Lectures and Visits


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

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 adjacent to the main building.

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

Click on this link for map

Click on this link to download our lecture programme

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.



Introductory Offer to Non-Members 

Free entry to one lecture of your choice. There’s a terrific range of topics, from individual artists to movements and media.

Make your choice and then contact Jude Wild; judewild1@gmail.com or 07854962620.



27th September The Rise of Modern Sculpture: Rodin to Brancusi

Rodin rescued sculpture from becoming a Cinderella art form: he gave it a new and sexy high profile. This however was to trigger a further revolution embodied in the work of Brancusi. This lecture will look at key moments in this double bill rebirth of the medium.

Barrie Garnham
11th October Women Artists in Britain

Why are there comparatively few famous women artists? Covering the work of contemporary artists such as Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread, this talk explores whether it is now true to say that the sexes are on an equal footing in the world of art. This talk coincides with an exhibition of Rachel Whiteread’s work at Tate Britain.

Rosalind Whyte
25th October Salvador Dalí

This is to coincide with an exhibition of work by Dalí and Duchamp at the Royal Academy of Arts. At one time Dalí was the most well-known and popular artist of the twentieth century. His paintings of the invisible world of the unconscious mind were considered shocking even among a group of extremists like the Surrealists, and after joining them he quickly became their most exotic and well-known member. His soft watches and huge animals with stick-insect legs are among the most memorable invented images of our time, and his Christ of St. John of the Cross is a highly original re-working of one of the central themes of Western art. 

Valerie Woodgate
8th November Renaissance Drawing

The starting point of the 15th Century marks the beginning of the Renaissance and saw the development of perspective, an increased interest in classical forms and a greater focus on naturalism. It was during this period that artists began to make drawings as works of art in their own right, signifying the beginning of a wider appreciation of graphic works. 

Colin Wiggins
22nd November Russian Revolutionary Art

To coincide with the centenary of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and two major exhibitions at the Royal Academy and Tate Modern, this talk will explore a visual history of the artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia, including Kandinsky’s bold innovative compositions, the dynamic abstracts of Malevich and the Suprematists, the emergence of Socialist Realism and the evocative propaganda posters which promoted the ideologies of the Communist State. 

Linda Casey
13th December Gustav Klimt and the Viennese Secession

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is one of the most popular and influential artists of the modern period. His paintings, often embellished with gold and laden with eroticism, have been endlessly reproduced on such items as tea-towels, jewellery, ceramics and mouse-mats. But, there is far more to him than that. He played a critical role in the foundation and leadership of the Viennese Secession, a group of artists and artisans committed to innovation and renewal in art, architecture and design. The home of the Secession, a strikingly original building, bears the slogan “To the Age its Art, To Art its Freedom”, which called for a new unity of art and society. 

Peter Scott
24th January Golden Section: Divine proportion in art and architecture.

For thousands of years the mystery of the Golden Section has inspired thinkers from all disciplines – artists and architects, mathematicians and musicians. Discover the secrets of its sacred geometry and beauty within creations from classical to contemporary.

Alexandra Epps
7th February The life and art of Amedeo Modigliani

 This talk coincides with a major exhibition of his work at Tate Modern. Opinions are divided about what would have become of Modigliani, had he not died at the age of only 35. Some critics claim that he would have gone on to be a modern master, while many feel that he had already produced his greatest and most powerful works of both painting and sculpture before his untimely death. Born in Livorno, Italy in 1884 he settled in Paris in 1906 and was friendly with artists such as Picasso and absorbed influences from such varied sources as Botticelli and African tribal carving. 

Frank Woodgate
21st February Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites

 This talk will tie in with an exhibition at the National Gallery. Discover how van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ was one of the beacons by which the Pre-Raphaelites forged a radical new style of painting.

Clare Ford-Wille
7th March The Elgin Marbles

 In the two centuries since they were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin the meaning and significance of the ‘Elgin marbles’ has changed dramatically. From architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects this lecture looks at the response to them over their time in Britain, from the original controversy over their purchase to the current debate surrounding the restitution of the marbles to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. 

Alan Read
21st March Uncovering the Nation’s Hidden Oil Painting Collection

 The Public Catalogue Foundation, recently renamed Art UK, was set up to catalogue every oil painting in public ownership in the UK. This unique and ambitious project involved visiting 3,000 collections across the country and photographing over 212,000 paintings. The lecture offers an insider’s view of the project and describes how and why it was set up, some unusual collections visited, intriguing paintings uncovered, detective work involved and help given by the public. 

Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac
11th April 7pm AGM and 8pm Impressionists in London

 Please note that this evening will start at 7pm for our AGM and will be followed by a talk on Impressionists in London. This talk coincides with an exhibition at Tate Britain. There will be refreshments during the evening. 

John Iddon