LECTURES

Our lectures always start at 11:00 on a Tuesday. It is usually the last Tuesday of the month but do look at the actual details as that sometimes changes. The lectures are held at the Pavilion Arts Centre in Buxton with the Pavilion Gardens Car Park (off Burlington Road) near by.

Saturday 6 July 10am-11am
Pavilion Arts Centre, £12

We are proud to sponsor another art-based event at the Buxton International Festival. Last year’s Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller’s talk was greatly enjoyed by our members so we have high hopes that our choice this year will be equally well received.


Florian Gadsby has devoted his life to pottery, refining his technique towards the point of perfection – and as his skill has grown, so has his social media following, which today numbers in the millions. Based at a studio in North London, he releases three new collections per year, characterized by simple forms and sharp edges,
which sell out in a matter of minutes. In By My Hands, Florian tells the story of his artistic awakening and of the sheer discipline which has led him to become the cultural sensation he is today. Arguing for the value in dedicating yourself to a craft, Florian weaves anecdotes about particular pots and processes into the narrative of his life and apprenticeship.


The World’s Greatest Paintings:
200 Years of The National Gallery

24 September 2024

2024 marks the bicentenary of the founding of the National Gallery. This lecture tells the story of the establishment of the NG collection beginning in 1824 when Lord Liverpool’s government purchased 38 paintings for £57,000 from the collection of businessman and philanthropist John Julius Angerstein. The paintings were initially displayed at 100 Pall Mall, Angerstein’s townhouse and by 1838, it was decided that a purpose built building was required, giving us the William Wilkins designed building we know and love on Trafalgar Square. During the course of the lecture we examine some of the high (and low) points of the early years of the gallery including suffragette sabotage, bombs and theft. We also take a close-up look at some of the original “Angerstein 38” paintings.

Simon Whitehouse


History Of Cartoons: from William Hogarth to Private Eye

29 October 2024

The first time the word Cartoon was used in the sense that we know it today was in 1843 in Punch magazine. But the employment of satire, caricature, speech bubbles and the writing of captions had been around long before then. In this talk Ian tracks the early stages of cartoons and how, through the works of William Hogarth and James Gillray, they gradually evolved. Copious illustrations abound  from the masters of their craft such as John TennielJohn LeechDavid LowVickyRonald SearleHeath Robinson and Giles; and, bringing it right up to date, with Gerald ScarfeSteven Bell and Peter Brookes.

Ian Keable


Palmyra: Bride of the Desert

19 November 2024

This lecture has still to be confirmed.

In this talk we look at one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, the fabled city of Palmyra, in the Syrian desert. Palmyra arose on a trade route that brought silk, spices and other luxuries across the desert from the east. Her wealth and power are displayed in gorgeous monuments, while her people, wealthy, sophisticated and cosmopolitan, are preserved in their hauntingly beautiful funeral portraits. Palmyra became so powerful during the Roman empire that its warrior queen Zenobia challenged Rome itself. We’ll see Palmyra’s meteoric rise and its dramatic fall, its rediscovery by English lords, its influence on art and architecture, and then its desecration by Isis. But we finish with the hope that beautiful Palmyra will rise again…  

Dr Paul Roberts


Like A Rolling Stone (The Music of The Sixties 1965-69)

28 January 2025

A return visit from Steve King to complete his lecture on the 60s. In 1965 British music dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and the Beatles were blazing a trail across the world. However, in America, the civil rights and anti-war movements were gaining momentum influencing a new breed of writers and musicians; electric folk was born, and album sales started to increase exponentially. This is the story of the second half of the sixties featuring the music of the Beatles, The Rollings Stones and Bob Dylan. 

For copyright reasons we are not able to Zoom this lecture

Steve King


Shaken by an Earthquake – Igor Stravinsky, the Ballets Russes, and the astonishing 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring

25 February 2025

The story of one of the greatest creative collaborations of all:  Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, whose team of dancers, choreographers, and costume and set designers transformed expectations of what a night in the theatre could be, and the circumstances behind its most notorious stage work of all. Sandy examines the build-up to the Rite of Spring’s premiere in Paris, takes a look at the original costumes, plays excerpts from this fascinatingly inventive score, and explores what divided opinions of that first-night audience quite so dramatically.  No, nothing could top the riot at the Rite in 1913…

Sandy Burnett


The Brilliance of Brunel
The Man Who Built The Modern World

25 March 2025

We are still living amongst the infrastructure created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 19 th century. He changed the face of the English landscape with his ground-breaking projects including railways, bridges, tunnels, ships, and grand buildings such as the magnificent Paddington Station. He merged art with engineering and science and was a pioneer and a revolutionary. And he was brilliant. We’ll look at the man, his background, his work and his legacy.

Ian Swankie


Legend and Lustre:
Jim Thompson and Thai Silk

29 April 2025

Jim Thompson arrived in Bangkok as a US army officer in 1945, fell in love with it and stayed. Captivated by the beauty of Thai silk, an ancient craft in decline, he resuscitated it and made it famous, creating costumes for films and embellishing his house, which today is a museum. An aesthete and art collector, he created an exquisite home from six hand carved teakwood houses brought from the countryside and filled it with Asian art. Here he became a legendary host. This lecture tells the story of his achievements, showing the intricate process of silk production and its illustrious heritage, including royal robes and temple murals. It touches on films featuring his silks, reveals his house and its art and reflects on a life that ended with his mysterious disappearance.

For copyright reasons we are not able to Zoom this lecture.

Denise Heywood


Britain as Workshop of the World
The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Establishment of the Victoria & Albert Museum

20 May 2025

This lecture focuses on the design impact of the Great Exhibition and the need for a ‘legacy institution’ in the form of the South Kensington Museum. We look at the building as a work of art and explore the work of William Morris, Fredrick Lord Leighton and other influential designers of the Victorian Age.

Anna Warrillow

This lecture will be followed by our AGM.