Napoleon and His Artists

Napoleon and His Artists – a lecture by Barry Venning

This thought-provoking and informative lecture by Barry Venning had been particularly chosen by our lecture secretary as last Wednesday was the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death on St. Helena.

Barry took us on a journey through Napoleon’s career through the work of artists, many of whom were chosen and directed by Napoleon for propaganda purposes. In fact, as Barry told us, Napoleon was the first leader to use visual arts for this purpose. As Anne-Louis Girodet ( whose painting below is of Napoleon’s father ) said ‘We were all enlisted but not all wore the uniform’

Napoleon’s father was Louis XVI ‘s representative in Corsica and Napoleon grew up speaking Italian.

This portrait by Robert Lefevre shows Dominique Vivant Denon who became Napoleon’s spin doctor’ .

The portrait by Louis Charles Auguste Couder shows Napoleon visiting the Louvre. In fact the Louvre was built to house all the objects that Napoleon had ‘acquired’ during his campaigns. Barry told us the if it wasn’t bolted down Napoleon took it !!

Napoleon won his first battle at Lodi and the drawing below celebrates this moment and is by Bacler D’Albe who became Napoleon’s cartographer.

Napoleon hated sitting for portraits but Appiana managed to paint this portrait of Napoleon in 1796

The paintings commissioned by Napoleon didn’t always correspond to reality or likeness, for example the painting by Baron Gros of Napoleon after his second victory at the Bridge at Arcola shows him bearing the standard but in fact he had slipped as he began to cross the bridge and was very muddy and therefore someone else was appointed to carry the standard !

The British now are starting to see Naploleon as a fascination but also as a danger as depicted in this cartoon by Cruickshank

Napoleon couldn’t invade Britain because of Nelson so he decided to invade Egypt to cut off the British link. One of the items stolen was the Rosetta Stone which in fact was finally brought to Britain by the British.

There were then two disasters – one was the slaughter of all the people who had surrendered and the other was an outbreak of the plague amongst the troops and his orders to kill all the infected troops. Napoleon commissioned a propaganda painting by Baron Gros (1804) of Napoleon visiting the sick in the Plague Hospital designed to make the French forget the two disasters.

Vivant had said exactly what should be in the picture and rather than showing Napoleon carrying a patient ( which is what happened ) Napoleon is seen touching a stricken man suggesting a likeness to Christ healing the sick. This was an engraving and hundreds of copies were made and circulated around France. Some of the troops were captured by the British and recounted what actually had happened.

Josephine introduced Napoleon to many artists including Antonio Canova who was the greatest artist of the time.

In 1799 Napoleon left most of his troops in Egypt and returned to France to stage a coup to become the First Consul, as shown in this painting by Baron Gros in 1802

Barry pointed out the  interesting details – for example Napoleon pointing to a sheet of paper on which are written the names of treaties and battles he had won and underneath is the battle plan for the Battle of Morengo – known as Napoleon’s greatest achievement.

In 1800 Napoleon crossed the Alps to surprise the Austrians who had taken parts of Italy. the David painting shows a very heroic Napoleon but has no link with reality. Barry pointed out the names on the rocks – names of earlier heroes.. Apparently the instruction from Napoleon was ‘Just show me calm , on a fiery steed.’

The famous artist Canovo did not follow instructions from Napoleon with his sculpture ” Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker” and Napoleon was not pleased to be depicted in the nude and with a body far better than the reality!

By this time much memorabilia was being made in Britain to allow people to express what they thought of `Napoleon!!

By now Napoleon was not being successful yet as Barry demonstrated, the propaganda paintings were there, as in this painting by baron Gros of ‘The Aftermath at the Battle of Eylau” A battle which really neither side won but strict instructions were given that it should show napoleon walking across the battlefield with the enemy reaching out to kiss his uniform, and wounded enemy soldiers being tended by the French.

In 1804 napoleon crowned himself Emperor as shown in this painting by Gerard

and in 1812 David painted a picture of Napoleon in his Study where he is shown as a man working for French civil society. Barry pointed out various details to show how hard Napoleon was working-  the ruffled carpet that indicated the Napoleon had just stood up, the candle and the clock indicating that he was working through the night and the document to show he was working on the Napoleonic code.

By 1814 Napoleon had lost many battles and was forced to abdicate-shown in this painting by Delaroche  ‘Napoleon at Fontenbleau 1814

and in Britain the cartoonists had a great time as this Wilkie cartoon shows of ‘Chelsea pensioners receiving the news after Waterloo.’

Napoleon was taken to Plymouth and everyone was eager to see him as Chalon showed in his painting ‘Scene in Plymouth”

Locke Eastalake painted Napoleon on the ship Belaphron bringing him to Plymouth from a genuine sketch he had made.

Barry concluded this lecture with the painting of the death of Napoleon by  Isabey   

Barry told us that the French were still divided about Napoleon , however those of us who had listened to his excellent lecture were certainly united in our appreciation of  the knowledge that we had gained about Napoleon’s use of artists of the time. Something that I certainly had had no previous idea about. Thank you Barry for a most enjoyable morning.

News from the Art World

FROM THE ARTS WORLD April to May 2021


Virtual Tour of the Mauritshuis, The Hague (1:00:00) (10.30 am Wed 21st April)
NOTE: Tickets £5. Organized by The Arts Society South Downs. 
For further information email or telephone 01798 815824 or  click on  and click on ‘MAURITSHUIS TOUR’ for Booking Form.
The Mauritshuis in The Hague is home to a world-renowned collection of the very best of Dutch painting of the 17th century, including works by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer and Hans Holbein the Younger. The ‘tour’ guide will be Jane Choy-Thurlow, an Arts Society-accredited lecturer who lives in The Hague. In 2018, she was given the honour of the Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau by the Dutch King Willem Alexander of Orange for her knowledge and work in the field of the arts.

A Virtual Walk in Khiva in Uzbekistan (10.30 am Fri 30th April)
NOTE: Tickets £5. Organized by the Arts Society Thames. Tickets: Email
The old Khiva oasis in Uzbekistan, between the Red Sands and the Black Sands. was the last resting-place of caravans before crossing the desert to Iran. Its inner walled city, Ichan Kala, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. It is a well-preserved example of the Muslim architecture of Central Asia. A local guide called Jalaladdin will give a tour round his home city, with a commentary by Arts Society lecturer Christopher Aslan Alexander, who lived with Jalaladdin’s family for seven years and subsequently wrote ‘A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road’.

A Stroll around Tate Britain: Absolute Monarch to Civil War 1540-1650 (11 am Tues 20th April)
NOTE: Please would you make a donation of £5 either by bank transfer to sort code 40-38-18, account 31024191 (using the reference ‘Shaf’) or by cheque payable to The Arts Society Richmond at 238 St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham TW1 1NL.
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Dr Laurence Shafe has a doctorate in nineteenth-century British art from the University of Bristol, a master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute and a degree in art and architecture from Birkbeck College. He will talk about paintings in Tate Britain, starting with Henry VIII and the Reformation and ending with Charles I and his art collecting.


Painters in their Places, Scotland: The Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists (2 pm Thurs 22nd / 2 pm Thurs 29th April)
NOTE: £14. Click on link to find Ashmolean online events and scroll down page. Choose number of tickets and scroll down again to blue box ADD TO BASKET. (NB The links for both events will be sent on the day of the first lecture.)
Two-part course. The art historian Alice Foster will study the works of the ‘Glasgow Boys’, James Guthrie and his friends, who began a new, modern era in Scottish painting and the ‘Scottish Colourists’, John Peploe and his fellow painters, who were bold pioneers in the fields of rich colour and strong light.

‘Noli me Tangere‘ (7 pm Thurs 22nd April)
NOTE: £5 Click on link for more details and then click on ‘Buy Tickets’:
Noli me Tangere by Graham Sutherland l 60 year anniversary
The Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral, The Reverend Canon Daniel Inman and Director of Pallant House Gallery, Simon Martin, will explore the painting’s significance. 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the work by Graham Sutherland, commissioned by Walter Hussey when he was Dean of Chichester Cathedral. It portrays the moment when Mary Magdalene discovers the tomb of Christ lying empty and on encountering Christ resurrected, mistakes him for a gardener. (The talk will also be recorded and the link made available a few days after the event.)

The 10th Century Umayyad of Cordoba: The Ornament of the World (1:30:00) (10 am Fri 23rd April / Fri 7th May)
NOTE: £20. Organized by The Arts Society North Kent. Payable by cheque or bank transfer. Book a place by email or by telephone 020 8460 4368. For more details click on link below:
Two-part course: two one-and-a-half hour lectures given by Ian Cockburn. (NB the second lecture will be in two weeks’ time on Friday 7th May at 10 am.) Ian is a specialist in the nearly 800 years of Moorish occupation and Christian reconquest of medieval Iberia. Under the Umayyad Caliphate, Cordoba was widely recognized as the wealthiest and most culturally advanced city in Western Europe at the time. The course will explore the extraordinary city through its material culture – its architecture, ivories and silk textiles in particular (NB There will be a short break half way through each lecture.)

William Hogarth: Harlots, Rakes and Crashing China – Hogarth’s Pots (8 pm Tues 4th May)
NOTE: Tickets £5. Please would you make a donation either by a bank transfer to Sort Code: 40-38-18, Account No. 31024191  (using the reference ‘Lars’) or by cheque payable to The Arts Society Richmond at 238 St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham TW1 1NL.
Zoom link :
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Danish-born British historian, broadcaster and lecturer, Lars Tharp discusses the pots, crocks and chinaware which tumble through the domestic dramas of William Hogarth. His detailed paintings and prints are wittily infiltrated with recognizable ceramics – earthenware, stoneware and china – in an age drunk on luxury.


PALLANT HOUSE, Chichester (opening on Tuesday 18th May 2021 subject to Covid-19 restrictions)
NOTE: Booking opens 5th May, Friends 1st May. (Scroll down the page to see key works in the exhibition.)
Degas to Picasso – International Modern Masters (Tues 18th May until Sun 13th June)
In the late 19th and 20th century, European artists challenged all aspects of the creative process, reflecting the tumultuous times in which they were living. The exhibition features stunning prints by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse; abstract works by Paul Klee, Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages; and portraits by Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Georges Roualt, Käthe Kollwitz and Marie Laurencin. It will also be the first chance to see Édouard Vuillard’s  ‘Modèle assise dans un fauteuil, se coiffant’ (c. 1903) after its recent careful conservation.

Bhutan – Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon

Bhutan – Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon.    – a lecture by Zara Fletcher

Zara began her fascinating lecture by introducing  Bhutan to us as it was 60 years ago when there were no roads, no towns and no currency,(the only currency being textiles) and how, though there have been such big developments in all these areas in the last 60 years they have still managed to hold on to their cultural inheritance.

Zara then introduced us to the three key  figures in Bhutan’s history  who have been responsible for shaping the country as it is today.

The first was Padmasambhava

the second was Nawang Namgul

and the third –  the 4th king – Jigme Wangchuk

Bhutan, she told us is a small country the size of Switzerland but with a population of only 80.000. It has Tibet to the north and India to the south. It is divided into 3 different landscapes – in the north are the Himalaya, in the centre are terraced fields and this is where most of the population live  and in the south the land is very fertile and there are a few industries.

The country is home to a wealth of flora and fauna . The national animal of Bhutan is a takin – a rather strange looking creature


There is also great ethnic diversity in Bhutan – speaking 23 different languages , though the main one is English.

The earlier  religion in Bhutan was based on nature.  Budhism was introduced in the 6th. century  with its goal to eliminate suffering and attain enlightenment. The wheel of life is divided into 6 sections into which you can be reborn –  gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hells.

When Budhism arrived in Bhutan art – in the form of murals, paintings or sculptures, was used to enlighten the people as most of them were illiterate. They work as a focus of faith and therefore had to be drawn following strict codes. For example the hand gestures would convey different meanings.Once these works were completed they would be consecrated with prayer.

At the centre of their beliefs is Avalokitesvara – the earthly manifestation of Buddha and shows compassion with many heads to see the suffering and many hands to comfort.

Shabdrung (1594-1651) brought peace and unification to Bhutan.He built dzongs across the country which were both religious and secular centres and are still in use today.


During the 17th  century Tibet made many attacks on Bhutan so Shabdrung  instigated codes of behaviour including dress and etiquette to create a difference between Bhutan and Tibet. It was known as the Driglam Namzha code and included such rules as the colour of the scarf (The Kabney) which must be worn indicating status, with yellow indicating the highest status

The women wear a kira with horizontal stripes

and the men wear vertical stripes – the Gho

He also set up the Zorig Chusum which comprised 13 Arts and Crafts  which are symbolic and represent certain principles of Budhism – including weaving, sculpture and dance.

Creating Tashigomang – portable shrines. They  are  part of the Zorig Chusum and were  temples which consecrated and blessed the land around them and were resting places.

Another element was Jimzo – sculpting – as seen in this mask

and Shingzo – carpentry – shown on this building

One very important piece of art are the Thongdrels or banners which were rolled down at festivals before sunrise ( so they would not be damaged by the sun ) and would be touched by the heads of worshippers.

When Shabdrung died they kept his death secret for 50 years partly to maintain the unity of the country  but also because they were waiting to see the reincarnation. Much of what Bhutan is today is as a result of  Shabbdrung’s work.

In 1774 Britain sent a trade mission to Bhutan , which was rather inaccurately recorded in a painting by Tilly Kettle


At the end of the 19th century Bhutan was racked by civil war and the British suggested the idea of monarchy. Ugyen Wangchuk became the first king , reigning from 1907-26 and he restored peace and stability. In the picture he is shown wearing   the  raven  crown.

The raven is the national bird of Bhutan and at one time it was illegal to kill one. The raven represents the form of Mahakala – Bhutan’s guardian deity

The third king implemented his father’s dying wish and moved the capital to Thimphu as it was suitable for all year round living.

He was succeeded by his son – the fourth king – Jigme Wangchuk who developed the policy – ‘One Nation one Principal ‘ Wangchuck stated that it is the “distinct identity of our country”, and not the nation’s “wealth, weapons and armed forces”, that is the vital instrument in securing the sovereignty of the nation.  He said that everyone should wear national dress and speak their language.  As a result of this many of the Nepalese who had moved into Bhutan decided to return to Nepal.

He also made the  statement

Gross National Happiness 

is more important than 

Gross national Product

As part of this they were committed to :

Sustained economic growth and development

The preservation and promotion of their cultural heritage

The conservation and sustainable use of the environment

Good governance

Bhutan has free medicine, free healthcare and free education . The schools teach the Zorig Chusum ( the 13 arts and crafts)

They are constantly refurbishing temples to keep them fresh and bright.


Any new paintings must contain something Bhutanese and houses are built by the whole community


Weaving in Bhutan is a very important craft(textiles had been the only form of currency in the past)

Thimphu -the capital of Bhutan has a National Textile Museum.

It also has the Tashichha Dzong – half of which is for government and the other half is the Buddhist centre

Dances are now recorded for posterity and are a central feature in the Bhutanese festivals which are attended by many of the Bhutanese.   In an amusing anecdote Zara told us how protective and careful the Bhutanese are of their culture and whilst most tourists respect it – some don’t so sometimes they give out the wrong date for national celebrations so that visitors are not present on the correct date!!!


Having strengthened the cultural aspects of Bhutan the 4th king abdicated and  his  eldest  son Jigme Khesar  became the 5th king

Bhutan was facing external problems from China and internal problems largely brought on by the TV and media. Initially he tried to ban some programmes but the worldwide web meant that this was impossible.One of the most important and ongoing works of the King involves Kidu, a tradition based on the rule of a Dharma King whose sacred duty is to care for his people.

Zara concluded this fascinating talk by reminding us of Bhutan’s very proud people, striking architecture and  strong Buddhism – I think we had all seen this through her talk. Bhutan is also understandably proud  of its  bio diversity and is the only country in the world  that is carbon negative.

It is seeking  to evolve as a contemporary buddhist society – a world which could teach us so much.

As we reluctantly came to end of this lecture many of us were already looking out passports and planning a visit to this magical place as soon as we can travel.

The Nativity in Art From Giotto to Picasso

The Nativity in Art From Giotto to Picasso. A Christmas lecture by Clare Ford-Wille

Below are the notes that lare kindly sent out to accompany her talk

THE NATIVITY IN ART IN ALL ITS VARIETY from Giotto to Stanley Spencer




Of the four Gospel writers, only Matthew (2:1-12) and Luke (2:1-20) mention and describe anything about Christ’s Nativity and in different ways.  St. Matthew writes about ‘Wise Men’, rather than Kings, following a star and ‘entering the house’, not a stable. Moreover we are not told how many of them there were. St. Luke states that Mary laid the baby in a manger because, ‘there was no room for them in the inn’.  However, in the apocryphal Book of James and Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the narrative is a little different.  In the Book of James mention of a cave is made ‘And he found a cave there and brought her into it…..And behold a bright cloud overshadowing the cave….The cloud withdrew itself out of the cave a a great light appeared in the cave so that our eyes could not endure it. And by little and little that light withdrew itself until the young child appeared: and it went and took the breast of its mother Mary’. In the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew the ox and ass enter the story: ‘an angel made her dismount and enter a dark cave which began to shine….On the third day Mary left the cave and went to a stable and put the child in the manger, and the ox and ass adored him.’


During the 15th century particularly the Virgin is shown kneeling in adoration and this follows the writings of St. Bridget of Sweden who visited Bethlehem in 1370 and wrote in her Revelations of her vision of the Virgin: ‘When her time came she took off her shoes and her white cloak and undid her veil, letting her golden hair fall on her shoulders.  Then she prepared the swaddling clothes which she put down beside her.  When all was ready, she bent her knees and began to pray.  While she was thus praying with hands raised the child was suddenly born, surrounded by a light so bright that it completely eclipsed Joseph’s feeble candle.’


In the Eastern Church there are variations and traditions with Byzantine artists sometimes showing the Virgin on a proper bed, attended by midwives, and with the Christ child being washed.  The Book of James describes one of the two midwives, Mary Salome, denying that the Virgin could remain an intact virgin and examined her for proof, whereupon her arm, which had touched Mary, shrivelled but was made whole again when she picked up the Child.


In the 14th century the writings of the Pseudo-Bonaventura (Giovanni de Caulibus), in his Meditations, described how ‘The Virgin arose in the night and leaned against a pillar. Joseph brought into the stable a bundle of hay which he threw down and the Son of God, issuing from his mother’s belly without causing her pain, was projected instantly on to the hay at the Virgin’s feet.’



EARLY CHRISTIAN           Nativity with Shepherd 4th Century Sarcophagus.  Arles

PISA                                       Porta di San Ranieri Pisa Cathedral c.1180

BONANNO DA PISA           Detail of the Nativity from above

MARGARITO da Arezzo    Altarpiece c.1250 NG

JACOPO TORRITI             Apse Mosaics Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome 1296

JACOPO TORRITI             Nativity (mosaic) Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome 1296



NICCOLO PISANO                         Pisa Baptistery Pulpit 1260

GIOVANNI PISANO                       Pisa Cathedral Pulpit 1302-11

ROME                                                Apse Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome

CAVALLINI, Pietro                         Mosaic Cycle of the Virgin Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome 1296

The Nativity in Art of the14th Century


Some of the depictions of the Nativity introduce new aspects of the story from The Golden Legend. It became the primary source book for painters and sculptors in the later Medieval and early Renaissance periods.  A real knowledge, understanding and appreciation of art from 1300 to 1550 is only possible through a familiarity with The Golden Legend. The popularity of the Golden Legend ended with the Reformation but not completely as is clear from the continuance of some of the stories in paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries.  Renaissance scholars tended to attack it for being inaccurate and untrue, particularly following the Council of Trent in the middle of the 16th century.  Some attempt was made in the 19th century to reawaken interest in the work, notably by William Morris, who published a limited edition of the Caxton text in 1892. Particularly relevant to the depiction of the Nativity is the general reality and domesticity but also the introduction of the two midwives, whom Joseph goes to find to assist with the birth of Christ.  Of the two, one of them believes the baby is the Son of God, upon finding the Virgin Mary still a virgin, but the other refutes this and her arm which touched the baby withers immediately.  She then changes her mind, and the arm grows back again.


PADUA                                              Scrovegni Chapel c.1300

GIOTTO                                            Nativity c.1305

DADDI, B.                                         Triptych 1338 Berlin

DUCCIO                                            The Nativity 1308-11 New York       

MASTER BERTRAM                     Grabow Altarpiece 1379-83 Hamburg

MASTER FRANCKE                      St. Thomas à Becket Altar 1424 Hamburg   

BOHEMIAN                                     The Vysshi Brod Alterpiece c.1360 Prague

AUSTRIAN                                       Nativity 1400 Vienna

KONRAD VON SOEST                  Nativity 1403 Parish Church Bad Wildungen

NETHERLANDISH                         Folding Private Devotional Altarpiece c.1410 Antwerp

FRENCH ILLUMINATOR             Tres Belles Heures de Notre Dame du Duc de Berri c.1390 Bib. Nat. Paris


The Nativity in Italy and the North in the 15th Century


GENTILE DA FABRIANO             The Strozzi Altarpiece 1422 Uffizi Florence

ROBERT CAMPIN                          Nativity c.1425 Dijon

FRA ANGELICO                             Nativity (Cell 5) c.1440 San Marco, Florence

FRA FILIPPO LIPPI                       Cycle of the Virgin frescoes 1467-9 East End Spoleto Cathedral

ROGIER VAN DER WEYDEN      The Miraflores Altarpiece c.1440 Madrid

MEMLING                                        The Triptych of Jan Floreins c.1479 Bruges

GEERTGEN TOT SINT JINS        Night Nativity c.1465 NG

HUGO VAN DER GOES                 Portinari Altarpiece c.1478 Uffizi


GHIRLANDAIO                              Altarpiece c.1483 Sassetti Chapel, Santa Trinita, Florence


The Nativity in the Art of the 16th Century


Characteristic of developments in the 16th century in Northern Europe is the setting of the Nativity in a larger setting which includes the new fascination for nature and landscape.  Northern European painters also become fascinated with night scenes and light in darkness, which culminates at the end of the century with the chiaroscuro of the Italian artist, Caravaggio and the Dutch Caravaggisti.


GERARD DAVID                             Wings of Triptych in New York c.1505-10 The Hague

Triptych New York

BOTTICELLI                                   The Mystic Nativity 1500 NG

HIERONYMUS BOSCH                 The Adoration of the Magi Triptych 1492-8 Prado Madrid

GIORGIONE                                    Nativity c.1505 Washington

DURER                                              The Paumgartner Altarpiece c.1504 Munich

BALDUNG                                        Nativity at Night 1520 Munich

CORREGGIO                                   Night Nativity c. 1525-30 Dresden

BAROCCI, F.                                    Nativity in the Stable c.1597 Madrid


The Nativity in Art in the 17th Century


By the beginning of the 17th century fundamental changes came about in the depictions in art of the Nativity and other episodes from Christ’s early life as a result of the reforms instituted by the reforms emanating from the Council of Trent, the meeting so of which took place from 1545 and 1563.  The stories which did not come from the Bible itself were not encouraged and virtually forbidden.  The Adoration of the Shepherds and Kings became more widely depicted, partly because the former depictions of Nativity scenes would prove controversial.


CARAVAGGIO                                Adoration of the Shepherds 1609 Messina

CARAVAGGIO                                Nativity with SS Lawrence Francis 1609 (formerly) Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Palermo

HONTHORST                                  Night Nativity Uffizi

LA TOUR, G. de                               Peasant Nativity 1644 Paris

REMBRANDT                                  Adoration of the Shepherds 1646 NG

REMBRANDT                                  Night Nativity etching and drypoint


The Nativity in Art in the 19th and 20th Centuries


WILLIAM BELL SCOTT               Nativity 1872 Edinburgh

GAUGUIN, P.                                   Te Tamari No Atua 1896 Munich

FRITZ VON UHDE                         Holy Night c.1888-9 Dresden New Masters Gallery

PABLO PICASSO                            ‘Mère et Enfant’ or Maternité  1902 Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, USA

STANLEY SPENCER                     Nativity 1912 University College, London

Art Behind Bars : The Role of the Arts in the Cycle of Crime, Prison and Reoffending

Art Behind Bars : The Role of the Arts in the Cycle of Crime, Prison and Reoffending

A Zoom lecture by Angela Findlay

Angela Findlay is a professional artist, writer, and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons in Germany and England.

Her time ‘behind bars’ and later as Arts Coordinator of the London-based Koestler Trust, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation.

In 2016 she was invited by the Ministry of Justice to support the case for the arts to be included in new, progressive programmes of rehabilitation and education.

‘The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’

Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Angela began this potentially controversial  lecture by stressing that she was expressing her points of view and that she was fully aware that other people would have very different views.

To begin Angela gave us a short resume of her career and how it led to the work she has done in prisons. She began her career by painting large scale murals and had gone into a prison yard to paint a mural with some of the prisoners. This led to her studying art therapy for three years, focussing on using colour and then going to Germany to work with 10 prisoners. At this point she recounted that her German was not good and instead of saying to the prisoners ‘we will do this painting together ‘she had  said ‘ we will go to bed together!!’ Because she wasn’t attached to a prison she was not obliged to report anything the prisoners may say and as a result they began to open up and express their thoughts and feelings. After 9 years she became Art Co-ordinator for the ‘Koestler Trust.’ Her main focus was setting up ‘Learning to Learn’ – using a variety of artists from all around London. They would offer an alternative to conventional classroom activities which had the potential to become the springboard for a new career.

Angela then gave us some very startling data whilst acknowledging that prison serves the public by keeping in custody those who have committed a crime.

67% of under 18s reoffend after 12 months

46% of adults reoffend after 12 months

52% of prisoners are dyslexic

70% suffer from some type of personality disorder

65% have a reading age below 8

50% can’t write

In the Uk we have 86.500 prisoners in the system – more than anywhere else in Europe at a cost of £37.000 per years per prisoner. Reoffending costs the government £18.1 billion.

Angela said that this is a spectacular failure rate and she gave us some of the reasons why she thinks it currently doesn’t work.Her main point was that prisoners are not confronted with the impact of their crime- even that they think the world is a better place as a result of what they have done. She gave the example of a prisoner who had ‘just stolen a handbag ‘ and the prisoner was shocked when the victim said that as a result of the mugging she was frightened to go out so she lost her job which in turn made her depressed and as a result of being depressed she lost her partner.

Prisoners, she told us, are locked in with nothing to do, in overcrowded and understaffed premises. There is no provision for education and drugs are everywhere.

Angela said she was not saying – ‘give them a paintbrush and they’ll be ok. ‘ nor was she suggesting that we don’t need prisons, but prisoners should be on a programme of Confrontation/Challenge and Change.

Victim awareness will lead to empathy ‘ until this day I have never felt so much remorse for what I have done’ She told us of a bank robber who had said to her ‘I have never met a man who committed a crime with evil intent.’

So the question is ‘How can the arts work?’ Angela then shared with us her programme of work with prisoners.

Her first step was to give prisoners just the three primary colours to work with and paint with and then begin to ask them to mix these colours and ask them to describe the colours they had made with sounds and adjectives.

One of the issues is that prisoners had overstepped boundaries and now were in a system of rigid and tight boundaries so she would then have a colour conversation with them – in their paintings some had made definite strong boundaries between colours  whereas others had mixed them totally. What she was aiming for them to do was to mix the colours gently and flowing.

Art projects often led to lightbulb moments with issues addressed through art rather than full on which could lead to totally unacceptable behaviour..Prisoners had to learn to collaborate within their groups, thereby giving them these soft skills which are so helpful in the world outside prison.

Angela gave us examples of how she chose the projects with the needs of the particular prisoners in mind.

Some of them had committed crimes because they wanted instant gratification – ‘I want that car so I’ll take it ‘ so asking them to create mosaics helped them to see that taking things step by step will eventually have very pleasing results – that nothing is instant.

Other prisoners had very low self esteem – possibly with the absence of a father or positive male role model and authoritative figure, but creating a piece of art can raise  their self esteem and also become a focus for talking about how they feel; many prisoners are emotionally illiterate.

Angela concluded this fascinating lecture by reaffirming what arts can offer to prisoners and the prison system. Arts she said, can make a massive contribution to preventing re-offending. The arts demand self discipline and raise self-esteem and can serve as a springboard to a more positive future which impacts on us all.

Her final statement – that the Arts could halve the numbers reoffending, left us  feeling very reflective and questioning  of our current system.

Thank you Angela, you presented your views in a  clear and positive manner and whilst we may not have agreed with everything you said we certainly had much food for thought and consideration



2020 KOESTLER AWARDS, South Bank Centre, London
NOTE: Angela Findlay, who gave last Monday’s TASNF monthly lecture “Art Behind Bars”, was Arts Coordinator for the Koestler Trust
The links above are a reminder of a listing given in Section A. NEWS in last week’s email. They give information about The Koestler Arts Annual Awards 2020 Exhibition (for which all the entrants are in the criminal justice system).





Titian – The First Modern Artist

Titian – The First Modern Artist – a zoom lecture by Douglas Skeggs.

Our second zoom lecture was outstanding. Douglas enthralled us with his presentation  and knowledge. It was our second lecture delivered through zoom and it went extremely well.

Douglas began by telling us that critics of Titian have said that all he did was to put paint on canvas, but he did more, so much more.

He was born in Pieve di Catore and went to the local school. The year of his birth is the subject of considerable debate- Titian himself, in a letter to Philip II of Spain, said it was 1474 but modern scholars put it at around 1488.

He was a good scholar but he didn’t learn Latin which meant in later life he couldn’t read stories in their original script. A local priest saw his talents and arranged for him to go to Venice to study with a mosaicist when he was about 11. A few years later he entered the studio of Gentile Bellini. Gentile was the first psychological painter as shown in his painting of  Queen  Catarina  Cornara ( 1500 ) (Fine Arts Museum Budapest ) where. the character  of the subject  comes through.  This  approach  to  painting  greatly  influenced  Titian.

Titian fell out with Gentile and moved to his brother Giorgione Bellini’s  studio. Titian worked with Giorgione but was never his pupil. This is apparent when both Titian and Giorgione were asked to work on frescoes on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi ( the German merchants’ warehouse) but they worked on separate areas – and if Titian had been his pupil they would have worked together.

Titian worked in a way completely different from what then was the current manner. He started with colour and light and the picture was created on the canvas. . It was a completely revolutionary style.

In The Ages of man (1514)(in Nat. Gallery Edinburgh) Titian’s use of dark and light is clear to see.

Titian always preceded his commissions with portraits as in his painting ‘Man with a Quilted Sleeve'(1509)(in Nat.Gallery)

The painting is so simple yet makes such impact- with the contrast of the hard rock background and the soft voluptuous fabric and the play of light across the picture set against the darkness makes it stand out. However the most important aspect of the painting is the psychology and how he conveys the personality. By making the eye line higher than ours he makes him look rather distant and slightly threatening.

In ‘The Assumption of the Virgin  ‘(1516-18 )(in Basilica of Santa Maria) the position of the arms and bodies of the disciples lead the eye  to Mary.

Titian creates an amazing spiral movement as Ariadne sees Bacchus in ‘Bacchus and Ariadne ” (1520-1523) (in National Gallery ) He has also made Bacchus’ followers very specific characters and looking like a tidal wave. This detail of the followers does not come from the original story (which Titian was unable to access as he had not learned Latin,) but came from a different story. The colours also go from warm to cold and light to dark.

In the Bacchanal of the Andrians'(1523-26) (in Prado ) if you start with the wine, your eye is taken into a spiral down through the people to the baby peeing on the reclining lady. It was images such as this that caused the Victorians to dislike him as he was too ‘earthy!’

Pietro Aretino was a friend of Titian who wrote pornographic poems.  And in this painting of him  (1545)(in Pitti Florence)Titian brilliantly shows this man who was larger than life.

At this time Titian was becoming more and more acknowledged and successful. He  copied  a portrait of Charles V by Schleissinger but showing Venetian light and a softer  face.

He then did the same with a portrait of Charles V’s late wife  and Charles is completely bowled over and becomes so impressed with Titian, buying many of his paintings.

Many important people became his patron. In 1542 he painted a portrait of Ranuccio Farnese for his mother,(now in Nat.Gallery Washington) who was so impressed she showed it to the Pope who then asked to meet Titian and to be painted by him (1543) (in Capodimonte Naples)

In 1545/6 Titian painted another portrait of the Pope with his ‘nephews’ (probably grandsons ) in which the Pope looks more brow beaten. This painting was unfinished but still shows how he achieved the amazing colour and texture of the cape. It also shows Titian’s skill at using psychological interpretation  in the manner and positioning of the  nephews and the Pope himself.(in Capodimonte  Naples)

Michelangelo and Titian met and although Michelangelo expressed admiration to Titian for his work ,afterwards he said to Vasari that he liked his colour but not the ‘dessina’ in his paintings.

Charles V had increasingly become concerned that because he was so rich he would not enter heaven so in 1555 he entered a monastery but surrounded himself with Titian’s paintings.

In 1551 Charles V died gazing at Titian’s painting ‘The Gloria’ which Charles had commissioned

(in Prado)

Phillip II who was the son of Charles V became Titian’s patron and Titian spent the rest of his life working on the mythological but rather rather pornographic paintings for Phillip, which he called Poesie. These can be seen  in  a variety  of  museums  around  the world   including  one in the Fitzwilliam Gallery  in  Cambridge

Evidence that Titian changed the figures directly on the canvas is shown in ‘Shepherd and Nymph’ (1570) where the shepherd has three hands!

Pieta by Titian (1570) (Venice) was unfinished as he died before it was completed. It was finished by a pupil. It was the picture Titian wanted hanging above his grave, but this never happened. Titian died of the plague and yet was buried in Ferrari – (the bodies of people who died of the plague were usually burned ) This was quite amazing and showed the status that Titian achieved – he had been raised  to the aristocracy.

Douglas ended this fascinating talk explaining how with the death of Titian it was the end of an era. And that without Titian the whole course of the history of art would have been so very different.

It was indeed a wonderful hour spent learning about and appreciating the skills of Titian. I for one will certainly look with renewed enthusiasm at Titian’s work.


Ancient Egyptian Artefacts – 3000 Years of Treasures

Ancient Egyptian Artefacts – 3000 Years of Treasures – A zoom lecture by Eileen Goulding

Eileen had the dubious pleasure of giving our first lecture on Zoom. There were very few technical glitches and Eileen delivered a very interesting talk, giving us further details of already known facts and widening our knowledge with more detailed information.

She began her talk explaining that  3100 B.C.was when the the country was first unified and the first pyramids were built. For over 3000 years Egypt was a great trading nation and this was an excellent route for the exchanging of ideas with other countries.

The Narmer Palette dates back to 3100 BC and belonged to  King Narmer who first united Upper and Lower Egypt. It is 2 foot high and shows the details of the power of the king. It is an amazing historical record.

Eileen compared this stone with a stone from 3000 years later – the Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone helps to decipher hieroglyphics. It was originally a free standing stone – dull looking- but a fantastic treasure. It was discovered by one of Napoleon’s soldiers.

Eileen then talked about mummification. The mummy now named ‘ginger’ dates back to 3000 B.C. and ‘Ginger’ was buried with everything he would need in the after-life.


The pyramid of Imorte is the first ever large stone building in the world.

and shows how the early pyramids were built in ‘steps’

The Sphinx at Gizah was built out of bedrock and was not actually a statue. Some of the elements are missing but it aligns with the pyramid at the setting of the sun on the Spring and Autumn equinoxes.

The head of Nefertiti (1350 B.C. ) was made of limestone but it hides a secret. The limestone core shows a wrinkled head with lumps and bumps!!

Funerary Goods

The most impressive find without doubt, is the face mask of Tutankhamen and it is probably a faithful portrait.. 

Many Pharaohs were buried with similar items but those have been lost.

The pastoral or pendant that was found  has a carib beetle at the centre and they were believed to burst out of the dung at sunset so they represent creation.

The Anubis shrine when found was covered in linen and had a flower garland around it.

There were numerous boxes found in the tomb which demonstrated the skills of the craftsmen of the time  as shown  by  this beautiful cartouche.

This wooden chest was the most highly decorated item and it is covered with scenes of battles and disorder calling Tutankhamen the valiant one

There was also a chest made of calcite and when the lid was removed it was found to contain hollowed-out heads holding liver, lungs, intestines and stomach. The four compartments were sealed with a stopper to represent the king who is shown wearing the Nemes headress with the protective cobra and vulture on his brow.

Eileen continued by telling us about the treasures found in the Ancient City of Tanis


The treasures found here were second only to the treasures in Tutankhamen’s tomb but received much less publicity as they were discovered during WW2. The head of Psusanis (who ruled for 42 years) in gold is particularly impressive

It showed all the valuable things that they traded in. Silver was particularly valuable as it had to be imported and so was in fact, more important than gold

Psusanis was buried with 5 necklaces – one of lapis lazuli with a very deep and intense bead (the reason for this is unknown ) and one with a scareb made of lapis lazuli to protect his heart.

The face mask is particularly interesting as it only went to his hairline.


In 1910 Howard Carter found, amongst other items, a board game- Hounds and Jackal made in ebony and ivory,

and a cosmetic container shaped like a duck; made from hippo bone and ivory.

Their craftmanship was particularly spectacular. This pectoral in Cloisonné work was made in 1800BC  with 372 semi precious stones. It was  4.5 cms. high. This was not just an adornment but it was also symbolic of their power. They believed that the wearer was endowed with their powers.

The Ancient Egyptians were also renowned for glass making . Glass was used for decoration and colour.This beautiful glass fish dates from 1350 BC

Eileen finished her interesting talk by telling us about the Ancient Egyptian belief in the afterlife

The Ancient Egyptians believed that when they died they went on a long and dangerous journey so they were buried with objects and prayers to help them on this journey. The objects are so beautiful but also useful in this world and the next. This papyrus (now in the British Museum) showed the prayers, the opening of the mouth ceremony and the weighing of the heart.

The zoom session ended with us all feeling that though we were not able to meet up personally , learning the skills involved with ‘zooming’ was well worth it as it allowed us to share Eileen’s excellent talk.

Arts Activities Live and On line


The committee has been discussing the best time to end the weekly arts-related emails and it has been decided that the appropriate time to do so would be this month. The vaccination programme is well under way, restrictions will soon begin to be lifted on socializing and on shops, the days are lengthening.  Museums should hopefully be opening on Monday 17th  May and theatres should be opening with full capacity on Monday 21st June, when all legal limits on social contact will also be removed. Therefore this email will be the last. I hope some of the members have enjoyed the emails as much as I have enjoyed preparing them. 

For details of the Government roadmap towards lifting restrictions, click on the link below:

 My best wishes for Easter to you all. 

Rose Tainsh

WEEK COMMENCING 22nd March 2021

Suggestions for arts-related viewing available on the I/Net, on YouTube and via Zoom, as well as on BBC 4, Sky Arts Freeview Channel 11 and BBC iPlayer. (NB: Sky Arts Freeview has only been available on Channel 11 since late last year. It may be necessary to ‘retune’ televisions in order to receive it.)

NOTE: Any suggestion which is not free is marked (*).

GRESHAM COLLEGE, Holburn, London EC1
Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi: Scholarship, Science and Skulduggery
Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’: Scholarship, Science and Skulduggery (00:46:08)
Professor Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, who gave this lecture in May 2019, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on Leonardo da Vinci. He begins by trying to put the record straight about what has been said in some of the press. He then relates the remarkable story of the work: its purchase in 2005 at an auction in Louisiana, New Orleans by two New York art dealers, as what they thought was a “decent early copy”, its subsequent scientific examination and conservation, the research into its provenance, its sale by Christie’s in 2017 for $450 million and the mystery surrounding its current ownership. In the second half of his talk, Professor Kemp explains how he became convinced of the authenticity of the painting.
NOTE: Gresham College was founded in 1571 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham and has been providing free lectures to the public for over 400 years on a range of subjects. The college does not enroll students or award degrees.

A Fabergé Easter Egg ‘Surprise’ (00:05:19)
Caroline de Guitot, Deputy Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art, examines a miniature jewelled ivory clockwork elephant purchased by King George V and Queen Mary in the 1930s.  Recent research has connected it to one of Carl Fabergé’s celebrated Imperial Easter eggs, all of which contained a ‘surprise’ when opened.

A Centennial Celebration of the Architect I M PEI (00:56:26)
The Chinese-American architect I M Pei (1917-2019) designed the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, which opened in 1978. This documentary was made in 2017 to honour I M Pei on his 100th birthday. The new building had to fit on a trapezoidal  site, which the architect saw not as an obstacle but as an opportunity. The elegant composition, with its famous 19 degree knife edge, was hailed as one of his finest achievements, contrasting sleekly with the surrounding neo-classic style architecture. (Another iconic design by I M Pei is the Louvre Pyramid which serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris.)

national museum of american history quilt collection youtube – Bing video
The National Quilt Collection: An Overview (00:11:02)
Doris Bowman, Associate Curator, explains that the collection originated with a gift in the 1890s of three quilts dating from the 18th to the very early 19th century. The collection has since grown to cover three centuries, providing a textile narrative to American history. It illustrates the boundaries of thrift and extravagance and the infinite variety of styles and materials of the American quilt. (One purchase of cloth was made in 1736 “in the Isle of White, England”.) The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

PAMUKKALE, Denizli Province, Turkey
Hierapolis Pamukkale 🇹🇷 Turkey Best Places
Hierapolis – Virtual tour (00:25:59)
A virtual tour with commentary by a local guide of the Hierapolis thermal spa, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the River Menderes Valley. Deriving from springs in a high cliff overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (meaning ‘cotton palace’ in Turkish) an unreal white landscape, made up of petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. The ruins of the nearby Roman town Hierapolis include baths, temples, monuments and a magnificent theatre. The thermal spa is usually said to have been established by Eumates II of Pergamon in the late 2nd century BC. Hierapolis became one of the most prominent cities in the Roman Empire in the fields of the arts, philosophy and trade.

bayadere nuryvev youtube – Bing video
Paris Opera Ballet – La Bayadère  (2:13:16)
The premiere of the lavish production, choreographed and staged by the late Rudolf Nureyev, which took place in 1992. Music by Ludwig Minkus, orchestrated by John Lanchbery.  Based on the original version by Marius Petipa. With principal dancers Isabelle Guerin and Laurent Hilaire, two of the ballet company’s greatest stars at that time. Set in Ancient India, it is the story of a temple dancer (bayadere) and her doomed love for a noble warrior (Solor). Act III of the ballet, The Kingdom of the Shades, is particularly celebrated.  Nureyev worked on the staging and attended rehearsals until the opening night.  He died the following year.
The New York Times described the production at the time as ‘opulent’ and ‘not to be missed’.

NOTE: £5 to be paid by bank transfer to Lloyds Bank Account Number 42557060, Account Name: TASTV, Sort Code: 30-90-09 OR by cheque payable to TASTV and sent to Mr T Stevens, 6 Sycamore Walk, Andover SP10 3PQ.
For more details about the lecture click on link below.
Study Morning: Picturing the Pacific – the Fine Art of Exploration 1768-1836 (10.30 am – 1 pm with a half-hour break: Wednesday 24th March)
Dr James Taylor FRSA is an expert on maritime art and former curator of pictures at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and a Victorian paintings specialist with Phillips Fine Arts Auctioneers.  Between the 1760s and the early 1800s the pioneers who sailed from Europe to explore the Pacific brought back glimpses of this new world in the form of oil paintings, water colours and drawings.
NB There will be two one-hour talks with a half-hour break in between.

PALLANT HOUSE, Chichester (*)
NOTE: £5. Click on link for details and then on Buy Tickets.
The Shakers behind the Makers | Online Talk
The Shakers behind the Makers (7 pm Thurs 25th March)
Through works in the Pallant House Gallery Collection, Director Simon Martin explores the stories of  some of the influential individuals behind the great artists of the last century. Their vision, faith and sometimes sheer business acumen were crucial. Sixties art dealer Robert ‘Groovy Bob’ Fraser was one of them.  He helped launch many new artists including Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and Eduardo Paolozzi.

NOTE: £12. Click on link for more details and then on BUY TICKETS
Buy tickets for A Virtual Tour of St Peter’s Basilica on Zoom, Sun 28 Mar 2021
Virtual Tour (1:30:00) (6.30 pm Sun 28th March)
Professional Rome Tourist Guide Stuart Harvey explores 2,000 years of Christianity: the Emperors Nero and Constantine, the many Popes and artists like Michelangelo and Bernini.


NOTE: £5 but FREE for those who paid for the Tokyo walk in February, which had technical issues. Payment either by bank transfer to sort code 40-38-18, account 31024191 or by cheque payable to: The Arts Society Richmond and send to 238, St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham TW1 1NL. For payment by bank transfer, put the word Kyoto in the reference box. 
Zoom link:    YouTube link: Kyoto walk on Tuesday 30th March 2021 at 9am UK time               
Live Walk in Kyoto (1:30:00) (9 am Tues 30th March)                                 The guide will be Richard Farmer, who is a tour leader for InsideJapan. The one-and-a-half hour walk will include the traditional Gion and Higashiyama districts with their tea houses, traditional Machiya townhouses, shrines and gardens.  It is hoped that Japan’s glorious cherry blossom will be in bloom.  There will be time for questions & answers afterwards.

National Treasures: The Art of Collecting (1:00:00) (12 noon Mon 22nd March)
A look at six watches from a vast collection spanning 300 years, including a timepiece made in London before the Great Fire of 1666.

Brunelleschi’s Impossible Dome: Part 2 (1:00:00) (7 pm Mon 22nd March)
Conclusion. British installation artist Luke Jerram’s contemporary dome the ‘Palm Temple’ was commissioned by Sky Arts Italy for presentation in Lewis Cubitt Square in London in January 2020 to celebrate the cathedral dome’s 600th anniversary. It is now on display on the campus of the University of Bristol.

Fake or Fortune? (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 22nd March)
Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce try to establish whether a strikingly abstract plaster head sculpture is a missing work by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). (First shown on BBC 1)

The Art of Architecture – Southern Cross Station, Melbourne, Australia (1:00:00) (7 pm Tues 23rd March)
The documentary looks at the refurbishment of Southern Cross railway station, designed by English architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw. It won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize in 2007. The design focus is the dune-like roof covering an entire city block. The architect is noted for his several modernist buildings, including the Eden Project in Cornwall and London’s Waterloo International railway station. Sir Nicholas was President of the Royal Academy of Arts from 2004 to 2011.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2:00:00)  (9 pm Tues 23rd March)
The documentary follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for ‘The Artist is Present’, a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010.

Bute: The Scot Who Spent a Welsh Fortune (1:00:00)
The fabulously rich Scottish aristocrat John Patrick Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquis of Bute, was one of the most unconventional mavericks of the Victorian Age. When he was young, he met the outrageous and eccentric English architect and designer William Burges, who transformed Bute’s medieval Cardiff Castle into a Welsh Camelot. When the ancestral seat Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute was destroyed by fire, Bute embarked on the construction of a huge new Gothic palace
(Available until the end of the week.)

Imagine: 2021:  We’ll be back (1:00:00)
Alan Yentob explores the huge on-going impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the UK’s world-renowned performing arts industry.  He talks to the artistic directors of some of the major institutions including those of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Old Vic Theatre, English National Ballet and the English National Opera, as well to those of smaller venues.The Arts Council figures show that the industry contributed £10.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019. 70% of the performing arts industry is made up of freelance talent.
(First shown 9th Feb 2021 and available for ten months)

GOOGLE: ‘Nightly Met Opera Stream Metropolitan Opera’;  scroll down to UPCOMING SCHEDULE WEEK 54 (and WEEK 55), click on the name of the opera available for free that day.
NOTE: Performances are free online for TWENTY-THREE HOURS. They begin at 7.30 pm* in New York and finish at 6.30 pm (NY) the next day.
* There is now a FOUR-HOUR time difference with the UK but on 28th March it will return to FIVE HOURS  (clocks go forward in the US two weeks before in the UK).

WEEK 54: Myths and Legends
Monday 22nd March – Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurodice (2009)
Tuesday 23rd March – Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust (2008)
Wednesday 24th March – Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (2011)
Thursday 25th March – Strauss’s Elektra (2016)
Friday 26th March – Mozart’s Idomeneo (1982)
Saturday 27th March – Mozart’s Don Giovanni (2000)
Sunday 28th March – Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer (2020)
WEEK 55: Love Triangles
Monday 29th March – Bellini’s Norma (2017)
Tuesday 30th March – Strauss’s Capriccio (2011)
Wednesday 31st March – Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux (2016)
Thursday 1st April – Verdi’s Il Trovatore (1988)
Friday 2nd April – Massenet’s Werther (2013)
Saturday 3rd April – Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (2012)
Sunday 4th April – Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (2016)

WEEK COMMENCING 15th March 2021

Suggestions for arts-related viewing available on the I/Net, on YouTube and via Zoom, as well as on BBC 2, BBC 4, Sky Arts Freeview Channel 11 and BBC iPlayer. (NB: Sky Arts Freeview has only been available on Channel 11 since late last year. It may be necessary to ‘retune’ televisions in order to receive it.)

NOTE: Any suggestion which is not free is marked (*).

HATFIELD HOUSE, Hertfordshire
Tour of Hatfield House (00:44:27)
As an introduction to the Virtual Chamber Music Festival given last year, Lord Salisbury and Dr Emily Burns, art historian, looked at some of the art works and other treasures in the house in order to provide the context to the concerts. They include two portraits of Elizabeth I and a 1609 de Haan organ (which will be played in the concert listed below).  The present Jacobean House was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James 1. The Cecil family have lived there ever since. The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival takes place every year in September.

HATFIELD HOUSE, Hertfordshire
hatfield house chamber music festival – Bing video
2020 Virtual Chamber Music Festival (00:47:34)
British classical counter tenor Iestyn Davies MBE, Elizabeth Kenny, lute: John Dowland; Richard Gowers, organist: G F Handel, William Byrd and Thomas Tallis. Iestyn Davies remarked that it was incredible to be performing pieces in rooms in which they would have been heard five hundred years ago.

Mellon Lectures – Bing video
A Woman’s Touch (00:27:24)
The museum opened in 1987 and is devoted entirely to women artists. The Founder explains that many of the works are by artists who were highly regarded in their own lifetime and yet have sunk into obscurity.  From the 16th century up to today, the artists include: Lavinia Fontana; Sofonisba Anguissola; Maria Sibylla Merian, who recorded botanical and zoological specimens two hundred years before John James Audubon; Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Lebrun and  Adélaide Labille-Guiard  who were both received as members of the Académie Royale;  Angelica Kauffman, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Art; Suzanne Valadon, the first woman painter to be admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Camille Claudel; Mary Cassatt; Lilla Cabot Perry;  Alice Bailly and Georgia O’Keeffe.

The Architect Who Designed the Opera House (00:27:13)
In 1858, Emperor Napoleon III wished to have a new opera house built. A competition was held to find the designer for the largest and most prestigious public building of the Second Empire. Amongst the 170 architects who submitted plans, the winner was 34-year old Charles Garnier. The former student of the Ecole des Beaux Arts was unknown. The diamond-shaped plot was imposed on Garnier by Prefect Haussmann. Construction began in 1860 and the building, with its excesses, profusion and splendour, was finally inaugurated in 1875. The Emperor had by then gone into exile in England. He died in 1873.

NOTE: FREE but need to REGISTER.  Scroll down to Please click here to register for Zoom and Please click here to view this talk via our YouTube channel.
The Magic of Venetian Glass (1:00:00) (1 pm Thurs 18th March)
Speaker Suzanne Higgott, Curator of Glass, Limoges Painted Enamels, Earthenwares and Early Furniture at the Wallace Collection. The period from the late 15th to the mid 17th century is often described as the ‘Golden Age’ of Venetian glass. Such was the awe in which it was held, it was reputed to have magical qualities.

NOTE: Without commentary
tokyo explorer – Bing video
Kamakura Walk: The ‘Hydrangea Temple’ (00:17:23)
A peaceful ‘virtual walk’ without commentary through the lush, wooded valley in which the temple is situated. The valley is filled with thousands of blue hydrangeas, which only bloom in abundance in June. Steps and wooden bridges provide vantage points. The temple of the Rinzai Zen was founded in 1160. It later became part of a larger temple complex but only the Meigetsuin Temple, also known as the Hydrangea Temple, remains today.
(NOTE: The sound of the aeroplane at the beginning of the walk disappears very quickly!)

NOTE: Ticket prices from £4.50 to £8.50. Scroll down to the green button ‘Tickets’.
Capture the Castle – The Birth of the Picturesque (1:00:00 to 1:30:00) (7 pm Tues 16th March)
Alastair Eales has an MA in European Fine Art and is a Gallery Lecturer at Southampton City Art Gallery. He ‘captures’ the aesthetic ideal of the picturesque, part of the Romantic sensibility of the 18th century. The talk will last 60 to 90 minutes.

NOTE: £5. Click on button ‘BOOK NOW’. (NB: TIcket holders will have access to a recording after the event)
V&A · Online Talk: Stealing from the Saracens
Stealing from the Saracens (1:00:00) (4 pm Mon 15th March)
Diana Darke, author, broadcaster and Middle Eastern specialist, explores the influence of Islamic architecture on some of Europe’s most well-known and culturally significant buildings, from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Houses of Parliament. The lecture is to be given in conjunction with her latest publication ‘Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe’.

NOTE: £10. Book online at:
Payment preferably by bank transfer to: The Arts Society Grayshott, Account No 07208070,Sort Code 30-93-94.  For more details contact Ros Balfour via email: or telephone: 01428 604462. If necessary, arrangements can be made to pay by cheque.
Masters of the Sea – Special Interest Morning (10.30 am to 1 pm on Tues 16th March)
10.30 am to 11.30 am: Highlights of Maritime Art from the 16th century to the present day
11.30 am to 12 noon: Break for refreshment
12 noon to 1 pm: Dazzle Disguise and Disruption in War and Art
Dr James Taylor MA FRSA is a British author, expert on maritime art and former curator of pictures at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  He will give two one-hour talks with a half-hour break in between.

National Treasures – The Art of Collecting (1:00:00) (12 noon Mon 15th March)
Frank Cohen is a British businessman and art collector who is often referred to as ‘the Saatchi of the North’. He gives a tour of his warehouse, which contains works by Georg Baselitz, Frank Auerbach, L S Lowry, Edward Burra and Patrick Heron.

Fake or Fortune? (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 15th March)
Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce examine two works potentially by Paul Gaugin: possibly the first pencil sketch of the masterpiece ‘When Will You Marry?’ which sold for $200 million in 2015 and a still life of a bowl of fruit.

Episode 6: Mystery of the Lost Paintings (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 15th March)
Factum Arte attempts to recreate the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt’s ‘Medicine’ that was destroyed in 1945 by the retreating German army.

3/3 The Story of Welsh Art (1:00:0) (9 pm Mon 15th March)
The whistle stop tour through Wales’s overlooked art history concludes as it reaches the 20th century, with the rise of abstraction. Huw Stephens visits the National Museum Wales in Cardiff, Bardsey Island off the Llyn Peninsula, Colwyn Bay and Swansea. He learns about artists including Gwen John and Christopher Williams.
(NOTE: The series will be available on BBC iPlayer for eleven months.)

Ireland’s Treasures Uncovered (1:00:00) (9 pm Tues 16th March)
The story of the famous artefacts that helped shape and create modern Ireland such as the Broighter Hoard, the Tara Brooch, the Waterford Charter Roll and others. There is also a look at recent finds. (First shown on BBC 1)

My Rembrandt (2:00:00) (9 pm Tues 16th March)
The documentary offers a glimpse into the world of collectors, all of whom have a passion for Rembrandt’s paintings.

Brunelleschi’s Impossible Dome (1:00:00) (3 pm Wed 17th March)
As the Dome of Florence Cathedral turns 600 years old, architects and art historians discuss the pioneering solutions and devices invented by its designer Filippo Brunelleschi, considered to be a founding father of Renaissance architecture.

GOOGLE: ‘Nightly Met Opera Stream Metropolitan Opera’;  scroll down to UPCOMING SCHEDULE WEEK 53, click on the name of the opera available for free that day.
NOTE: Performances are free online for TWENTY-THREE HOURS. They begin at 7.30 pm in New York and finish at 6.30 pm (NY) the next day. There is a FIVE-HOUR time difference with the UK. 
WEEK 53 – Viewers’ Choice
Monday 15th March – Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (2009)
Tuesday 16th March – Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (2018)
Wednesday 17th March – Donizetti’s Anna Bolena (2011)
Thursday 18th March – Philip Glass’s Akhnaten (2019)
Friday 19th March – Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2007)
Saturday 20th March – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (2007)
Sunday 21st March – Handel’s Agrippina (2020)

WEEK COMMENCING 8th March 2021

Suggestions for arts-related viewing available on the I/Net, on YouTube and via Zoom, as well as on BBC 2, BBC 4, Sky Arts Freeview Channel 11 and BBC iPlayer. (NB: Sky Arts Freeview has only been available on Channel 11 since late last year. It may be necessary to ‘retune’ televisions in order to receive it.)
NOTE: Any suggestion which is not free is marked (*).

HILLWOOD Museum, Washington DC                                       Royal Diamonds (1:11:16)

Caroline de Guitot, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts of the Royal Collection Trust discusses some of the most important diamonds in royal ownership. Diamonds have served as symbols of magnificence, power, longevity and dynastic rule for hundreds of years. The word diamond derives from the Ancient Greek word ‘adamas’ meaning invincible.

NOTE: Hillwood Museum sits on the 25-acre estate of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post  (1887-1973) who used  much of her fortune to collect art, much of which is on display in the Museum.

NOTE: FREE but need to REGISTER. Scroll down to Please click here to register for Zoom and  Please click here to view this talk via our YouTube channel.
Lady Wallace  (1:00:00) (1 pm Mon 8th March)
Speaker Suzanne Higgott, Curator of Glass, Limoges Painted Enamels, Earthenware and Early Furniture at the Wallace Collection will discuss the life and legacy of Lady Wallace, the shy, enigmatic French woman who bequeathed the Wallace Collection to the Nation.

NOTE: FREE but need to REGISTER. Scroll down to: Please click here to register for Zoom and Please click here to view this talk on our YouTube channel.
Revealing Marie-Antoinette (1:00:00) (6 pm Wed 10th March)
Dr Helen Jacobsen, Curator of French 18th-century Decorative Arts at the Wallace Collection and Professor Catriona Seth, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature, University of Oxford will discuss the life and patronage of the ill-fated French Queen. Together they explore the many pieces of fine and decorative art linked to Marie-Antoinette in the Wallace Collection.

youtube sicily an island at the crossroads of history – Bing video
GOOGLE: ‘Paul Mellon lecture Sicily Crossroads of History YouTube’
Sicily an Island at the Crossroads of History (00:52:18)
The lecture was given in February 2016 by the historian and broadcaster John Julius Cooper, 2nd Viscount Norwich, known as John Julius Norwich (1929-2018). He uses the material from his book ‘Sicily:  A Short History from the Ancient Greeks to Cosa Nostra’ published in 2014. Images include the Doric temple at Segesta, the theatre of Taormina, the Cathedral at Syracuse, the Roman floor mosaics from the Villa Casale, the Cathedral of Cefalù , the  Palatine chapel in the Royal Palace of Palermo, the Greek church of the Martorana and the Cathedral and cloisters of Monreale.
NOTE: John Julius Norwich published his first book about Sicily in 1967 ‘The Normans in the South 1016-1130′.

CORDOBA, Andalusia
Visit of Cordoba (00:13:16)
In the 11th century, the city of Cordoba was one of Europe’s most important capitals, where people from diverse cultures and religions lived peacefully together. The 8th century Great Mosque or La Mezquita was converted into a Christian place of worship in 1236 at the time of the Spanish Reconquista, although it was only in the 16th century that the cathedral nave and transept were inserted inside the mosque. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The tour also includes some of the historic quarter and the palace fortress Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos with its magnificent gardens.

THE WATTS GALLERY, Guildford (*)
NOTE: Tickets £12. See second link below for contact details.
For further information:  Phone 01483 840235 or email Nerissa Taysom at     
The Arts and Crafts House (1:15:00)  (11 am Mondays 8th – 29th March)
A series of lectures organised by the Watts Gallery. In 1891, G F and Mary Watts moved to Limnerslease, which was designed by Sir Ernest George and built at the start of the Arts & Crafts movement. Celebrating Limnerslease in 2021, the course introduces the British Arts & Crafts movement through key buildings, designers, collectors and inhabitants.

NOTE: Tickets:  £25.  To book your place or for further information, send an email to Nancy Bettelley: or telephone her on 020 8852 5432
For details:  See https://www.the arts society
East Meets West: Indochina and France: Cultural Exchange and Artistic Fusion (2 pm on Saturday 13th March)
Part 1:Vietnam and Laos (00:45:00)
Part 2: Cambodia (00:45:00)
Special Interest/Study Afternoon: two lectures with a ten-minute break in between. The speaker is  Arts Society lecturer Denise Heywood, who is an art historian, author, lecturer, photographer and journalist. She worked in Cambodia for three years in the 1990s and has been a scholar of Southeast Asian art ever since.


Series 1 Episode 3: National Treasures – The Art of Collecting  (1:00:00) (12 noon Mon 8th March)

Art collector David Lewis talks about his collection of Old Masters, concentrating on those he has hanging on his walls at home. The Lewis family own the private Schorr Collection, numbering more than 400 paintings including one of the largest collections of Old Masters amassed in England since World War II. Many adorn, on long-term loans, the walls of museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK and abroad.

Series 6 – Fake or Fortune (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 8th March)
An Australian couple believe they own a work by Tom Roberts (1856-1931), key member of the Heidelberg School, also known as Australian impressionism and one of Australia’s greatest artists. They have been told it is a fake. Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce try to uncover the truth.

Hepworth (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 8th March)
The life and work of sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), a pivotal figure in the British art world, with insight from experts and artists whom her work has influenced.

2/3 The Story of Welsh Art (1:00:00) (9 pm 8th March)
Huw Stephens explores how from the 18th century, the dramatic landscape of Wales captivated artists like Richard Wilson (1713-1782), one of the founder members of the Royal Academy and J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), and how their work changed the course of art history.

The Art of Architecture (1:00:00) (7 pm Tues 9th March)
Series 2 Episode 6: Island Rest, Hampshire
A look at the work of RIBA award-winning Swedish architect Magnus Ström. ‘Island Rest’ is situated on a creek on the Isle of Wight with direct access to the water and views of the Solent beyond. The studio of Ström Architects is located in Lymington.

GOOGLE: ‘Nightly Met Opera Stream Metropolitan Opera’;  scroll down to UPCOMING SCHEDULE WEEK 52, click on name of opera available for free that day.
NOTE: Performances are free online for TWENTY-THREE HOURS. They begin at 7.30 pm in New York and finish at 6.30 pm (NY) the next day. There is a FIVE-HOUR time difference with the UK. 
WEEK 52 Verismo Passions
Monday 8th – Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (1980)
Tuesday 9th – Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (2015)
Wednesday 10th – Cilia’s Adriana Lecouvreur (2019)
Thursday 11th – Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini (2013)
Friday 12th – Giordano’s Fedora (1997)
Saturday 13th – Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (1996)
Sunday 14th – Puccini’s Tosca (2018)



WEEK COMMENCING 1st March 2021

Suggestions for arts-related viewing available on the I/Net, on YouTube and via Zoom, as well as on BBC 2, BBC 4, Sky Arts Freeview Channel 11 and BBC iPlayer. (NB: Sky Arts Freeview has only been available on Channel 11 since late last year. It may be necessary to ‘retune’ televisions in order to receive it.)

NOTE: Any suggestion which is not free is marked (*).

national gallery gaugin youtube – Bing video
Introduction to Gaugin Portraits (00:48:20)
Dr Cornelia Homburg, art historian and curator, is a specialist in late 19th and 20th century art and co-curated this 2019 exhibition.  Dr Homburg refers to the complex and challenging personality of Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) and explains that in his portraits the artist would often go beyond observation and fuse reality with emotions, associations, dreams and his own aspirations.
The Telegraph *****:  “exquisite”; Evening Standard ****, “wonderful, revelatory show”
BRITISH MUSEUM, London                                                                                Curator’s tour of Tantra: enlightenment to revolution exhibition at the British Museum                                                                                                            Tantra – Enlightenment to Revolution (00:19:13)                                         Virtual tour of the 2020 exhibition which aims to demystify Tantra, with Imma Ramos, Curator of the Medieval to Modern South Asia Collections.  A philosophy that emerged in India in the sixth century AD, Tantra is a style of spiritual practice that has been linked to successive waves of revolutionary thought from its early transformation of Hinduism and Buddhism to the Indian fight for independence and the rise of 1960s counter culture.                              The Telegraph **** :  “replaces clichés with revolutionaries, female empowerment and proper historical context”; The Spectator: “spectacular and mind expanding”.
MUSEE D’ORSAY, Paris                                                                                     youtube musee d%27orsay james tissot – 国内版 Bing video                         James Tissot Exhibition – The Modern Ambiguity  (00:27:39)                         The 2020 exhibition was the first retrospective of the artist in Paris for 35 years. Jacques Joseph Tissot, Anglicized as James Tissot (1836-1902), made a career on both sides of the Channel. After beginning his career painting historical themes, he became a fashionable painter of Paris society, shown in various scenes of everyday life. He moved to London in 1871. After the death of his muse Kathleen Newton in 1882, he returned to France.

NOTE: without commentary. The visit starts with the arrival at the museum; entry into the exhibition begins five minutes into the film.  
Queen Victoria’s Erard piano (00:07:57)
queen victoria erard piano youtube – Bing video
Jonathan Marsden, Director of the Royal Collection Trust and David Winston, Piano Restorer and Conservator, are in the White Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace. They discuss this exquisitely decorated grand piano, commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1856 from the London firm Erard, and how the revolutionary design of the repetition lever would change the course of piano making. For Queen Victoria and Prince Albert the piano would have been the centre of their music-making at home.
NOTE:  In the next suggestion, the piano (on loan for the first time), is being played at the 2019 BBC Proms.

erard queen victoria prom 2019 stephen hough youtube – 国内版 Bing video
Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major (00:04:07)
The 2019 BBC Proms were a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Queen Victoria’s Erard piano had been loaned for the event from the Royal Collection by Her Majesty the Queen.  It was the first time the piano had been heard outside Buckingham Palace. The pianist was Stephen Hough.

NOTE: Cost £4.50, £5.50 and £8.50.
Fauvism – a Whistle Stop Tour (1:00:00 to 1:30:00) (7 pm Tues 2nd March)
Online Gallery Talk: discover Les Fauves with Alastair Eales, educator and doctoral researcher. Named in French as ‘Wild Beasts’, this group of early 20th century artists’ work emphasized strong colour and ‘painterliness’ – the qualities of colour, stroke and texture over line.

NOTE: Cost £5. See listing below for payment details and type Blue in the reference box if paying by bank transfer.                                                       Zoom link:
YouTube link:
The Colour Blue in Western Art (8 pm Tues 2nd March)
With Arts Society lecturer Dr Caroline Levisse, an art historian based in London. (There is an article by Dr Levisse in the latest Arts Society Magazine.) Nowadays in the West the colour blue is immensely popular but it has not always been the case. The lecture retraces the story of blue in Western Art from Antiquity and looks at the changing meanings given to this colour as well as at the different materials used to create blue pigments.

NOTE: Cost £10. Pay by bank transfer to sort code 40-38-18, account 31024191 or by sending a cheque payable to The Arts Society Richmond at 238 St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham TW1 1NL. If you pay by bank transfer type in the first letters of Donatello in the reference box. (No need to put your name. It’s an honesty system.) 
Zoom link:
YouTube link:
Donatello and the Sculpture of the Italian Renaissance – Study Afternoon (two x 45 minutes) (4 pm Fri 5th March)
With Arts Society lecturer and historian Jo Walton. There will be a short break between the two lectures. Donatello (1386-1466) was one of the pioneers of the Renaissance. The study afternoon looks at the huge range of his sculpture from delicate idealism to startling realism to the astonishing emotional force of his later works.

NOTE: Cost £12. Click on link then on red button BUY TICKETS
Buy tickets for A Virtual Tour of the Vatican Museums and The Sistine Chapel on Zoom, Sun 7 Mar 2021
Virtual Tour: Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums (1:30:00) (6.30 pm Sun 7th March)
Join Stuart Harvey, qualified tourist guide, for a virtual highlights tour including ancient Roman sculptures and mosaics, Renaissance tapestries, the Raphael Rooms and Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. (The tour is organized by Blue Badge Premium Virtual Tours.)

NOTE: Cost £10 payable to the Arts Society Pewsey Vale.To make booking: Email (No cheques!) Make payment to:  Account No 43922561, Sort code 20-05-06. (Use surname plus V in the reference box.)
Venice: Virtual Walking Tour through Santa Croce and San Polo: on Zoom (1:00:00) (11 am Tues 9th March) 
Outdoor-led live tour with Luisella Romeo, a registered tour guide in Venice since 2000: Campo San Giacomo dal’Orrio, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, the Church of the “Frari” otherwise called Santa Maria Gloriosa and the Scuola Grande San Roco. NB. There will be fifteen minutes for questions after the one-hour tour. 
(Some members will have watched Luisella Romeo give a Zoom virtual walking tour of the Dorsoduro district of Venice in October 2020.)
NOTE!  If it is raining on the day, this walking tour will not take place.

Mackintosh  – Glasgow’s Neglected Genius (1:00:00) (until midnight Tues 2nd March)
Glasgow artist Lachlan Goudie examines the life, work and legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) Scotland’s most celebrated Scottish architect and designer: his most iconic buildings (including the Glasgow School of Art), his design and his watercolours. (First shown June 2018)

Episode 2: National Treasures: the Art of Collecting (12 noon Mon 1st March)
Francesco Carraro’s remarkable collection of Venetian Murano  glass includes works by the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978), who translated his interest in the techniques of the artist and craftsman into ingenious glass design.
Mystery of the Lost Paintings: The Lost Lempicka (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 1st March)
The series continues. Factum Arte recreates de Lempicka’s Myrto, priceless painting that was stolen by the Nazis during World War II and never recovered. The Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) is best known for her Art Deco portraits of aristocrats and the wealthy.

1/3 New Series – The Story of Welsh Art (1:00:00) (9 pm Mon 1st March)
Huw Stephens explores the visual arts of Wales: a Neolithic burial chamber, a Bronze Age gold cape, now one of the prize exhibits at the British Museum, towering Celtic crosses and a rare surviving example of Welsh medieval stained glass.
The Art of Architecture (1:00:00) (7 pm Tues 2nd March)
Swiss-British architect Christina Seilern reflects on her commission to create a world-class concert hall, for which she won a RIBA award, in the village of Andermatt in the Swiss Alps.

The Man Who Shot New York (1:00:00) (12 noon Wed 3rd March)
A look at the life and work of American photographer Harold Feinstein (1931-2015).  At his death the New York Times declared him to be “one of the most accomplished recorders of the American experience”.BBC TWO                                                                                                 Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez                                             3/3 Series 2 World’s First City (1:00:00) (9 pm Fri 5th March)                          Historian Janina Ramirez explores the story of the archaeologist James Mellaart (1925-2012) who in 1961 discovered at Catalhöyük in Turkey the world’s oldest city, dating back 9,000 years.

GOOGLE: ‘Nightly Met Opera Stream Metropolitan Opera’;  scroll down to UPCOMING SCHEDULE WEEK 51, click on name of opera available for free that day.
NOTE: Performances are free online for TWENTY-THREE HOURS. They begin at 7.30 pm in New York and finish at 6.30 pm (NY) the next day. There is a FIVE-HOUR time difference with the UK. 
WEEK 51 – Women’s History Week
Monday 1st – Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (1979)
Tuesday 2nd – Verdi’s Falstaff (1992)
Wednesday 3rd – Wagner’s Die Walküre (1989) 
Thursday 4th – Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (2017)
Friday 5th – Britten’s Peter Grimes (2008)
Saturday 6th – Dvorak’s Rusalka (2014)
Sunday 7th – Verdi’s La Forza del Destino (1984)

WEEK COMMENCING 22nd February 2021

Suggestions for arts-related viewing available on the I/Net, on YouTube and via Zoom, as well as on BBC 4, BBC 2, Sky Arts Freeview Channel 11 and BBC iPlayer. (NB: Sky Arts Freeview has only been available on Channel 11 since late last year. It may be necessary to ‘retune’ televisions in order to receive it.)

CORRECTION! Last week: the name of Pablo Picasso’s friend should have been Carlos CASAGEMAS

NOTE: Any suggestion which is not free is marked (*).

NOTE: Although free, need to ‘REGISTER’, very easy to do. Scroll down page and click on Please click here to register for Zoom.  Option to watch on YouTube: scroll down further to ‘Please click here to watch this talk on our YouTube channel’.
The Stuart Court (1:30:00) (5.30 pm Mon 22nd Feb)
Description of collections and their display at the Stuart Court in 1669. Dr Sara Ayres from the  University of Copenhagen discusses the fascinating manuscript account of  the Grand Tour of Prince George of Denmark (1653-1708).  At the age of sixteen, Prince George left to spend two years travelling in Europe. On their return, his tutor, who was in the party, wrote an account of their visits to the great cities, cathedrals, courts and collections of France,  England and Italy. As Danish is not a language widely spoken outside the Nordic regions, this manuscript has been locked up for three centuries.

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, New York q=Mellon+Lectures&ru=%2fvideos%2fsearch%3fq%3dMellon
West Meets East (00:56:42)
The  Museum owns the most comprehensive collection of Chinese masterpieces outside of Asia, reaching back over 5,000 years: bronzes, jade, metal, clay, ivory, porcelain, silk and paper.  Contributions by Museum Director Philippe de Montebello (“there is something about the Chinese mind, their sense of culture that makes it an integral part of daily life”), Curator of Chinese Painting Mike Hearn, Curator of Chinese Decorative Arts Denise Leidy, Chairman of the Asian Art Department James Watt and Associate Curator of the Asian Art Department Jason Sun.

Series 2 Episode 6:  Love in Paint – Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (00:07:08)
Art dealer Philip Mould began this series in 2020 and returned to it in January of this year. Filmed at home by his son during lockdown, he discusses his personal collection of artworks. He examines a work by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890-1978) Daphnis and Chloe, painted in 1914 . The medium used is egg tempera, which gives the painting an eggshell finish. Mould suspects the style of the artist’s composition could have been influenced by Ravel’s ballet of the same name, which was being performed in Paris at that time.  He also considers the lifelong influence of the artist’s travels in Italy as a young man.

Spotlight on the V&A Furniture Collections (00:11:15)
The Museum collection consists of 14,000 pieces of furniture made in the West, from medieval to contemporary: chairs, tables, cabinets, beds and bookcases as well as musical instruments, caskets, clocks and mirrors. Includes a look behind the scenes: the treatment of degraded lacquer surfaces and the use of a new technique – dry ice – to clean the gilt bronze on a mid-18th century writing cabinet made for King Augustus III of Poland.

NB Richmond Arts Society have apologized for the technical difficulties, particularly with the sound, during last Tuesday’s (live) Tokyo Walk and wish to  point out that the sound quality improves after 20 minutes. (The recording is now available “for a long time – there are no plans to take the link down.”)
NOTE: £5 donation either by bank transfer to sort code 40-38-18, account 31024191 or by cheque payable to: The Arts Society Richmond and sent to 238, St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham TW1 1NL. For payment by bank transfer, put the word Tokyo in the reference box. 
YOUTUBE link is below. (The PASSWORD  is: InsideJapan NB the two words are joined up)
Tokyo Walk with Inside Japan Tours (1:00:00)

NOTE: £6 . Click on link to purchase:
Pioneering Women Artists in the Collection: Gillian Ayres (1:00:00) (7 pm Wed 24th Feb)
Discover and explore the work of English artist Gillian Ayres OBE (1930-2018), best known for her abstract painting and printmaking using vibrant colours.
See Tate website for 15 images of her works: Click on link and scroll down to ARTWORKS

NOTE: £15. Click on link and scroll down to Spring Study Day Booking Form. Information will be sent on how to join via Zoom.
The Romanovs –  Tyrants and Martyrs of Imperial Russia (10.30 am to 3.30 pm on Friday 26th February, with the usual breaks for coffee and lunch)
Douglas Skeggs discusses the dynasty which ruled Russia for over three hundred years: Peter The Great, the Founder of St Petersburg, Catherine The Great, the most powerful of all the Empresses of Russia and the tragic Nicholas II, the last tsar.
Session 1: The Blaspheming Bear – The life of Peter the Great
Session 2: The New Byzantium – Russia at the time of Catherine the Great
Session 3: The Last Romanovs – The Life and death of Nicholas and Alexandra
NOTE: Douglas Skeggs read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer since 1980. He has taken numerous tours around Europe.

National Treasures: The Art of Collecting (1:00:00) (12 noon Mon 22nd Feb)
A documentary about Professor Nasser David Khalili’s journey as a collector. The film will highlight multiple objects from The Eight Khalili Collections, which have been assembled over five decades. Professor Khalili was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2020.  On the website there are beautiful images of many items from the collections including: enamels of the world, Spanish Damascene metalwork, Islamic art, Japanese art of the Meiji period and Swedish textiles.

1/3 Series 6  – Constable (1:00:00) 8 pm Mon 22nd Feb)
Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce investigate a landscape that may be a lost painting by John Constable (1776-1837). The work seems to bear all the hallmarks of the artist’s early sketches but was dismissed as another artist’s work thirty years ago. As Mould is one of the previous owners, it is of particularly personal interest to him.  (Repeat)

Mystery of the Lost Paintings: Vermeer’s The Concert (1:00:00) (8 pm Mon 22nd Feb)
The series continues, telling the story of paintings that have been tragically lost, stolen or destroyed. A team of ingenious art experts recreate The Concert by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). The painting was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in  Boston in 1990 in the biggest art heist in modern times. In 2015 it was valued at US$250 million. It remains missing.

Van Gogh – an Exclusive View from Tate Britian (1:00:00) (12 noon Tues 23rd Feb)
The 2019 exhibition Van Gogh in Britain at Tate Britain featured forty-five works telling the story of the artist’s time in England.

512 Hours with Marina Abramovic (2:00:0) (9 pm Tues 23rd Feb)
In 2014, seven years after her acclaimed MoMA retrospective in New York, the Serbian-born art star decided to test her emotional limit and that of her audience at the Serpentine Gallery in London. (The Week wrote at the time: “critics were mesmerized by Abramovic’s strange, interactive performance.”)

Wyeth (1:00:00) (12 noon Wed 24th Feb)
A portrait of Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), one of the most loved but lambasted painters in American history. Though popular with the public, the realist artist’s works greatly divided the art world.

Fresco Secrets (1:00:00) (12 noon Thurs 25th Feb)
Painting on stone, the first artistic gesture of a human being to have survived the ages: from the fragile traces of Lascaux to the elegant visions of ancient Rome to the dazzling visions of Michelangelo.

Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez
2/3 Series 2 The Viking Ship (1:00:00) (9 pm Fri 26th Feb)
Janina Ramirez investigates the 1,000 year-old Oseberg ship and its treasures. It is the oldest and best preserved Viking ship in the world and was rediscovered in 1903 in Norway, transforming the reputation of the Vikings, the warriors previously known as savages.

NOTE: FREE (but donations would be appreciated clicking on gold button DONATE). Live streamed in HD video and then available for 30 to 90 days. Click on ‘Watch our Live Stream’. See website for full details:
Spring 2021 Wigmore Series (7.30 pm Mon to Fri)
The Spring Series has just been announced, culminating in Easter Week. Concerts from 22nd February every (week) night at 7.30 pm (and some lunchtimes at 1 pm).. This week’s evening concerts:
Monday 22nd – Doric String Quartet:  Beethoven and Mozart
Tuesday 23rd – Dunedin Consort:  J.S. Bach
Wednesday 24th – Benjamin Baker and Daniel Lebhart:  Brahms, Copland and Janácek
Thursday 25th – Fretwork:  Cranford, Gibbons, Holborne and more
Friday 26th – Tim Horton: Chopin, Mozart and Szyamanowski

GOOGLE: ‘Nightly Met Opera Streams Metropolitan Opera’; scroll down to UPCOMING SCHEDULE ‘WEEK 50’, click on name of opera available for free that day.
NOTE: Performances are free online for TWENTY-THREE HOURS. They begin at 7.30 pm in New York and finish at 6.30 pm (NY) the next day. There is a FIVE-HOUR time difference with the UK. 
WEEK 50 – Dmitri Hvorostovksy* (see footnote below)
Monday 22nd  – Verdi’s Il Trovatore (2011)
Tuesday 23rd  – Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades (1999)
Wednesday 24th – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (2007)
Thursday 25th  – Verdi’s Hernani (2012)
Friday 26th – Verdi’s La Traviata (2012)
Saturday 27th  – Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (2012)
Sunday 28th – Verdi’s Il Trovatore (2015) (NB on Monday the performance is in 2011)

*NOTE: Dmitri Hvorostovsky won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the Year Award in 1989, beating Bryn Terfel, who won  the Lieder prize that year. (Hvorostovsky died tragically of a brain tumour at the age of 55 in 2017. His last performance was ‘Il Trovatore’ at The Met in 2015.)The BBC wrote this in 2019: “When people were asked for their strongest memories of the competition in the last thirty years, by far the most were of 1989, that extraordinary Battle between the Baritones. The competition brought world-class recognition to them both for the first time.  
To watch Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s winning performance in 1989 – arias from Un Ballo in Maschera, Queen of Spades and Don Carlos (00:21:24): 
Click on: dmitri hvorostovsky BBC cardiff singer competition youtube – Bing video