Dr Anne Anderson Lecture Titles 2021-2022


Tiffany: Master of Art Nouveau Glass

Modern Masters: Singer Sargent, Sorolla, Zorn and Kroyer

Art Nouveau in Budapest: the Hungarian Secession


California Dreaming: a tour of the Getty Centre, the Huntington and Norton Simon galleries

America’s Gilded Age: John Singer Sargent, Louise Comfort Tiffany and Stanford White


How we got IKEA! Scandinavian Design c. 1880-1960

Nordic Spirit: Grieg, Ibsen and Munch
Nordic Vision: Scandinavian Painting c. 1870-1914

Northern Lights: Danish Art & Design c. 1800-1960

Swedish Grace:  100 years of Swedish Art and Design.

Three Baltic Capitals: Vilnius, Riga and Tallin


The Frison town house | Visit Brussels
La Vie de Boheme: artistic life in Belle Epoch Paris

Art Nouveau: Art and Design 1900

Art Nouveau: Mackintosh and Vienna 1900

Brussels: Cradle of Art Nouveau

Nancy: Capital of French Art Nouveau

Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four
‘All art is erotic’: Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession

Vienna Secession 1918-2018: Klimt and Schiele

Masters of Art Nouveau: Galle, Lalique and Tiffany

Rene Lalique: Master of Art Nouveau Jewellery and Art Deco Glass

Catalonia Modernista: Antonio Gaudi and his Contemporaries


The Bauhaus 1919-2019: One Hundred Years of Modern Design

Modernism: from the Bauhaus to Your House

Art Deco: High Style in the Roaring Twenties


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Brothers in Art: the Pre-Raphaelites
Stunners: Pre-Raphaelite Models and Muses

Edward Burne-Jones and the Last Pre-Raphaelites

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts

The Good Life: Arts and Crafts in the Cotswolds: Gimson and the Barnsleys

From Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright- International Arts and Crafts

Beautiful Houses: Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s Greatest Architect

The Cult of Beauty: Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement

Lord Leighton’s Palace of Art: Artist’s Studio-Houses in London

Artful Pots from De Morgan to Moorcroft

Upstairs and Downstairs: A Victorian Christmas

Victorian Idyll: ‘Cottage Gardens’ from Allingham to Lutyens

Vulgar Society: from Frith to Tissot, images of Victorian Life

Alma-Tadema: The Classical World through Victorian Eyes

Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists 1880-1930: Modern painting comes to Scotland

Napoleonic Splendours: the Art and Architecture of Imperial France

Victoria Regina 1819-2019: The Birth of a Modern Monarchy


Everything stops for Tea! 
A popular study day that includes tea tasting and handling teawares

Popular Topics


These one hour lectures can easily be extended into study days


California Dreaming: a tour of the Getty Centre, the Huntington and Norton Simon Art Galleries.

It probably comes as a surprise to tourists to find so much culture in the Los Angeles area, with three world-class museums and one of the finest groups of Arts and Crafts Houses.  All this art centres on Pasadena, a rather attractive Art Deco city that is the home of the Norton Simon Art Gallery and the nearby Huntington Library and Art Gallery, in San Marino.  Not only do these institutions house remarkable collections, including Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Lawrence’s Pinkie at the Huntington and works by Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Moore and Hepworth at the Norton Simon, but the museums themselves are works of art.  The Huntington boasts some of the finest gardens in the world, the Japanese garden resembling a living version of the ‘Willow Pattern’, complete with teahouse and hump-backed bridge. The Norton Simon’s sculpture garden is simply breathtaking in its beauty.  The Getty Centre, designed by Richard Meier, overlooking LA, is equally outstanding as a work of art. Van Gogh’s Irises can be found here, although the collection of classical sculpture still resides at Getty Villa in Malibu.  Yet more riches can be found at the Los Angeles County Museum (LACM), where one encounters the American Arts and Crafts.  Back in Pasadena, in houses designed to reflect both the unique character of California and the spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement, one can directly experience the impact of the House Beautiful on American culture, in the beautiful but austere interiors of the Green and Green brothers.

How did we get IKEA?  Scandinavian Design c.1880-1960

Scandinavia became one of the leading countries for progressive design in the 20th century.   This survey begins with design reform and the arts and crafts movement at the close of the 19th century.  It includes the interiors of Carl Larsson, for many the direct precursor of the IKEA Swedish style; the metalwork of the Dane Georg Jensen, which drew heavily on the English Arts and Crafts; Swedish and Danish glass and ceramics- Orrefors, Rorstrand and Copenhagen.    The impact on Scandinavian designers of the Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism will be appraised bringing us up to the 1950s when it can be said Scandinavian design came of age.  Scandinavian Modern, as it was christened in America, offered an ideal lifestyle for the post war era, based on clean lines, natural materials and the notion that ‘less is more’. Founded on principles of economy and self-reliance- Do-It-Yourself- IKEA has globalized Scandinavian Modern and many have embraced its founder’s ethos as it suits our busy lifestyles. 

Nordic Vision: Scandinavian Painting c. 1870-1914

Scandinavian Painters embraced the modern in terms of technique and subject matter, following in the footsteps of the French Naturalists and Impressionists.  But in the 1890s many northern artists turned inward, both physically and mentally, to explore the ‘inner man’, Edvard Munch being the most notable example of contemporary angst. However, exhibitions have introduced us to Vilhelm Hammershoi, the Danish Vermeer and Carl Larsson, inventor of Swedish Style, whose charming illustrations of his idyllic home life have captured our imagination. Images of the snowy Northern landscape can now be found in calendars featuring Norway’s Harald Sohlberg and Finland’s Axel Gallen Kallela. Their work allows us insight into life in the wilderness. The artists’ colony at Skagen, on the tip of Jutland, which numbered Peder Severin Kroyer and Michael and Anna Ancher brought the fresh air approach of Impressionist painting to Denmark. In 2019  the RA staged the first exhibition in England devoted to the Finish painter Helene Schjerfbeck. Many brilliant artists are unknown beyond Scandinavia, but our knowledge continues to grow thanks to exhibitions and publications.

Three Baltic Capitals- Vilnius, Riga and Tallin

This overview is intended to provide a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of  these three distinctive Baltic capitals, Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia) and Tallin (Estonia).  Of the three, the distinctly Catholic Vilnius is the least commercial in terms of tourism, whereas Tallin is currently enjoying the tourist boom brought about by cruising in the Baltic.  Vilnius is often called a Baroque city, but you will also find remarkable Gothic and Renaissance buildings; the late Gothic brick-built Church of St. Anne is one such masterpiece, which Napoleon wanted to place in the palm of his hand and move to Paris. Found at the top of a winding medieval street, The Gates of Dawn, a Catholic shrine that has achieved international status, has become a symbol of the city. In contrast Riga, the ‘Little Paris of the North’, has the trappings of a European capital, with its boulevards and Opera House. Here the interest shifts to fantastical Art Nouveau apartment blocks, created at the beginning of the last century by Eisenstein. The rebuilding of the Blackheads Guild building, destroyed in the Second World War, demonstrates Riga’s desire to reclaim its cultural inheritance.  Tallin is perhaps the prettiest of the three capitals with its romantic fortifications. Walls and towers protect one of the finest medieval European towns, with its web of winding cobblestone streets and charming merchant’s houses from the 11th to the 15th centuries. 

Stunners: Pre-Raphaelite Models and Muses

Who exactly were Lizzie, Fanny, Alexa, Janey, Georgie and Maria and why do they figure so prominently in the paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones?   They were much more than models, for they were wives, mistresses and even artists.  How did the girls become part of the Pre-Raphaelite circle?   When we look at an image of Lizzie Siddal as Ophelia or Beatrice how should we interpret it?  Lizzie was the long-suffering beloved of Rossetti, whom he eventually married in 1860.  She was dead by 1862, a victim of the aftermath of childbirth.  Buried with Rossetti’s poetry, as an act of contrition, she was exhumed some seven years later for the poet-painter to publish his work!  Her famous red hair had evidently continued growing, even in death.  A `stunner’ in life, Lizzie became a legend in death.  The life-stories of the `stunners’ is as seductive as their painted images and it is difficult to divorce one from the other.

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts

This overview considers the life and work of one of the most outstanding figures of the Victorian age.  Writer, painter, designer and political activist, Morris instigated a revolt against mass-produced, poorly designed, and badly made objects.  Under Morris’s ethos everyday items were elevated to works of art and the remit of the artist was broadened to include both the fine and decorative arts.  The means of production was all important- ideally objects were to be designed and made by the same man, paying careful attention to techniques and materials, as they had been in the Medieval period.  Morris wanted work to be meaningful, for the artisan to take pleasure in what he created.  This led to a revival of the Guild system and the reintroduction of craft skills and traditions.  Morris was most productive as a designer in the 1870s but he became increasingly demoralised as his work could only be purchased by the wealthy.  Hand-crafting made the objects too expensive.  In taking art to the masses he may have failed but he laid the foundations for succeeding generations, who tried to make well designed and well made objects available to all.

Beautiful Houses: Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s Greatest Architect

Frank Lloyd Wright is best known for his Prairie houses, designed to blend with the flat terrain around Chicago- the Robbie House of 1907-08 is exemplary. Like his contemporary, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Wright conceived his houses as ‘total artworks’ or  ‘gesamtkuntswerk’- the architect controlled the design of all fixtures and fittings including furniture and lights.  Not only beautifully designed, much of Wright’s work is beautifully made, falling under the heading of American Arts and Crafts.  Many of his designs reflect the growing interest in Native American arts and crafts.  His colours are ‘earthy’ brown and oranges with bold tribal decorative motifs.  Wright’s stark but beautiful houses look forward to Modernism.  Unlike Mackintosh, Wright was able to evolve beyond the Arts and Crafts into the Modernist/Art Deco era between the two World Wars.  He developed a new style, seen at its best in the Guggenheim Art Gallery, New York, with its organic curves pointing the way to the ‘bio-morphic’ forms of the 1950s.   Innovator and traditionalist, Wright is one of the greatest architects of the 20th century.

The Cult of Beauty: Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement

The Cult of Beauty dominated the second half of the 19th century, which was for some akin to a religion.  The priesthood originally consisted of John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Walter Pater but by 1880 its leading spokesperson was Oscar Wilde.  Oscar made his debut, as an art critic, in 1877, with his review of the Grosvenor Gallery.  His downfall came in 1895, when not only Oscar but also Art itself was put on trial and found to be morally corrupting.  Oscar was blamed for leading astray the youth of his day, for turning young men into effeminate fops and young women into emancipated viragos!   The Aesthetic male was too concerned with his china, carpets and curtains, while the High Art Maiden was too caught up in the pursuit of art to worry about a husband or children.  The Aesthetic movement encouraged everybody to consider themselves an artist, even if it was only in terms of personal dress and home decorating.  Homes were transformed into Palaces of Art, while shopping, at Liberty’s and Morris and Co., was raised to an art form in its own right!  This lavishly illustrated lecture considers the House Beautiful in the 1870s and 1880s, from the Cult of Japan to Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, which sent up the whole fashion.

London Decadents: Aubrey Beardsley and his Circle

Audrey Beardsley (1872-98), the enfant terrible of the 1890s, was barely twenty-five when he died of TB in 1898. Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s English edition Salome (1894) created a sensation. Decadent femme fatales provoked anxiety; the New Woman was as troubling as the effete Dandy.   Beardsley and Wilde belonged to a circle of artists and writers, numbering Charles Rickets, Charles Shannon, Richard Le Gallienne, Arthur William Symons and John Addington Symonds.  Many of them contributed to the Yellow Book, the quarterly magazine that encapsulated the Beardsley era.  When Wilde was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ the decadents went ‘underground’. Inevitably many fled to Paris.

Art Nouveau 1900

In 1900 Art Nouveau was at its apogee: in Paris, Nancy, Brussels, Barcelona, Glasgow and Vienna.  This overview focuses on the designers working in France and Belgium: Alphonse Mucha, the premier poster designer; Rene Lalique, who produced the finest jewellery; Hector Guimard, the creator of the Paris Metro; Victor Horta, who fashioned the first Art Nouveau house in 1893, and Emile Galle, the glass designer who led l’Ecole de Nancy.  The French and Belgian schools relied on the infamous ‘whiplash’ or reflexive line and Woman to embody nature.  Curving, undulating forms were used to create figurines, furniture, ceramics, glass and jewellery, as well as covering entire buildings.  Rejected by the English, as it was seen to be ‘decoration for its own sake’, hedonistic, decadent and morally corrupting, Art Nouveau was condemned for being no more than mere pattern.  Hopefully this talk will change that opinion! 

Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is now regarded as Scotland’s greatest modern architect but it is well known that his potential was never fully realised during his lifetime and he ended his days in obscurity.  The role played by his wife, Margaret Macdonald, and his collaborators, Francis Macdonald and Herbert MacNair has also been obscured.  At the time Mackintosh claimed that while he was talented his wife was a genius.  Margaret certainly played an important part in the creation of those wonderful white interiors designed for Vienna in 1900 and Turin 1902.  It was Margaret who was largely responsible for the decoration of the furniture; beautiful beaten pewter panels with distinctive ‘spooky ladies’.  The Macdonald girls, who drew on Japanese works of art, the English Arts and Crafts movement and the graphics of Aubrey Beardsley, helped to create the Glasgow style.  This lecture explores the Four’s work in Glasgow, through their major commissions for the Glasgow School of Art, the Hill House, Helensborough, and Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms.  This lecture can be combined with Vienna Secession for a Special Interest day.

‘All art is erotic’: Gustav Klimt

By the 1890s many artists and designs were tired of reworking all the old historical styles: Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Rococo no longer expressed the needs of a modern society on the brink of a new century.  In search of a metaphor for progress and change, many turned to natural forms, the result being dubbed Art Nouveau, Jugendstil or Secession. In Vienna this revolution was led by the painter Gustav Klimt, whose art was vilified at the time as lewd and even pornographic as he explored female sexuality. Klimt tackled taboo subjects; he celebrated the femme fatale in Judith I and Judith II. His works are decorative; the surface of the canvas richly covered with complex patterns which carry symbolic meaning. Hence, they can be esoteric and hard to decipher.  Klimt epitomises the luxury and decadence of an era destroyed by the First World War; both Klimt and Egon Schiele were swept away in the flu pandemic of 1918. But with the success of Edmund de Waal’s Hare with the Amber Eyes,  ‘fin de siècle’ Vienna again fascinates us.

Masters of Art Nouveau: Galle, Lalique and Tiffany

Emile Galle was Europe’s finest master of glass during the Art Nouveau era but he was also renowned for his ceramics and furniture. He was first and foremost a designer and chemist, constantly perfecting new techniques. Although Lalique is best known for his Art Deco glass of the inter-war years, his career began in the early 1890s as the designer of the finest Art Nouveau jewellery.  Louis Comfort Tiffany was destined to go into the family business, but he opted for a career as an interior decorator instead. Today his name is synonymous with lamps and stained glass windows, his technique being likened to ‘painting’ with coloured glass. Like Galle and Lalique, he was inspired by Japan and you will find many key Art Nouveau motifs in his work- dragonflies, butterflies, peacocks and all kinds of flowers.  Be dazzled by the beauty of Art Nouveau, which reached its apogee in 1900.

Rene Lalique- Master of Art Nouveau Jewellery and Art Deco Glass

Although Lalique is best known for his Art Deco glass of the inter-war years, his career began in the early 1890s as the designer of the finest Art Nouveau jewellery.  Patronised by Sarah Bernhardt, Lalique created  stunning pieces of jewellery from gold, horn, glass and enamel.  He preferred opals and aquamarines to flashy diamonds and his jewels were about design and craftsmanship rather than vulgar ostentation.  As his fame spread his style was copied and debased until Lalique felt that he had exhausted the potential of jewellery.  At that very moment, around1907, the perfumer Coty asked Lalique to design some labels for his scent bottles but Lalique went one better and designed a new stopper- he had created the first customised perfume bottle.  The public loved the idea and a craze began.  Soon Lalique was designing for Worth and other famous perfumers.   After the war Lalique extended production into decorative vases, tableware, lamps and even architectural glass.  All his glass was press moulded but of the highest quality.   He survived the Depression with car mascots and paperweights.  Lalique died in 1945 but the brand he created is thriving.

Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists: Modern painting comes to Scotland 1880-1930

During the 1880s the city of Glasgow emerged as a major cultural centre rivalling the nation’s capital, Edinburgh.  New money and a determination to collect modern art provided great opportunities for a generation of up and coming artists.  Now known as the Glasgow Boys this group included James Guthrie, Atkinson Hornel, George Henry, and the Irish Glasgow Boy, John Lavery.  Influenced by Japan, and contemporary French and Dutch painting these, artists brought a breath of fresh air to Glasgow.  They adopted en plein air painting and escaped to the countryside to find scenes of everyday life. They paved the way for the city’s renaissance during the 1890s, exemplified by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four.  The Colourists- Peploe, Ferguson, Hunter and Cadell- also looked to France, especially Matisse and the bright colours of the Fauves, taking Scottish painting into the modern era.

The Bauhaus 1919-2019: One Hundred Years of Modern Design

Founded in the wake of the World War under the leadership of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus strove to create a design ethos for a brave new world. Buildings and interiors, domestic things used daily, needed to reflect the demands of modern industrial life rather than hark back to historical forms; functional and utilitarian imperatives ousted decoration, now seen to be superfluous. Indeed, some even viewed decoration as a form of corruption; the New Objectivity demanded rational, functional, sometimes standardized building.  Consequently, the Bauhaus aesthetic was driven by the sleek lines of cars, ships and planes. Designers experimented with new materials such as tubular steel and plywood. The mantra of the Bauhaus shifted from art and craft to art and industry, with furniture designer Marcel Breuer conceiving industrial prototypes. Only by embracing mass-production and standardisation could good design be truly democratic.   Driven by socialist ideologies, design gained a political imperative.  Inevitably the school, based in Weimar, soon experienced political pressure from conservative circles in local politics. Moving to Dessau, Gropius designed a new school as well as housing for the Bauhaus masters, who numbered the artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, its architectural director. It was Mies who directed the last years of the Bauhaus in Berlin before it was closed by the Nazis.  With many of those associated with the Bauhaus immigrating to America, Modernism was transformed into an International Style that dominated architecture until the 1970s. It’s still with us in the 21st century; the iconic Bauhaus chairs quite at home in the post-modern home.

 Art Deco: High Style in the Roaring Twenties

The term Art Deco was not used to describe the style of the `Roaring Twenties’ or the Jazz Age until the 1960s.   It was taken from the Exposition Arts Decoratifs held in Paris in 1925, where Paris emerged as the leader of style in the post 2nd World War period.  The Germans were not encouraged to participate, the Americans had turned their back on Europe and the English it would seem had put all their energy into the Empire Exhibition of the previous year.  Consequently, the French came out on top, the glass by Lalique, furniture by Ruhlmann, jewellery by Cartier and lacquer by Dunand.  It was the world of haute couture and the Beau Monde or `beautiful people’.   But Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of Modernism, was also present at the 1925 exposition. The modernist ethos, driven by function and utilitarianism, would make itself felt in the 1930s.  This lavishly illustrated lecture will trace the development of Art Deco and the impact of Modernism in the 1920s and 1930s, through dress, architecture, interiors, furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork and jewellery.

Everything stops for Tea!

This illustrated lecture charts the story of tea drinking since the 18th century.  It was during the 18th century that the rituals of tea drinking were established.  Tea drinking was both a private and public affair.  The painter Hogarth is famous for recording middle class life and his images show us exactly how tea was drunk at the time.  In the 19th century the paraphernalia associated with tea drinking mushroomed, from infusers to strainers and drip-catchers.  Manufacturers had to cater for a mass market. The cafe boom of the late 19th century produced Miss Cranston’s Teashops in Glasgow, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Lyons Corner houses. All the large department stores had tearooms.  At the seaside one enjoyed the tea-dance, while at sea the great transatlantic passenger liners, the Mauritania and Aquitania and later the Queen Mary were floating palaces, where everything stopped for tea at 4pm. During the twenties and thirties taking tea in style was a way of life.  After a hard day shopping nothing was nicer than the relaxing atmosphere of a Lyons cafe and a nice cup of tea!  This lecture combines social history with fashion and interior decorating. A wonderful selection of images will demonstrate the elegance of taking tea from the 18th century to the 1950s. This is best served as a Special Interest day.

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