Auckland Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 14 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

A Pilgrimage to St Catherine’s Monastery

St Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, Egypt was founded in the sixth century by Byzantine emperor Justinian I – the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the location of the legend of the Burning Bush and the resting place of the martyred body of St Catherine. The Greek Orthodox monastery is packed full of precious religious art – a splendid basilica with exquisite little chapels, intricately carved wooden doors and breathtaking mosaics, an amazing collection of the rarest early icons to survive, and a library of rare and beautiful religious manuscripts.

Sarah Cove

 Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 14 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Constable’s Great Landscapes: The materials and techniques of Constable’s exhibited oils of the 1820s-30s

Constable’s famous ‘six-footers’ include some of his most well-loved paintings: The White Horse (1819), The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size sketch. These sketches are extraordinary creations for the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his closest friends during his lifetime. Based on extensive technical research for a detailed catalogue essay for the ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ exhibition, at Tate Britain in 2006, this lecture discusses Constable’s diverse painting methods and brings to life his dynamic personality and artistic temperament, revealing a ‘Jackson Pollock of the 1830s’. It is illustrated with Sarah’s own highly detailed, colour slides taken during studio examinations of the paintings in preparation for the Tate exhibition.

Simon Rees

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 2 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Opera & Design

Opera is an elaborate, even extravagant, art form. From its earliest times at the beginning of the 17th century, up to the present day, it has employed artists and architects to design sets and costumes, and has used the richest materials and effects, often by means of tromp-l’oeil and other forms of visual trickery. Simon Rees traces the arts associated with opera through surviving drawings, paintings, early theatres and their scenery, up to the present day, where such artists as John Piper, Sidney Nolan and David Hockney have thrived as theatre designers. Simon Rees draws on his own experience as Welsh National Opera’s Dramaturg from 1989-2012 in delivering this detailed and entertaining account.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 27 June 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Cordoba Mosque – A Fusion of Cultures

This lecture considers the arrival of the Moors in Spain in 711 and the process of the building of the Mosque at Córdoba. This period of fertile growth in the arts and sciences will be discussed. It will end with a discussion of the meaning of the building today.

Julian Richards

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 25 July 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it’s instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 29 August 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

Gustav Klimt: Imperial Muralist Turned Radical Painter

Klimt was one of the most prominent figures in the Viennese fin de siècle, creating paintings whose sexual themes and bold use of colour and gold shocked an unsuspecting populace. Less is known about his early years as a muralist for the grand municipal buildings and royal and aristocratic palaces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This lecture looks at the many changes in Klimt’s life, his rejection of public pomp and the impact on his style and works.

John Benjamin

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 3 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Chloë Sayer

Auckland Lecture Date : Wednesday 7 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.

Canterbury Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 26 February 2018

Caroline has lectured in the UK, USA, Europe and Japan, New Zealand and Australia. She lectures for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, the Royal Horticultural Society, Martin Randall Travel, Swan Hellenic and the Landmark Trust. Caroline is a consultant designer specialising in evoking historical, artistic and symbolic references. She is the author of 11 books, including ‘Impressionists in their Gardens’, ‘Follies of Europe – Architectural Extravaganzas’ and ‘Monet at Giverny’. Her other credits include theatre productions: ‘How does your garden grow Mr. Shakespeare’ and ‘Impressionists in their Gardens – living light and colour’ and she is a presenter and contributor on television and BBC Radio 4.

Glorious Things: Discovering Byzantium Through Its Art

Inspired by the Royal Academy’s 2008/2009 ‘Byzantium Exhibition’ this lecture will reveal the diverse richness of the decorative arts of Byzantium. The aim is to trace the fascinating story of the Byzantine Empire, which flourished for over a thousand years, through the art of the period. Mosaics, ivory carvings, enamels, holy relics, silverware and icons are just some of the ‘wonderful things’ to be examined and discussed. Along the way the audience will encounter all manner of characters from emperors, empresses, Roman matrons, virgins and whores through a variety of art works from fourth-century buried treasure to tenth-century erotica – all with the ability to bring this colourful world back to life.

Sarah Cove

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 26 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

English Face? English Artist? The Materials & Techniques of British Portrait Painting, c.1530 to 1950

This lecture presents an overview of the painting techniques and materials used by artists to paint British sitters from c.1530 to the late 20th century, including works by Eworth, Gheeraerts, Larkin, Van Dyck, Lely and Kneller working through to lesser known 19th and 20th century portraits, mainly from private collections. Many of these painters were foreigners who imported revolutionary styles, new materials and techniques from the continental painting tradition. Common practices of Tudor and Jacobean painters’ workshops will be described along with their meticulous approach to the craft of painting, before the advent of ‘signature’ artists. In the 19th and 20th centuries there is more emphasis on rapid brushwork, newly invented pigments and ready-made materials that could be easily purchased, leading in some cases, to a deterioration in technique and the premature ageing of comparatively ‘young’ pictures.

Simon Rees

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 14 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Opera & Design

Opera is an elaborate, even extravagant, art form. From its earliest times at the beginning of the 17th century, up to the present day, it has employed artists and architects to design sets and costumes, and has used the richest materials and effects, often by means of tromp-l’oeil and other forms of visual trickery. Simon Rees traces the arts associated with opera through surviving drawings, paintings, early theatres and their scenery, up to the present day, where such artists as John Piper, Sidney Nolan and David Hockney have thrived as theatre designers. Simon Rees draws on his own experience as Welsh National Opera’s Dramaturg from 1989-2012 in delivering this detailed and entertaining account.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 9 July 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

From Cubism to Surrealism: Dali, Lorca & Bunuel

This lecture will explore Dalí’s early years of painting and his relationship with two friends he met at school in Madrid. It will show how they collaborated with drawings, paintings, poetry and film between 1920 and 1930. It will explore how Dalí’s style changed over that period and shed light on some of the hidden messages within his work.

Julian Richards

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 6 August 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

The Art of the Prehistoric Potter

Pottery first appeared in Britain about 6000 years ago, simple vessels made of local clay and fired in bonfires.  But even these, the very earliest ceramics in Britain are capable of sophistication, some prized and traded over great distances. From this time on, until the coming of the Romans some 4000 years later, prehistoric potters hand-formed and fired a wide range of vessels for both domestic and more ceremonial use. The scale of some is impressive, funerary urns nearly 1m high, while the elaborate decoration and sophisticated firing techniques required to make the first ‘Beakers’ in about 2500BC still puzzle modern potters.  This lecture will demonstrate that in ceramics, our ancestors were both technically skilled and capable of producing pots of great beauty and power.

Gavin Plumley

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 10 September 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

The Two Gustavs: Mahler & Klimt

Gustav Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the imperially endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Secession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. Comparing these two totemic fin-de-siècle talents, this lecture places Klimt and Mahler in context, asking what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides them.

John Benjamin

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 15 October 2018

Christchurch Half Study Day : Tuesday 16 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow

Lecture – At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Half Study Day – Cartier, Harry Winston & Ratners

From the “Golden Era” of diamond production in the late 19th century to “cloned” production on a global scale, this presentation examines the progress of jewellery design in the 20th century and covers such crucial topics as Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, the power of platinum, the rise of the big international jewellery houses, Art Deco, Post-War Retro, the fun 1960s, the experimental 1970s, the insidious growth of enhancements in the 1980s and the development of so-called “cultured” diamonds which threaten to destabilise the industry today.

This Half Study Day will be held at Chateau on the Park, 189 Deans Avenue, from 9.30am to 12.00pm. Closer to the event, Members will receive an email with a registration form and will be able to express an interest by returning the completed for to the Treasurer. Cost $35 per person.

Chloë Sayer

Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 19 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Festivals in Modern Mexico

Mexico has a vast range of cultures and a rich variety of festivals. While some festivals commemorate national events, most are religious in inspiration. After the Spanish Conquest of 1521, priests used theatrical representation as a method of instruction. Centuries later, many ceremonies still draw on the pre-Christian beliefs and practices of ancient civilisations like those of the Aztec and the Maya. The yearly festive cycle incorporates Carnival, Holy Week, Corpus Christi, and local Saints’ Days. December 12 belongs to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico and an important symbol of national identity. The Christmas story is acted out in towns and villages. Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival combines Christian elements with aspects inherited from earlier religions. According to popular belief, the souls of the dead have divine permission to return each year to Earth. On All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (1 and 2 November) they are welcomed by the living. Folk artists make ceremonial pottery and delicate banners of cut paper. Home altars are made beautiful with offerings of flowers and fruit. This is not a sombre occasion, but a time for feasting and reunion. Chloë Sayer has written several books about Mexican festivals. This lecture draws on her travels in Mexico and features some of the objects that she has collected for the British Museum.

Hawke’s Bay Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 12 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

Glorious Things: Discovering Byzantium Through Its Work

Inspired by the Royal Academy’s 2008/2009 ‘Byzantium Exhibition’ this lecture will reveal the diverse richness of the decorative arts of Byzantium. The aim is to trace the fascinating story of the Byzantine Empire, which flourished for over a thousand years, through the art of the period. Mosaics, ivory carvings, enamels, holy relics, silverware and icons are just some of the ‘wonderful things’ to be examined and discussed. Along the way the audience will encounter all manner of characters from emperors, empresses, Roman matrons, virgins and whores through a variety of art works from fourth-century buried treasure to tenth-century erotica – all with the ability to bring this colourful world back to life.

Sarah Cove

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 12 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

A Day In The Life Of A Picture Restorer

This lecture discusses the nature of oil painting materials, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and common problems associated with the ageing and deterioration of, and damage to, easel paintings. Problems can involve natural deterioration and neglect, accidental damage, vandalism and even war. Modern ‘museum standard’ approaches to conservation and restoration will be illustrated with detailed slides ranging from early Italian religious paintings in egg tempera via rapid oil sketches on paper by John Constable to 20th century British paintings and modern abstract works. Hints and advice on the general care of paintings in homes is given in liberal doses throughout!

Simon Rees

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 30 April 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Theatre Illusions

Theatre has always been known for its capacity for creating illusion and suspending disbelief. Simon Rees draws on centuries of disguises, masks, make-up, ingenious apparatuses, trick trapdoors, smoke, mirrors and bungee-jumping Rhinemaidens, bringing his entertaining account of theatre illusion up to the present day. The tricks of the 18th and 19th century theatres are exposed in all their working machinery, including the celebrated Pepper’s Ghost, and modern theatre’s copious use of illusion, developed in competition with that of the cinema, is explored in artistic and technical detail.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 25 June 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Gaudi & Catalan Modernista Architecture

Gaudi is well known and much loved. It will be the aim of this lecture to uncover the other architects working in Barcelona over the turn of the twentieth century. Comparisons will be made between the work of three great architects. Attention will be paid to a number of significant and less well known buildings in Barcelona.

Julian Richards

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 23 July 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired By Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it now graces tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 27 August 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

The Art & Culture of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and others figures in the context of the society in which they worked, this talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.

John Benjamin

Half Study Day : Monday 1 October 2018, 9am to 12pm

Venue : havelock north function centre, Havelock North

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

Part A : A History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor

Four hundred years of international jewellery design, examining the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. This presentation covers many of the key elements of manufacture, including the progress of diamond cutting, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, 19th Century Archaeological and Renaissance Revivalism, the impact of diamond mining in South Africa, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, Post War Modernism and designs of the future. Other important areas covered include Cartier and the introduction of platinum jewellery as a statement of style and the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor.

Part B : Jewellery Evaluation

Members are encouraged to bring a maximum of two pieces of jewellery to this session. John will discuss in open forum the age, description and value of each item. Note – no watches please.

To register please email hawkesbay@theartssociety.org. Cost is $30pp with morning tea included.

John Benjamin

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 1 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

During his lifetime H G Murphy had a reputation second to none as Britain’s leading jewellery designer and one of the most influential and accomplished silversmiths of the Art Deco and Arts & Crafts periods. His greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest goldsmith of the Arts & Crafts era. From 1928 until his death in 1939 Harry worked from retail premises in London, known as the Falcon Studio where he created a prodigious amount of silverware as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Chloë Sayer

 

Havelock North Lecture Date : Monday 5 November 2017 at 7pm

 

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. Together they made Mexico a magnet for the rest of the world.The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.

Marlborough Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 22 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

Glorious Things: Disovering Byzantium Through Its Art

Inspired by the Royal Academy’s 2008/2009 ‘Byzantium Exhibition’ this lecture will reveal the diverse richness of the decorative arts of Byzantium. The aim is to trace the fascinating story of the Byzantine Empire, which flourished for over a thousand years, through the art of the period. Mosaics, ivory carvings, enamels, holy relics, silverware and icons are just some of the ‘wonderful things’ to be examined and discussed. Along the way the audience will encounter all manner of characters from emperors, empresses, Roman matrons, virgins and whores through a variety of art works from fourth-century buried treasure to tenth-century erotica – all with the ability to bring this colourful world back to life.

Sarah Cove

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 22 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Constable’s Great Landscapes – The Materials & Techniques of Constable’s Exhibited Oils of the 1820s-30s

Constable’s famous ‘six-footers’ include some of his most well-loved paintings: The White Horse (1819), The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size sketch. These sketches are extraordinary creations for the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his closest friends during his lifetime. Based on extensive technical research for a detailed catalogue essay for the ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ exhibition, at Tate Britain in 2006, this lecture discusses Constable’s diverse painting methods and brings to life his dynamic personality and artistic temperament, revealing a ‘Jackson Pollock of the 1830s’. It is illustrated with Sarah’s own highly detailed, colour slides taken during studio examinations of the paintings in preparation for the Tate exhibition.

Simon Rees

Blenheim Lecture : Thursday 10 May 2018

Blenheim Half Study Day: Friday 11 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Lecture : Theatre Illusions

Theatre has always been known for its capacity for creating illusion and suspending disbelief. Simon Rees draws on centuries of disguises, masks, make-up, ingenious apparatuses, trick trapdoors, smoke, mirrors and bungee-jumping Rhinemaidens, bringing his entertaining account of theatre illusion up to the present day. The tricks of the 18th and 19th century theatres are exposed in all their working machinery, including the celebrated Pepper’s Ghost, and modern theatre’s copious use of illusion, developed in competition with that of the cinema, is explored in artistic and technical detail.

Half Study Day: Opera & Design

Lecture Room, Marlborough Museum  |  9.00am-12.30pm | $35pp incl morning tea  | Register at  marlboroughdfas@gmail.com

Opera is an elaborate, even extravagant, art form. From its earliest times at the beginning of the 17th century, up to the present day, it has employed artists and architects to design sets and costumes, and has used the richest materials and effects, often by means of tromp-l’oeil and other forms of visual trickery. Simon Rees traces the arts associated with opera through surviving drawings, paintings, early theatres and their scenery, up to the present day, where such artists as John Piper, Sidney Nolan and David Hockney have thrived as theatre designers. Simon Rees draws on his own experience as Welsh National Opera’s Dramaturg from 1989-2012 in delivering this detailed and entertaining account.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 5 July 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

From Cubism to Surrealism: Dali, Lorca & Bunuel

This lecture will explore Dalí’s early years of painting and his relationship with two friends he met at school in Madrid. It will show how they collaborated with drawings, paintings, poetry and film between 1920 and 1930. It will explore how Dalí’s style changed over that period and shed light on some of the hidden messages within his work.

Julian Richards

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 2 August 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it’s instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 6 September 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

The Art & Culture of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and others figures in the context of the society in which they worked, this talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.

John Benjamin

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 11 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Chloë Sayer

Blenheim Lecture Date : Thursday 15 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

The Aztec Legacy: Continuity & Change

The Aztecs of central Mexico have been described as warlike and bloodthirsty, yet their creative achievements were breathtaking. The Aztecs flourished between 1325 and 1521, when they surrendered to invading Spanish forces. As a late civilisation, the Aztecs were able to benefit from earlier advances made by the Olmecs and by the founders of Teotihuacan and Tula. Tenochtitlan, the shimmering Aztec city, was built on a lake. This Venice of the New World, with a population of 250,000 inhabitants, lay at the heart of a vast empire. Religion dominated every aspect of Aztec life. Military might was accompanied by exceptional developments in art and architecture. Aztec creativity found expression in miniature gold objects, fine ceramics, monumental stone sculpture, exquisite turquoise mosaics, featherwork, and precious pictorial manuscripts. In 2013-2014, stunning artefacts from major Mexican museums were shown at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington. More than 200 sacred objects, brought together for Aztecs: Conquest and Glory, offered an insight into the beliefs and way of life of the Aztec nation. This unforgettable exhibition, which later toured Australia, charted the glorious, dramatic and ultimately tragic story of the rise and fall of the Aztec Empire. Aztecs: Conquest and Glory. Despite the devastation that marked the Spanish Conquest, many Native arts and beliefs have survived to the present day. Náhuatl, the official language of the Aztec empire, is spoken by approximately two million people. Textile and ceramic traditions, mask-carving, dances, festivals, and celebrations for the Days of the Dead have their roots in the past.

Nelson Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 21 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

A Pilgrimage to St Catherine’s Monastery

St Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, Egypt was founded in the sixth century by Byzantine emperor Justinian I – the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, the location of the legend of the Burning Bush and the resting place of the martyred body of St Catherine. The Greek Orthodox monastery is packed full of precious religious art – a splendid basilica with exquisite little chapels, intricately carved wooden doors and breathtaking mosaics, an amazing collection of the rarest early icons to survive, and a library of rare and beautiful religious manuscripts.

Sarah Cove

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 21 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 she appeared in the Constable episode of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

A Day in the Life of a Picture Restorer

This lecture discusses the nature of oil painting materials, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and common problems associated with the ageing and deterioration of, and damage to, easel paintings. These can be on canvas, panel, board or paper in a range of mediums: oil, acrylic, egg tempera, or mixed media. Problems can involve natural deterioration and neglect, accidental damage, vandalism and even war –the most surprising event being a large hole caused by a Turkish cannon ball going through a picture in the 18th century!! Modern ‘museum standard’ approaches to conservation and restoration will be illustrated with detailed slides ranging from early Italian religious paintings in egg tempera via rapid oil sketches on paper by John Constable to 20th century British paintings and modern abstract works. Hints and advice on the general care of paintings in homes is given in liberal doses throughout!

Simon Rees

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 9 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Opera & Design

Opera is an elaborate, even extravagant, art form. From its earliest times at the beginning of the 17th century, up to the present day, it has employed artists and architects to design sets and costumes, and has used the richest materials and effects, often by means of tromp-l’oeil and other forms of visual trickery. Simon Rees traces the arts associated with opera through surviving drawings, paintings, early theatres and their scenery, up to the present day, where such artists as John Piper, Sidney Nolan and David Hockney have thrived as theatre designers. Simon Rees draws on his own experience as Welsh National Opera’s Dramaturg from 1989-2012 in delivering this detailed and entertaining account.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 4 July 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Gaudi & Catalan Modernista Architecture

Gaudi is well known and much loved. It will be the aim of this lecture to uncover the other architects working in Barcelona over the turn of the twentieth century. Comparisons will be made between the work of 3 great architects. Attention will be paid to a number of significant and less well known buildings in Barcelona.

Julian Richards

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 1 August 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it’s instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 5 September 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

John Benjamin

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 10 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

A History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor

Four hundred years of international jewellery design, examining the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. This presentation covers many of the key elements of manufacture, including the progress of diamond cutting, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, 19th Century Archaeological and Renaissance Revivalism, the impact of diamond mining in South Africa, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, Post War Modernism and designs of the future. Other important areas covered include Cartier and the introduction of platinum jewellery as a statement of style and the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor.

Chloë Sayer

Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 14 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. Together they made Mexico a magnet for the rest of the world. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears.  Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.

Otago Programme: Lecturer Biographics and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 28 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

Buried Treasures: Spectacular Hoards of Late Roman Silver

 

The Late Roman era was a period of crisis riven by civil wars and barbarian invasions (Rome was sacked in 410 by Alaric the Goth). As a consequence of the break-down of society valuables were often buried for safe-keeping – the owners of which often failed to return to claim them. This lecture will examine a fabulous selection of silver vessels from these enigmatic and mysterious silver treasure troves (still being discovered and unearthed today). Marvel at the beauty and rarity of these magnificent objects within the context of their classical heritage and the lives of the people who once owned them.

Sarah Cove

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 28 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

English Face? English Artist? The Materials & Techniques of British Portraits c.1530 to 1950

This lecture presents an overview of the painting techniques and materials used by artists to paint British sitters from c.1530 to the late 20th century, including works by Eworth, Gheeraerts, Larkin, Van Dyck, Lely and Kneller working through to lesser known 19th and 20th century portraits, mainly from private collections. Many of these painters were foreigners who imported revolutionary styles, new materials and techniques from the continental painting tradition. Common practices of Tudor and Jacobean painters’ workshops will be described along with their meticulous approach to the craft of painting, before the advent of ‘signature’ artists. In the 19th and 20th centuries there is more emphasis on rapid brushwork, newly invented pigments and ready-made materials that could be easily purchased, leading in some cases, to a deterioration in technique and the premature ageing of comparatively ‘young’ pictures.

Simon Rees

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 16 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

The Violin in Art & Craft

The violin is an instrument with a long history, dating back to the early rebecs and viols of the middle ages. During the 16 th century its form was perfected, and in the following centuries such makers as members of the Stradivarius, Amati and Guarnerius families in Cremona, and Jacob Stainer in Austria, made instruments that are still played today, as well as being used as models by contemporary violin makers. For the whole of this long period, the violin in its various forms has been the subject of paintings, drawings and prints, and much of the early history of the instrument is contained in these. Artists such as Domenico di Bartolo, Dosso Dossi, Franz Hals, Pieter Claes, Judith Leyster, Stephen Seymour Thomas and Martin Cavell incorporated violins in religious, genre and vanitas paintings. Simon Rees, a keen amateur violinist himself, traces the history of this beautiful instruments and illustrates it with images and recorded music.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 11 July 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Gaudi & Catalan Architecture

Gaudi is well known and much loved. It will be the aim of this lecture to uncover the other architects working in Barcelona over the turn of the twentieth century. Comparisons will be made between the work of 3 great architects. Attention will be paid to a number of significant and less well known buildings in Barcelona.

Julian Richards

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 8 August 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

A Potted History of Britain

 

The first pots appeared in Britain about 6000 years ago and this lecture will chart the ways in which ceramic production has evolved from this time to the present day. From the hand-formed and bonfire-fired pots of our prehistoric ancestors to the products of both modern industry and individual craft potters, this lecture will examine the major changes that have shaped the ways pots are produced and distributed. Roman industrialisation, the introduction of the potters wheel and kiln, the effects of the industrial revolution on rural potteries and the rise of the art potteries of the 19th century are all part of this evolving story, told through the pots themselves and the potters that made them. This is a genuinely a ‘potted history’.

Gavin Plumley

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 12 September 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

John Benjamin

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 17 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

 

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

 

Chloë Sayer

Dunedin Lecture Date : Wednesday 21 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.

 

Waikato Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 15 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

Glorious Things: Discovering Byzantium Through Its Art

Inspired by the Royal Academy’s 2008/2009 ‘Byzantium Exhibition’ this lecture will reveal the diverse richness of the decorative arts of Byzantium. The aim is to trace the fascinating story of the Byzantine Empire, which flourished for over a thousand years, through the art of the period. Mosaics, ivory carvings, enamels, holy relics, silverware and icons are just some of the ‘wonderful things’ to be examined and discussed. Along the way the audience will encounter all manner of characters from emperors, empresses, Roman matrons, virgins and whores through a variety of art works from fourth-century buried treasure to tenth-century ‘porn’ – all with the ability to bring this colourful world back to life.

Sarah Cove

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 15 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practicing Paintings Conservator, Accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

A Day in the Life of a Picture Restorer

This lecture discusses the nature of oil painting materials, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and common problems associated with the ageing and deterioration of, and damage to, easel paintings. These can be on canvas, panel, board or paper in a range of mediums: oil, acrylic, egg tempera, or mixed media. Problems can involve natural deterioration and neglect, accidental damage, vandalism and even war –the most surprising event being a large hole caused by a Turkish cannon ball going through a picture in the 18th century!! Modern ‘museum standard’ approaches to conservation and restoration will be illustrated with detailed slides ranging from early Italian religious paintings in egg tempera via rapid oil sketches on paper by John Constable to 20th century British paintings and modern abstract works. Hints and advice on the general care of paintings in homes is given in liberal doses throughout!

Simon Rees

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 3 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

Opera & Design

Opera is an elaborate, even extravagant, art form. From its earliest times at the beginning of the 17th century, up to the present day, it has employed artists and architects to design sets and costumes, and has used the richest materials and effects, often by means of tromp-l’oeil and other forms of visual trickery. Simon Rees traces the arts associated with opera through surviving drawings, paintings, early theatres and their scenery, up to the present day, where such artists as John Piper, Sidney Nolan and David Hockney have thrived as theatre designers. Simon Rees draws on his own experience as Welsh National Opera’s Dramaturg from 1989-2012 in delivering this detailed and entertaining account.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Hamilton Lecture Date : 15 June 2017

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Gaudi & Catalan Modernista Architecture

Gaudi is well known and much loved. It will be the aim of this lecture to uncover the other architects working in Barcelona over the turn of the twentieth century. Comparisons will be made between the work of 3 great architects. Attention will be paid to a number of significant and less well known buildings in Barcelona.

Julian Richards

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 26 July 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how it’s instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 30 August 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

The Art & Culture of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

At the turn of the last century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Looking at these and others figures in the context of the society in which they worked, this talk asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.

John Benjamin

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 4 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Chloë Sayer

Hamilton Lecture Date : Thursday 8 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish-speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.

Wellington Programme: Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Helen Rufus-Ward

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 19 February 2018

Helen Rufus-Ward is an Art Historian with a BA, MA and a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Sussex. She has lectured and taught at the University of Sussex since 2007 on all aspects of art history, but her specialism is early Christian and Byzantine art.  Helen has published on Late Antique and Byzantine ivory carvings and 19th century plaster cast collecting. An experienced speaker who has delivered lectures at many universities and art institutions, including the Wallace Collection and the Society of Antiquaries of London, Helen has also led special interest tours in the UK and Europe.

Hagia Sophia: Constantinople’s Glorious Church of the Holy Wisdom

The cathedral church of Hagia Sophia (an UNESCO World Heritage Site) was built in the sixth century by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I at the heart of the empire’s capital Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). The emperor spared no expense for its interior decoration from its enormous dome (56 metres from floor level), to the use of expensive and rare materials – multi-coloured marbles, monumental bronze doors and sparkling mosaics. A main focus of the lecture will be an examination of the church’s world famous mosaics which offer an insight into the secret world of powerful emperors and empresses.

Sarah Cove

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 19 March 2018

Sarah Cove is a practising Paintings Conservator, accredited by the UK Institute of Conservation. Alongside running her busy conservation business in London and Cornwall, she is one of Britain’s foremost Technical Art Historians and an internationally recognised speaker and lecturer. Her areas of expertise are 16-20c. British portraiture and 19-20c. British landscape painting. Sarah’s research on John Constable’s painting technique, the ‘Constable Research Project’, celebrated its 30th year in 2016 with lectures in London, Copenhagen and a highly successful ADFAS tour. Publications include essays in the Tate Gallery’s exhibition catalogues for ‘Constable’ (1991) and ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ (2006) and a ground-breaking study of the materials and techniques of Jacobean portrait painter William Larkin, published in 2012 by English Heritage. In 2006 Sarah co-led the Constable ‘Six-footers’ symposium at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and in 2014 and 2017 she appeared in the Constable episodes of the BBC’s ‘Fake or Fortune?’. Sarah is a Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers and of the International Institute for the Conservation and Preservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Constable’s Great Landscapes: The Materials & Techniques of Constable’s exhibited oils of the 1820s-30s

Constable’s famous ‘six-footers’ include some of his most well-loved paintings: The White Horse (1819), The Haywain (1821), The Leaping Horse (1825) and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows (1831). Their compositions were derived from small pencil and oil studies and for each Constable painted a full-size sketch. These sketches are extraordinary creations for the early 19th century and were unseen by all but his closest friends during his lifetime. Based on extensive technical research for a detailed catalogue essay for the ‘Constable: The Great Landscapes’ exhibition, at Tate Britain in 2006, this lecture discusses Constable’s diverse painting methods and brings to life his dynamic personality and artistic temperament, revealing a ‘Jackson Pollock of the 1830s’. It is illustrated with Sarah’s own highly detailed, colour slides taken during studio examinations of the paintings in preparation for the Tate exhibition.

Simon Rees

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 7 May 2018

Simon Rees studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, receiving a BA and an MA in English Literature. He has taught in Italy and Japan, exploring the art and architecture of both countries. From 1989 to 2012 Simon was Dramaturg at Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, working with set, costume and props designers and giving lectures on their work in opera production. He is now a freelance writer and lecturer and travels extensively presenting lectures on opera, art history and literature. Simon has published several novels (including the award-winning The Devil’s Looking-Glass), poems and opera librettos.

The Violin in Art and Craft

The violin is an instrument with a long history, dating back to the early rebecs and viols of the middle ages. During the 16 th century its form was perfected, and in the following centuries such makers as members of the Stradivarius, Amati and Guarnerius families in Cremona, and Jacob Stainer in Austria, made instruments that are still played today, as well as being used as models by contemporary violin makers. For the whole of this long period, the violin in its various forms has been the subject of paintings, drawings and prints, and much of the early history of the instrument is contained in these. Artists such as Domenico di Bartolo, Dosso Dossi, Franz Hals, Pieter Claes, Judith Leyster, Stephen Seymour Thomas and Martin Cavell incorporated violins in religious, genre and vanitas paintings. Simon Rees, a keen amateur violinist himself, traces the history of this beautiful instruments and illustrates it with images and recorded music.

Jacqueline Cockburn

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 2 July 2018

Jacqueline Cockburn is a linguist and art historian with first degrees in French and Spanish and Art History, and a Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her B.A and PhD in Art History were taken at Birkbeck College, University of London where she also lectured on Western European Art for 20 years. Her doctoral thesis was on ‘The Drawings of Garcia Lorca as Gifts’. She has published The Spanish Song Companion and contributed to various academic publications on art historical subjects. Jacqueline was also Head of Department of Art History at Westminster School for 16 years before launching her new career as a free-lance lecturer and establishing her own art tour company.

Velázquez: The Meaning of Las Meninas 1656

In this lecture one painting will be discussed in detail. This painting with its extraordinary use of perspective will be unravelled in terms of the artist’s own life and wishes and his relationship with the Monarchy at the time. Other works will be shown to prove some of Velázquez’s influences and some discussion of the impact of the painting on artists such as Picasso will be undertaken.

Julian Richards

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 30 July 2018

Julian Richards studied archaeology at Reading University and has since worked as a professional archaeologist for English Heritage, the BBC and as an independent. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1992 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in July 2016. He has been involved in teaching and outreach projects, lecturing widely in continuing education, to groups and societies and to special interest tour companies. Julian’s career in broadcasting has included researching and presenting ‘Meet the Ancestors’ and ‘Blood of the Vikings’ for BBC2, and ‘Mapping the Town’ for Radio 4. He is the author of a number of English Heritage publications on Stonehenge and is the guest curator of ‘Wish you were here’, an exhibition of his own extensive collection of ‘Stonehengiana’ which is currently on display at the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

Inspired by Stonehenge

Stonehenge is the most celebrated and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the British Isles. This lecture explains why Stonehenge must be regarded as architectural in its layout and construction, embodying  techniques that for centuries convinced antiquarians that it could not have been built by ‘primitive’ ancient Britons but must be a product of ‘sophisticated’ Romans. We then explore how, over the last two centuries, this iconic structure has inspired painters, potters and poets. Blake, Turner, Constable and Moore are amongst those who have all been drawn to this magnificent ruin, resulting in a diverse catalogue of images and impressions. Finally, we will look at Stonehenge as a global icon and how its instantly recognisable stones now grace tea towels in Wiltshire, phone cards in Japan and stamps from Bhutan.

Gavin Plumley

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 3 September 2018

Gavin Plumley is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian and The Times, as well as in opera and concert programmes around the world.  A well known expert on Central European culture and classical music during the 19th and 20th centuries, Gavin lectures widely and has given talks at the National Gallery, British Museum, Royal Opera House, V&A, BBC Proms, Southbank Centre, Tate and Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

After World War I, artists and architects were in a state of flux, just like the world they inhabited. How could they create and what, indeed, would they produce in a Europe still reeling from the worst conflict ever known? Yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour. Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad, alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this talk looks at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

John Benjamin

Wellington Half Study Day – Sunday 7 October 2018

Wellington Lecture – Monday 8 October 2018

John Benjamin F.G.A., D.G.A. began his career in 1972 at Cameo Corner, the celebrated Bloomsbury jewellers, well-known for its unrivalled stock of ancient, Renaissance, 18th and 19th century jewellery. After qualifying as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association, he gained the Association’s diamond diploma with distinction and joined Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers as a cataloguer and valuer. He remained at Phillips for 23 years ultimately becoming International Director of Jewellery with responsibility for the sale programme in London and Geneva. In 1999 he established his own independent jewellery consultancy, John C Benjamin Limited.  John is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Freeman of the City of London. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Goldsmiths’ Institute of Registered Valuers and lectures on a wide range of jewellery related topics in the UK and overseas. John is also a long-standing contributor to BBC Television’s ever-popular Antiques Roadshow.

Half Study Day

Part A : A History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth Taylor

Four hundred years of international jewellery design, examining the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. This presentation covers many of the key elements of manufacture, including the progress of diamond cutting, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, 19th Century Archaeological and Renaissance Revivalism, the impact of diamond mining in South Africa, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts and Art Deco, Post War Modernism and designs of the future. Other important areas covered include Cartier and the introduction of platinum jewellery as a statement of style and the jewels of the Duchess of Windsor.

Part B: Jewellery Evaluation

Members are encouraged to bring a maximum of two pieces of jewellery to this session. John will discuss in open forum the age, description and value of each item. Note – no watches please.

Lecture – At the Sign of the Falcon: The Life & Works of Harry Murphy

H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age.

Chloë Sayer

Wellington Lecture Date : Monday 12 November 2018

Chloë Sayer is an independent scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has spent many years researching craft and textile skills. She has made ethnographic collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum. In 1991 she co-curated the exhibition The Skeleton at the Feast: The Mexican Day of the Dead at the Museum of Mankind in London (October 1991 – November 1993). She has also worked extensively in Canada with Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), where she is a Research Associate in the Department of World Cultures. She recently co-curated an exhibition for the ROM: ¡Viva México! Clothing and Culture (May 2015 – May 2016) and wrote the accompanying book. Her other books include Mexican Textiles (British Museum Press, 1990), The Arts and Crafts of Mexico (Thames & Hudson, 1990), Focus on Aztecs and Incas (Watts Books, 1995), The Incas (Wayland, 1998), and Fiesta: Days of the Dead and Other Mexican Festivals (British Museum Press, 2009). She has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel 4, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 swept away the old régime and banished European influence in the arts. Kahlo and Rivera, in their different ways, helped to shape the cultural identity of twentieth-century Mexico. The Mexican mural movement, born during the 1920s, was destined to produce some of the greatest public art of the last century. Diego Rivera’s panoramic images adorn the walls of public buildings, combining social criticism with a faith in human progress. Inspired by early Italian fresco painting, as well as by Aztec and Maya imagery, his intricate visual narratives incorporate allegory and symbolism. Compared with the monumental scale of Rivera’s work, Kahlo’s work is small in format. Arguably Mexico’s most original painter, she made herself the principal theme of her art. Her paintings reflect her experiences, dreams, hopes and fears. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married in 1929. Their volatile marriage and the turbulent times they lived through are the subject of the film ‘Frida’ (USA, 2002). They are key figures in ‘The Lacuna’, a historical novel published in 2009 by Barbara Kingsolver and currently on the reading list of many Book Clubs in Australia and the UK.