England and the Continent (18, 25/10, 1, 8/11/19)
This Autumn Jo Walton will be back with a series of 4 lectures on England and the Continent. The talks explore 4 stand alone topics, covered chronologically, each discussing how the English integrated continental developments into their own artistic ideas.
18/10: Pictures, Sculptures, Silks and Silver. Foreign Artists working in Britain from around 1650 to 1750In the turbulent years after the Civil War and Commonwealth, many foreign artists and craftsmen re-invigorated artistic life in Britain, whether they came to escape religious persecution, to explore a new land, or just to make money. From Huguenot silks and silver to the elegant portraits of Godfrey Kneller or Peter Lely, or the glorious sculptures of Michael Rysbrack or Louis Francois Roubiliac, this talk looks at the influence of the European Baroque on the art of Britain.
25/10: Sir Christopher Wren And The English BaroqueSt Paul’s Cathedral has become one of the icons of Britain; from the paintings of Canaletto to photographs of the Blitz, it rises above London. In this lecture we look at the remarkable genius of its creator, Sir Christopher Wren: scientist, anatomist, mathematician, architect and urban planner. Set amidst the lively and vibrant period of the Restoration and the Great Fire, find out how he transformed the skyline of London and created a new language for architects in England.
1/11: William Blake's Revolution
Today, we view the exquisite images and passionate writings of William Blake (1757 – 1827) as key elements of our culture, masterpieces of both British art and English Literature. To his contemporaries in the nineteenth-century he was both radical and subversive, an obstinately individual writer and artist who refused to compromise, even if that left him ignored and living in abject poverty. Revolution, political ferment and the industrial revolution were taking place during Blake’s life, changing the world he saw around him in previously unimagined ways. Against this background, we’ll explore Blake’s life and works and see how his personal vision reflected what was happening in the wider world.8/11: Traveller’s Tales – Italian Art Through The Eyes Of Victorian Visitors
Italy, in the mid nineteenth century, may have been a collection of poor, fragmented states, but it was also the destination for many English travellers.
Lord Byron, Ruskin, the Brownings and Dickens all visited, along with many others, and wrote of the art and culture they discovered. In this talk we’ll explore the history of Italian painting through the eyes of such visitors, discovering how they reacted to the early Renaissance beauty of Fra Angelico or the turbulent exuberance of Tintoretto. We’ll also hear what they thought of Italy in general, in an age when crossing the Alps was a major – and possibly dangerous – undertaking. This sort of cultural travel was not for the faint-hearted!
Old Town Hall
Richmond TW9 1TP
£12 per lecture
delivered by Jo Walton