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Monday, 25 January 2016 

Tom Duncan – Forty Shades of Green! Gardening in Ireland, past and present  


The history of gardening in Ireland broadly reflects the changes in Irish society over the last few hundred years. Formal gardening in the French manner was carried on, only Kilruddery survives. English classical gardening was carried on, only gardens created by Dean and Mrs. Delany at Delville survived. The broad and simplified landscape sweep of “Capability” Brown did indeed find enthusiasts. But it was the more wild and romantic landscape style of the late 18th and early 19th centuries which found a ready welcome. In the 19th century Ideas of husbandry and horticultural worth were widely debated and all gardeners benefited from the extraordinary range of plants arriving from all over the globe. From Ireland came one of the most influential figures of the late Victorian gardening world, William Robinson; so too, one of the greats of plant collecting, Augustine Henry. 20th century gardening was something practiced quietly. Great advances were made culminating in recent years with a true renaissance: old gardens restored, new gardens created, like so that in Helen Dillon’s marvellous garden in Dublin.



Monday, 29 February 2016   (20th Anniversary of BRIDFAS Berlin)

Peter Medhurst – Gilbert and Sullivan


This will be a very special evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of BRIDFAS Berlin which

will be held in the British Embassy Berlin thanks to the support of our Patron Nick Pickard.


The operas of Gilbert & Sullivan are rich in contemporary satire and witty personal allusions and this lecture recital shows how each of the 14 operas - on which the partners collaborated - drew inspiration from the world in which they lived.  As a result, celebrities, politicians, social mores, manners, artistic taste, the class system – even Queen Victoria’s red drawing room at Windsor Castle – are poked fun at.  Peter Medhurst will present a programme of songs and arias which he will self accompany on the piano.



Monday, 21 March 2016 

Sally Hoban – Marvels in Silver – George Jensen Jewellery


This lecture looks at the life and work of the Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866-1935) and the work of designers such as Nanna Ditzel and Henning Koppel who worked for Jensen in the mid-20th century. Jensen first established a worldwide reputation as a designer of flatware, hollow ware and jewellery in the Arts and Crafts style in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and went on to achieve fame worldwide as a designer of elegant and refined silver jewellery and metalware in the modernist style. Pieces by Georg Jensen and the work of the designers associated with the firm are highly sought after by collectors. He is one of the most influential designers of the 20th century



Monday, 25 April 2016

Shirley Smith – The Duc de Berry and His Glorious Hours


Jean, Duc de Berry was the son of the King of France and ruled over one of the most glittering courts of Europe. A great patron, he also commissioned some of the most beautiful works of art of the 14th and early 15th centuries, the most renowned today being the illuminated manuscript of the Très Riches Heures by three Flemish artists, the Limbourg Brothers. 2016 will be the 600th anniversary of the death of Jean de Berry and his three artists so a perfect reason to look again at the life of this illustrious duke and how it was reflected in this beautiful manuscript and, in turn, its influence on future artists.



Monday, 30 May 2016

Stephen Duffy – The Founders and Treasures of the Wallace Collection



The Wallace Collection, a national museum containing an outstanding array of paintings, furniture, porcelain, arms and armour, and other works of art, was brought together by five generations of one family between about 1780 and 1880. All the Founders were remarkable – and sometimes rather strange - men in their own right, but the greatest collectors were the 4th Marquess of Hertford and his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace, who lived most of their lives in Paris. It is their French upbringing which largely explains the strong, but by no means overwhelming, French emphasis to much of the Collection. This lecture tells the fascinating story of the Wallace Collection’s formation.


Our speaker Stephen Duffy has recently retired as Senior Curator of the Wallace Collection.




Monday, 20 June 2016  (additional lecture)


Thomas R. Hoffmann - "Hieronymus Bosch; Visionen eines Genies"


This lecture will be held in German.




Monday, 26 September 2016

Gail Turner – Goya the turbulence of his time


The Spanish artist Francisco de Goya’s long life spanned the reigns of four Bourbon monarchs, and a period of considerable social and political upheaval, including the Peninsular Wars.  His early works were designs for the royal Tapestry Works in Madrid, but by the 1790’s he branched out into portrait painting, political satire, imaginative commentaries, and experimental works.  Goya was an energetic and restless artistic genius whose paintings reflected the turbulence of his age



Monday, 24 October 2016 

Andrew Davies – New York, New York: An Architectural Discovery


Bustling, noisy, vibrant, New York epitomises the modern city at its best (and occasional worst). Sailing past the Statue of Liberty, we are processed as immigrants on Ellis Island before marvelling at this Leviathan of a metropolis whose skyline bristles with skyscrapers anchored on a grid system.Marvel at the Empire State, the Chrysler, the Flat Iron and the Rockefeller Centre.  Wonder at the Brooklyn Bridge, the delicious Frick, the Met, the Guggenheim and Central Park.As for the lavishly refurbished Grand Central....! Wow!



Monday, 28 November 2016

Timothy Wilcox - Gone in a flash? A history of Firework displays from Renaissance to the age of electricity 


The fireworks that mark great events such as the opening of the Olympics, or even the start of a New Year make an enormous impact. Despite their brevity, the displays live on through film and photography. For centuries, the very fact that the fireworks themselves were seen only for seconds and yet cost large amounts of money provoked a strong desire to record them and a large archive of visual evidence remains. When rulers such as Louis XIV or the Russian Emperors began to see the propaganda value of circulating images designed to impress and amaze, fireworks graduated from popular entertainment to become a sophisticated instrument of statecraft. This lecture takes an exhilarating look at one art form that is never likely to gather dust in a museum.




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