Lectures & Events

The Society runs a series of lectures on Wednesday evenings between September and April. They’re held at The American University in London, Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JP. The lectures frequently coincide with exhibitions running in the major London galleries.

Click here to download our lecture programme for 2018/19

The American University

The lectures start at 8pm and admission is free for members, guests pay £5. They are held in the lecture room situated in the basement of the Cyril Taylor Library building which is just beyond the main building.

There is some free parking on site, and the 371 bus stops outside the campus.

Click here for map

Please note: There is always the possibility that the lecture room might be needed at short notice by the University. If so, members will be advised by email and we will try to ensure that the website is updated.

2018/19 Lecture Programme

26th September 2018

A Provocative Beauty – the art of Grayson Perry

His beautiful, finely-crafted pottery, which frequently has a sting in the tail, and his colourful, imaginative and often amusing tapestries are enormously popular in the fine art world. In this lecture, Frank will look at his work in some detail, as well as considering his crossdressing alter ego, Claire, and his fondness for his childhood teddy bear, Alan Measles.

Lecturer: Frank Woodgate

17th October 2018

Contemporary British Sculptors: Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Mark Wallinger

Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Mark Wallinger are amongst the best known sculptors working in Britain today and have all had major commissions for public works of art. With a wide range of inspirations and motifs, the work of these three artists provides an interesting insight into contemporary views and preoccupations in Britain.

This lecture will look at examples of all three artists’ work, exploring both the common ground between them, and the differences in style, technique and themes.

Lecturer: Rosalind Whyte

31st October 2018

A Machine that Makes Art: from early computer drawing to the art of the iPad

To what extent does the hand of the artist need to be involved in the art-making? Artists such as David Hockney (on the iPad), Julian Opie, Jessica Steinkamp and others use computer code of simple instructions to generate complex and visually arresting art works. As well as considering the history, Catherine will explore the use of computing and digital systems in art today and look at the numerous and amazing works currently being created.

Lecturer: Catherine Mason

21st November 2018

Mantegna & Bellini

This lecture will tie in with an exhibition at The National Gallery in London. The exhibition will explore the relationship between two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance. Andrea Mantegna was a remarkable artist; a brilliant painter and draughtsman, pioneering printmaker, portrait painter and devotee of all things classical. Bellini was one of the most influential Venetian artists. He is celebrated for his pioneering portrayal of natural light, seen in such works as ‘The Agony in the Garden’.

Lecturer: Jo Walton

12th December 2018

Anni Albers

As a student at the radical and ostensibly egalitarian Bauhaus art school, Anni Albers, like other women, was barred from becoming a painter. Instead she enrolled in the weaving workshop and made textiles her means of expression. Albers (1899–1994) rose to become an influential figure, exploring the technical limits of hand-weaving to pioneer innovative uses of woven fabric as art, architecture and design. This lecture ties in with a full-scale retrospective exhibition of Albers work at Tate Modern.

Lecturer: Janeen Haythornthwaite

23rd January 2019

Art and Literature

The link between art and literature is crucial to an understanding of much of the art of the past. For centuries, the closer art was to literature, the greater the art. There were also practical reasons for creating ‘visible poetry’, thus raising the status of artist above that of a mere craftsman. Artists include Blake, Turner, Bosch, Burne-Jones, Delacroix, Poussin, Rossetti and Millais.

This lecture coincides with a retrospective exhibition of Burne-Jones work at Tate Britain.

Lecturer: Valerie Woodgate

13th February 2019

Painting at the Edge: Some Artists’ Coastal Colonies in Britain

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries a number of flourishing artist colonies grew up around the fringes of the British Isles. Many artists gathered in small fishing and farming communities on the coast because they were remote from towns and cities and preserved ways of life which were fast disappearing.

Lecturer: Peter Scott

6th March 2019

The World’s Most Expensive Art

Is a small piece of canvas worth as much as the world’s largest super yacht? The sums are astronomical, but these are top class works and this lecture is an excuse to examine some beautiful and varied art. We’ll include Picasso, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Leonardo, Modigliani, Klimt, Bacon, Gauguin and others. All held together by the common thread of changing hands for at least $100 million each.

Lecturer: Ian Swankie

27th March 2019

Sean Scully

Sean Scully RA was born in Dublin and raised in South London. He studied at Croydon College of Art and Newcastle University and now lives and works mostly in New York. His work is in permanent collections of many public galleries and museums all over the world and he was nominated for
the Turner Prize in 1989 and 1993. In April he will be exhibiting at the National Gallery, all new work inspired by the Gallery’s collection of paintings by Turner.

Lecturer: Colin Wiggins

10th April 2019 – 7pm AGM and at 8pm lecture

Hard Drink and Harlots in Art

Please note that this evening will start at 7pm for our AGM which will be followed by the lecture ‘Hard Drink and Harlots in Art’.

In 2015 the Musee d’Orsay mounted a fascinating exhibition entitled ‘Splendours and Miseries’ featuring how ‘ladies of the night’ had been depicted in art. At the same time Tate Britain displayed paintings on the theme of ‘Alcohol and Art’. The two subjects are often interwoven in the work of many artists including Hogarth, Rowlandson, Cruikshank, Degas, Lautrec, Picasso and others.

Lecturer: John Iddon