Art History and Literature

This is a selection of my talks on an artistic or literary theme. All talks are fully illustrated by PowerPoint presentations. I have my own projector and laptop if needed.

David Garrick: Man of Theatre, Man of Taste

David Garrick was born in Hereford and raised in Lichfield but became famous in London as an actor and manager of the Drury Lane Theatre. He was a superstar of his age, hob-nobbing with the aristocracy and artists, friends with Dr Johnson and others. He was a collector of objets d’art and books and his collection of Shakespeare folios is in the British Library. This lecture sets him in the context of the cultural and theatrical world of the mid-eighteenth century. See David Garrick: The Life and Career of an English Actor.


W.J. Bassett-Lowke, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and 78 Derngate, Northampton

W.J.Bassett-Lowke was a Northampton entrepreneur whose businesses made model trains, ships and architectural models in the first half of the 20th century. His interest in architecture led him to commission Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh to remodel a small house in Derngate in 1916 and the German architect Peter Behrens to design a new house in 1926, described by Niklaus Pevsner as ‘the first modern house in England’. 78 Derngate has been restored and opened to the public. This lecture looks at the patron, his architects and how the restoration was undertaken. See 78 Derngate.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh: His life and Career

An introduction to the life and career of Scottish architect and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


Charles Tunnicliffe: Artist and Illustrator:

Tunnicliffe was a prolific artist, illustrating everything from Tarka the Otter to Ladybird books and Brooke Bond tea cards. His main subjects were the natural and farming worlds, especially the bird life to be observed from his home at ‘Shorelands’, Malltraeth, Anglesey. This lecture looks at his life and work.


The Pitmen Painters

The Ashington Group began as a WEA art appreciation class in 1934. By 1936 the men were exhibiting their paintings to critical acclaim, nationally and, eventually, internationally. The last two members of the group still met and painted into the 1980s. In 2007 Lee Hall (script-writer of Billy Elliot), wrote a play, ‘Pitmen Painters’, based on the early years of the Ashington Group. This lecture explores the work of this group of Northumberland miners and those associated with the Spennymoor Settlement.

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