Lectures are held in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre, James Allen's Girls' School (off Green Dale, London SE22 8TX) at 7.30 for 8.00pm, and also on Zoom. The Sixth Form Centre has its own parking off Green Dale. See the Where We Meet page for directions. Click below to download the lecture programme. To join, go to the Membership page.

Download 2023 - 2024 lecture programme

Date: Thursday 14 March 2024, 8.00pm
Lecturer: James Renshaw

The Persian empire exploded into life during the middle of the 6th century BCE and was the largest in the world for the next two centuries. It stretched from the Mediterranean to the Indus Valley, from the Eurasian steppes to Egypt and Arabia. In around 515, its third great king, Darius I, commissioned the building of a new city, Persepolis, with his palace at its centre. What can this palace and its art tell us about the ideology of this extraordinary and influential empire?

Date: Thursday 11 April 2024, 12.00am
Lecturer: Nicole Mezey

A work of art is not just a symbol of creative genius but a historical object and the result of a laborious process of creation. This lecture looks at the development of stained glass, its purpose, the process by which it was created and some extraordinary examples of its survival. From vast cathedrals to tiny chapels, we will concentrate on the great achievements of the Middle Ages. We will also consider why this formerly pre-eminent art form has declined in popularity and show some of the projects in which it has been revived.

Date: Thursday 9 May 2024, 8.00pm
Lecturer: Nirvana Romell

Using great masterpieces as illustrations, the lecture proposes a novel approach to understanding classical painting from late medieval times to the early 19th century. It will teach the viewer how to look, think and be comfortable with any classical painting by posing and answering the Art Detective questions: what is it? why was it painted? how was it painted? when was it painted? where was it painted? And who painted it? The lecture will be followed the next day with a tour of selected paintings led by the lecturer at the National Gallery (charged separately).

Date: Thursday 13 June 2024, 12.00am
Lecturer: Rosalind Whyte

In 1936 Laura Knight became the first women to be elected as a full member of the Royal Academy, 168 years after its establishment. In her extraordinary career she painted landscapes, portraits and seascapes, as well as scenes from the circus, the ballet and the theatre. She was the only woman to be given War Commissions in both the First and Second World Wars and the only British artist to cover the Nuremburg Trails of 19486. This lecture provides an overview of her career and some of the remarkable achievements of her long life.

Date: Thursday 11 July 2024, 8.00pm
Lecturer: Irving Finkel

A source of endless pleasure to those who do it, often literally a lifelong matter; an evolving, complex, demanding and fascinating activity. Why do we do it? What does it achieve? And what happens to all those wonderful, cherished, idiosyncratic and deeply revealing collections in the end?