Paris Bordone Perseus armed by Mercury and Minerva c.1550
oil on canvas detail 104.2 x 154.2 cm. Birmingham Museum of Art, USA, formerly in the Cook Collection

£40 for the series of five: £10 per lecture

This series of five lectures will be offered remotely through Zoom, after the lecture there will be an opportunity to ask questions and afterwards each of the lectures will be available online. For those unfamiliar with Zoom two training sessions will take place before the series of talks.

Miscellany art and collecting
2 February to 3 March 2021

Perhaps strange times call for new solutions. Over the past fifteen years my lectures have examined Italian, British and Dutch art, country houses and the history of collecting. This short series of illustrated talks touches on each of these subjects. You will be acquainted with some of them, while others will bring fresh works of art into focus.

Wilton House is one of the most extraordinary survivals and it contains exceptional works of art. Michiel Sweerts worked in Rome and Amsterdam and his refreshing realism is engaging and surprising. The collection founded by Sir Francis Cook in the nineteenth century was available to the public but, as the family fortune diminished, so did the collection and it is now spread throughout the world. The protestant countries of Northern Europe received an influx of creative and inventive Huguenots escaping Catholic France. And finally what makes a regional style? Indeed, is there such a thing?

Lecture 1
Wilton House, Wiltshire: the grandest 17th century house in England
Tuesday 2 February 2021 at 2.15pm
Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 7.30pm

Built on the site of a nunnery, Wilton House is partly Tudor. It has an astonishing suite of 17th century state rooms designed in part by Inigo Jones and in the early 19th century the architect James Wyatt added to the building. It houses paintings by Rembrandt, van Dyck, Reynolds and Richard Wilson.

Lecture 2
Michiel Sweerts: an itinerant Flemish artist
Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 2.15pm
Wednesday 10 February 2021 at 7.30pm

Recent research has established Sweerts as one of the most unexpected painters of the 17th century. His work includes figure groups, allegorical works and portraits. In his twenties he worked in Rome and returned to Brussels sometime between 1652 and 1654 and moved on to Amsterdam in the early 1660s. He was a devoted Catholic and travelled via Marseille and Syria to Goa where he was cared for by Portuguese Jesuits until his death at the age of 46 in 1664.

Lecture 3
The Cook Collection: a major British collection
Tuesday 16 February 2021 at 2.15pm
Wednesday 17 February 2021 at 7.30pm

Sir Francis Cook bought Doughty House in Richmond in 1859 and filled it with works of art. His grandson, Sir Herbert Cook, catalogued the collection and added to it. But, with the diminution of their textile firm, his son, Sir Francis, the fourth baronet, dispersed the collection after the war and, amongst other places, the pictures are now in London, Rotterdam and San Francisco.

Lecture 4
The Huguenot invasion: France’s loss was Britain’s gain
Tuesday 23 February 2021 at 2.15pm
Wednesday 24 February 2021 at 7.30pm

In 1598 Henri IV gave freedom to the Protestant communities of France but in 1685 Louis XIV revoked his grandfather’s edict and drove the Protestant communities out of France into neighbouring countries. These communities included outstanding craftsmen including silversmiths, textile manufacturers, sculptors and painters who revolutionized British workmanship.

Lecture 5
Does East Anglian art exist?
Tuesday 2 March 2021 at 2.15pm
Wednesday 3 March 2021 at 7.30pm

Artistic communities based in Norwich, Cambridge, Southwold, Aldeburgh, Great Barfield and Benton End have all been identified, but do they have anything in common? If they do what are the links that bind them? Does provincial art have an identity or are there other overriding considerations?