In 1964 Terence Conran opened the first Habitat shop in London’s Chelsea. Habitat’s clarion call to colour and contemporary design saw off the lingering shades of post war austerity and revolutionized British Retailing. From the beginning Conran spread the word of this new lifestyle look though twice yearly Habitat catalogues: copies are now collected and traded by a new generation of interior decorators and designers. In the early 70’s, then a design journalist, I worked for Terence Conran copy writing and editing the Habitat Catalogue. Crazy, demanding and inspiring times, full of tension and humour, working with some of the best designers, art directors and photographers in the UK. This is a rare insider’s view of how Terence Conran’s vision and determination changed the way we lived then, and the way we live now.
Picasso told his biographer, John Richardson, that his work was like a diary – “To understand it, you have to see how it mirrors my life”. This lecture examines the way Picasso’s emotional life influenced what he painted and how he painted it. His response to each new love in his life can be seen in the different styles in which his many women were represented. When he fell out of love, that fact would be revealed first in his paintings. The lecture concentrates on the seven most important women in his life (two of whom he married).
Experience the story of gold and its significance and symbolism within the history of art – as the colour of the sun; the colour of divinity; the colour of status and the colour of love. From creations ancient and contemporary, sacred and profane – all that glitters is certainly gold…
Accomplished botanical painter and inveterate traveller, Marianne North (1830-1890) led an unconventional life capturing the life essence of exotic and rare plants in their native lands. Born in Hastings, her pursuit of plants took her round the world. This talk explores both the life and social context of Marianne North, including discussion of why her paintings troubled deeply conservative Victorian society and the eventual creation of her gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
Vivaldi is the one Baroque composer whose music is a direct reflection of the city in which it was composed. Listen to a Vivaldi concerto and hey presto you are transported directly to the heart of 18th century Venice. The reasons for this are many – Vivaldi’s passion for colour, display and spectacle in his music; the unusual way in which Venice solved its problems with the poor and the homeless; Vivaldi’s health problems and his eccentricities as a man and a priest. Against the luxurious backdrop of 18th century Venice, and with live musical performances, this lecture explores the amazing world of Vivaldi’s music – music that is as intrinsically Venetian as the canvasses of Canaletto.
There is far more to be discovered about the Bayeux Tapestry than could ever be covered in one lecture. Who made it, where and why are the most frequently asked questions – although they might also be seen as less important beside the information the tapestry itself offers us. It is not just a narrative of the most famous battle in English history, but also of the build-up to it. It is a moral story showing that good cannot come to those who break their word. It is a story of kings, chivalry and ambition. Intriguingly, many crucial events are omitted and we can only speculate as to why. The tapestry itself is woven from only 10 different colours on linen, but remains as vibrant today as it must have been 900 years ago. The lecture looks at many of the scenes in detail and explores what might be learned from this depiction of a turning point in our history.
There are many illustrious gardens on the shores of Lakes Como and Maggiore in the mountainous far north of Italy. Those included in this lecture include a 16th-century parterre and water staircase; a baroque garden in the middle of a lake; two gardens made by rival Napoleonic grandees; and a garden created by two Edwardian romantics as a theatre for sharing their love of art and nature. These achievements and others are set in a climate ideal for garden-making among some of the world’s noblest scenery, where Wordsworth, Liszt and Bellini found inspiration. It could work for you.
Preston New Road
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