Recent and forthcoming lectures
Note: the lectures will be held at the Watts Gallery.
William De Morgan was the most important ceramic artist of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a close friend and colleague of William Morris and his early designs reflect this close partnership. His wife Evelyn De Morgan nee Pickering was a highly respected artist in her own right, painting in a style which drew inspiration from both the pre-Raphaelite and symbolist movements. The couple were married in 1887 and in addition to their art, they became involved in many of the leading issues of the day including, prison reform, pacifism and spiritualism.
Claire Longworth studied Design History at the Royal College of Art, London, before going on to work in the research department at the V&A. She has also taught design history at several art schools in both the UK and Germany and has guest lectured for the Art Fund, Victorian Society and many other organisations. Claire has been the curator of the De Morgan Centre since 2002.
The greatest provincial architectural practice in late Victorian and Edwardian England was founded in the mid-1830s by the multi-talented Edmund Sharpe – architect, engineer, businessman, politician, and winner of the RIBA's Royal Gold Medal. Sharpe’s successor E.G. Paley developed the practice and in 1867 took on the man who elevated it to greatness – Hubert Austin, described as an architect of genius by Pevsner. The firm established a national reputation, especially for its churches, ranging from urban masterpieces to delightful country ones imbued with the spirit of Arts and Crafts. The firm also undertook commissions for almost every imaginable building type, from great country houses to the modest pub extension.
Geoff Brandwood is author of The Architecture of Sharpe, Paley and Austin, published by English Heritage. He has a longstanding interest in Victorian and Edwardian architecture and is the author of a study on the church architect, Temple Moore. He also co-authored English Heritage’s Licensed to Sell: The History and Heritage of the Public House, 2004. He is an active member of the Victorian Society and its former Chair, 2001-7.
The Gresham Press Institute was founded in 1879 by George Unwin, offering educational courses in art and science, lectures and entertainment for his work force at his Paper Mill in Chilworth. In 1895 he commissioned the purpose-built Greshambury Institute, designed by the architect W H Seth-Smith but tragically Unwin’s Paper Mill burnt down the same year. George Unwin was a friend of John Ruskin and a philanthropic mill owner. Using surviving material this lecture will explore the progressive Gresham Press Institute programme and the fascinating Arts and Crafts building which still survives as St Thomas’s Church in Chilworth.
Olive Maggs is a well known art historian who has taught and examined History of Art A-Level for many years and lectured for various organisations. She currently works in the Watts Gallery Learning Centre as a freelancer and continues to run courses locally. She has published on the work of the pioneering Victorian artist Anna Lea Merritt in Anna Lea Merritt: wall paintings in a Surrey Church (ACMS 2011)
Thursday 28 March 2013 10:30 – 16:30
We start the day with a continuation of our studies of the work of Sir Ernest George, with a visit to Ewhurst – to Woolpits, built by George between 1885-8 for Henry Doulton, the ceramics manufacturer. Doulton had wanted a place in the country and George certainly obliged with this fine new house with its thin red brick and terracotta decoration. The building occupies a commanding position with views to the south and the South Downs. Now a school it still manages to impress and we have the rare opportunity to visit and see the inside of this interesting example of George & Peto architecture. Our visit to Woolpits will be followed by lunch at The Bull’s Head in Ewhurst.
Then on to Cranleigh School for our tour of the school, purpose-built by Henry Woodyer during 1865-1869 in his trademark Gothic Revival style and featuring a fine chapel. Woodyer, who was born in Guildford and lived in Grafham purportedly built all his 300 commissions within a train journey of home – including St Peter’s in Hascombe, St Andrew’s Grafham, St Martins’ in Dorking and Shalford school. Society member, Robin Stannard, who has carried out considerable research into the work of the architect will provide an illustrated presentation and lead the group on a guided tour.
Saturday 11th May 2013 11:00 – 17:00
Croydon Airport Visitor Centre The Purley Way, first suggested in about 1908, as the first section of a London to Brighton motor road, which by-passed Croydon later became the principal industrial district of Croydon. The prestige of the road was considerably enhanced in 1928, when Croydon Airport was remodelled, and the new airport terminal and Aerodrome Hotel were sited on the Purley Way.Croydon Aerodrome had officially opened on 29 March 1920. Early British airlines found it difficult to operate profitably in competition with heavily subsidised foreign airlines and in 1924 the British government agreed to subsidise a British national airline known as Imperial Airways Ltd. The new airport functioned until 1959 when it closed. Our visit includes a tour of the terminal building with the two exhibitions and the control tower. We adjourn to the Aerodrome Hotel for lunch.
After lunch we drive to The Webb Estate for a 2 hour guided walk. William Webb (1862 - 1930), a visionary local estate agent spent his lifetime developing his Garden Estate idea. He purchased 260 acres of land west of Purley town centre in 1888 and began to develop it in line with his own principles of housing development. The land was cleared of fences and fifty plots were laid out divided by privet hedges. When building began in 1898, houses were set on predefined plots separated by mature boundary hedges and established planting. Webb expressed these design principles in his book, Garden First in Land Development. The Webb Estate was designed with the character of country lanes and English garden villages. Webb’s experiment to build a ‘garden home for city men’ pre-dates the garden city of Letchworth and the garden suburb of Hampstead and grew out of the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on garden design at the turn of the century. It is the overall concept and execution of the generous and imaginative planting which persuaded the London Borough of Croydon to designate it as a Conservation Area.
The afternoon will end with tea at a local resident’s home on Upper Woodcote Village Green.
Tuesday 11th June 2013 11:00 – 17:00
The Lutyens Trust has once again kindly allowed the Society to hold a study day at Goddards during their summer week at the house. Sir Edwin Lutyens designed Goddards in 1898-1900 for Sir Frederick Mirrielees as a place where 'Ladies of Small Means' might rest and enjoy the courtyard garden planted by Gertrude Jekyll. Goddards was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 and has been expertly restored by the Landmark Trust for holiday lettings. The Lutyens Trust archive is held in the Study-Library. During our visit there will be an opportunity to explore the house and garden at Goddards with a guided tour.
Our theme for the day is Collecting Antiques of the Arts and Crafts Period, the idea being to provide a sociable setting for members to share their experiences of collecting. You are invited to bring along an item(s) from your own collection and talk about it for about five minutes: explain why you like it, how it came into your possession, what you know about the designer, the manufacturer, the process for production and how to identify similar pieces. Do bring along any relevant published or historic material. We are hoping for an informal Antiques Road Show, but without the valuation. If you have a mystery item or one that you have failed to identify – bring that too! Of course, you do not need to be a collector to join in the day. Depending on the number participating we may be able to assemble a short PowerPoint presentation of images relating to the items. A Sussex chair by Morris & Co., a copper jug featured in The Studio magazine and contemporary books on Arts and Crafts building construction are some of the pieces likely to appear at the event. We are awaiting confirmation but do hope to have an expert in Arts and Crafts antiques present.
During the afternoon we have a generous invitation from members of the Society to visit their local Arts and Crafts house, dated 1889, reputably designed by architect Hugh Thackeray Turner (not yet proven, but he lived in the area at the time). The house was significantly remodelled in the late 1990s by architect Roderick Gradidge with Stedman and Blower as managing architects. Gradidge received his only RIBA design award (jointly) for the east end. The house is authentically presented and the garden has been developed over the last ten years. A short presentation about the house will feature during the morning.
Wednesday 26th June 2013 10:30 – 16:00
In the morning an opportunity to visit Christ Church, Ottershaw, designed in the studio of Sir Gilbert Scott with stained glass windows and the reredos by C E Kempe. This church was the gift of one man, Sir Edward Colebrooke, who came to live in Ottershaw in 1859. We will have a talk on both the church and Colebrooke.
After a buffet lunch at a local Inn we will move to Greatwood, by kind permission of the owners. This is an imposing house designed by M H Baillie Scott and built in 1914. The house represents the striking use of the long sloping roof as a mediating element between modern and traditional architecture. The entrance façade gives little indication of what lies within, the great hall with imposing fireplace, a minstrels’ gallery, a massive beamed ceiling and a recessed dining room - all lovingly restored by the owners. We will also have afternoon tea at Greatwood.
A four day tour: Monday 9th - Thursday 12th September 2013
Following the Society's successful annual residential tours of Cambridge, Kent, Malvern and Bournemouth, we are planning a longer visit to North West England to see a number of museums and buildings of Arts and Crafts interest.
On day one, we start in the early afternoon at Eaton Hall Chapel built in the 1870s with Morris panels and outstanding stained glass by Frederic Shields, then on to Eccleston village, one of the most attractive of the Eaton Estate villages with a range of John Douglas’s domestic architecture and St Mary’s Church by GF Bodley. Then on to Burton Manor with an original Thomas Mawson garden where we will be guided after tea.
The focus for our second day is Port Sunlight, a garden village founded in 1888 by the soap manufacturer W.H. Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, for his factory workers. Port Sunlight holds a unique place in the history of town planning: it represents the boldest vision of providing industrial workers with decent sanitary housing in a considered architectural and picturesque form. We start with a guided tour of the Lady Lever Art Gallery, with its important collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. After a café lunch the Port Sunlight Museum will provide an introductory film, guided tour of exhibition and, after tea, a guided walk of Port Sunlight Village with its public and domestic buildings by a variety of architects. We return to our hotel for a pre-dinner lecture by Barrie and Wendy Armstrong, authors of The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West of England.
For our third day we travel by coach, commencing with the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum to see the Della Robbia collection of ceramics. Then onto Liverpool and the Church of St John the Baptist by G F Bodley at Tue Brook, with Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co windows and Kempe decorations. Next on to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral for a tour including the crypt by Edwin Lutyens. Lunch is at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, an historic pub interior with much Art Nouveau metal ware, marble, ceramics, stained glass - and food. In the afternoon Sefton Park offers three churches: St Clare’s by Leonard Stokes, The Unitarian Church by Thomas & Percy Worthington and St Agnes and St Pancras by JL Pearson as well as the St Agnes Vicarage by Richard Norman Shaw. This will be followed by a walk into the park for tea and to see the magnificent Palm House, built in 1896, before returning to our hotel by coach.
On the fourth day we hope to visit Thornton Manor with its Thomas Mawson gardens, which was in the hands of the Leverhulme family for over 110 years. We shall explore the village of Thornton Hough where, under the philanthropic ownership of Joseph Hirst, a small model village was created. Later it was acquired by Lever, who engaged his favorite architects, including John Douglas, Grayson & Ould, Jonathon Simpson and his son, James Lomax-Simpson on further schemes of improvement justifying its conservation area designation. Most elements of the tour are now in place although there might be some small changes. We shall stay for three nights, Monday 9th to Wednesday 11th September, at Thornton Hall Hotel, Thornton Hough, Wirral an AA 4 star hotel, 3 AA Rosettes for fine dining and World Luxury Spa Awards Winner 2013. Provisional bookings have been made with the hotel.
Details of past events
Archive details of past events are available for the following years:
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