We have 9 lectures each year, at 1.15 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month, in the Gimcrack Room at York Racecourse (location information here).

A summary of our 2017-18 programme is shown below.

We choose the lecturers to match our programme from the NADFAS national register.  They are all speakers of proven quality and experts in their field.  We prefer striking a balance between interest and education, delivery and content.

Vienna Lecture

The Art and Culture of fin-de-siecle Vienna

Tuesday 27th June 2017 GAVIN PLUMLEY
At the turn of the century, Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffman, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and the composer Gustav Mahler. This talk asks why the city of dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.


The End of Shadows: Light and the Painter

Tuesday 26th September 2017 NICOLE MEZEY
Symbolic, illuminating, awe inspiring light is a vital tool of the artist. The brooding moods of Rembrandt, the dappled pastures of Constable, the reflections of Impressionism, the symbolism of haloes and divine radiance-all would be impossible without the emotional and physical effects of light. From the gold of Medieval altarpieces to photography, techniques and materials capture its rich and subtle possibilities.


Thinking about Furniture

Tuesday 24th October 2017 REV. JONATHAN MEYER
This lecture looks at ways of examining furniture considering what features one should be looking for to establish authenticity. In so doing it will seek to think about how furniture was made and used as both these aspects will help illuminate the way in which it should show signs of age and wear.


Wonders of the Roman Empire – Off Limits

Tuesday 28th November 2017 DR. SAM MOORHEAD
Recent turmoil in much of the Near East and North Africa means most of the impressive sites in the Roman Empire can no longer be visited. Sam Moorhead worked in parts of the Eastern Mediterranean which are now too dangerous to explore. Sam will outline Roman activity in the region and focus on cities which have largely been destroyed such as Hatra in Iraq, Palmyra in Syria.


Classical Palaces and Gothic Structures

Tuesday 23th January 2018 MELISSA GALLIMORE
This lecture focuses on specific examples of design from the 18th and 19th Century and examines the many influences behind country house architecture. We will consider classical monuments, Palladian villas and ecclesiastical monuments to see how they affected the architecture and internal arrangement of iconic houses that we see as quintessentially British.


Fakes and Forgeries

Tuesday 27th February 2018 PROF. NORMAN TENNENT
This lecture deals with the way in which science can complement connoisseurship in exposing fakes and forgeries. Methods include x-rays, pigment identification and dating techniques such as tree-ring dating, all combine to make the forger’s deceptions easier to detect. Forgeries in paintings, ceramics, stained glass, the famous Piltdown Skull and the less famous 1933 penny are amongst those revealed in this lecture.


Art in Fashion: a History of Fashion in Art

Tuesday 27th March 2018 ADRIAN SUMNER
Throughout history, fashion, costume and accessories have played a major part in defining the visual arts of any period, and the character and “look” of that period. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Jazz Babies, Revolutionary decolletage to Hippy Chic from the sumptuary laws of Renaissance Italy via the Cult of the Dandy to Alexander McQueen. This lecture will lay bare the facts and cover up the cracks simultaneously.


Masquerades, Music Lessons and Monkeys: the World of 18th Century Porcelain

Tuesday 24th April 2018 JANE GARDINER
This lecture explores the taste and fashion for porcelain figure sculpture in the eighteenth century, beginning as a form of table decoration and gradually moving on to the mantelshelf and into the china cabinet and how these figures reflect 18th century society in miniature.


The Geography of Art: Maps, Weather, Rocks and Paintings

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 STEPHEN TAYOR
Paul Sandby was a map maker and founder member of The Royal Academy and his paintings owe much to his map making. The lecture explores practical and imaginative links between painting and geographical enquiry from Sandby’s time to our own. The talk concludes with Google Earth and landscape painting today.