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Photographs © Michael Veale

Lecture archive

Events from our 2019/20 lecture season:

Thanks to our sponsor

The Arts Society, North Beds

Lecture: Hugh Belsey - The Grand Tour

Tuesday 11th February 2020, 7.30pm at the Higgins


Furthering his classical education, collecting works of art from antiquity or the renaissance, marvelling at sublime scenery - all were motivations for the 18th-century gentleman to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe.  Hugh Belsey will give us a new perspective on the Tour, explaining what the English ‘Milordi’ saw and, fascinatingly, how they made their travel arrangements, and who they took with them. 

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Keens Shay Keens Limited
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Lecture: Professor Phil Cleaver and Deborah Wolpe - Berthold Wolpe: The Total Man

Tuesday 14th January 2020, 7.30pm at the Higgins

Berthold Wolpe helped shape graphic design in post-war Europe. His 1,500 book jackets for Faber & Faber, with their intense colour and vivacious typography, were way ahead of their time, and his Albertus typeface continues to be widely admired and used by designers today.  Wolpe had arrived in London in 1935, having escaped Nazi persecution, and went on to teach at Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College.


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Lecture: Christopher Bennett - The Antarctic Explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 7.30pm 

Hertfordshire County Archivist Christopher Bennett will tell us about the extraordinary life of Bedford-born polar explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard.  His experiences as part of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole were recorded in ‘The Worst Journey in the World’, a book that is still in print over 80 years later and is considered a classic of travel literature.

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Lecture: Barry Venning - Artists' Feuds

Tuesday 29th October 2019, 7.30pm 

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The Whitbread Family

The history of art is peppered with first rate bust-ups: between the great early Renaissance artists, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, between Constable and Turner in the early 1830s, and, most recently, between the graffiti artists Banksy and ‘King’ Robbo, who painted out and amended each other’s works. Join popular lecturer and art historian, Barry Venning to find out about the world's greatest artistic feuds.

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Mr Julian Polhill

Lecture: Dr Anne Daye - An Exceeding Good Ball;

Dancing in the Life and Novels of Jane Austen

Tuesday 15th October 2019, 7.30pm 

Dr Daye, who has advised the BBC on its recreation of Regency dance in adaptations such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ will talk to us about dance in the era of Jane Austen. The intricacies of dances that would have been familiar to Austen and her family - cotillions, quadrilles and reels - will be explained, as will ballroom etiquette and music of the 1800s.


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Lecture: Dr David Boyd-Haycock - Augustus John

Tuesday 10th September 2019, 7.30pm at The Higgins

Despite achieving extraordinary fame in his lifetime, when his drawings were thought by John Singer Sargent to be amongst the finest seen since the Renaissance, Augustus John has grown increasingly obscure and is often better known for his Bohemian lifestyle than for his work.  Dr Boyd-Haycock will seek to restore John to his rightful place in the canon of British Art, in a lecture based on his book, ‘Augustus John: Drawn from Life’.

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Renowned landscape gardener and historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who is Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, will discuss his work at Hampton Court.  He has been responsible for the construction of the Chapel Court Garden - to mark 500 years since Henry VIII’s accession - and has recreated William and Mary’s 1690s kitchen garden.

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Lecture: Dr Todd Longstaffe-Gowan - Recent Improvements to

Hampton Court Gardens

Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 7.30pm at The Higgins

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Property Professionals

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