on the dome between 1420 and 1436, successfully executing what is still the world’s largest masonry dome.