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09 January 2020Pearls and Pomegranates, Peacocks and Pipes: the Hidden Language of Renaissance Art
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14 November 2019Leonardo da Vinci: the Science of Art and the Art of Science
10 October 2019The Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society
11 July 2019AGM followed by The Work of Making Space
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11 April 2019The Artists of Montmartre - the Pilgrims of Babylon.
14 March 2019Inn Signia - Pub signs: the artwork and stories behind their names.
14 February 2019Victoria and Albert - Art and Love.
10 January 2019Charles Darwin and the Voyage of HMS Beagle.
13 December 2018The Grand Tour: the Perils and Pleasures of 18th century travellers' journeys to Italy.
08 November 2018Pots and Frocks - the world of Grayson Perry.
11 October 2018Antiques
12 July 201813.45 - AGM followed at 14.00 by A Brief History of the King's Theatre
14 June 2018Thomas Heatherwick - 'The Leonardo da Vinci of our Times'
10 May 2018Basingstoke and its contribution to World Culture
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09 November 2017Making History in Bronze
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13 July 201713.45 - AGM followed at 14.00 by The Adventures of an Artist in Calabria
08 June 2017Plants in art and culture - how plants created society
11 May 2017The Role of the Arts in the Cycle of Crime, Prison and Re-offending
13 April 2017Virginia Woolf on Life and Art
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12 January 2017The Ups and Downs in the Lives of the Impressionists along the Seine
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10 November 2016James Gillray - a caterpillar on the green leaf of reputation
13 October 2016The Sculpted Horse: themes in equine sculpture
14 July 201613.45 AGM followed at 14.00 by A Sailor's life and death on the Mary Rose
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11 February 2016The Romantic Spirit: the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on German culture 1800-1850 (with musical snippets)
14 January 2016Andalusia: the Arabs in Spain
10 December 2015In the Bleak Midwinter - artists' responses to snow
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09 July 2015Edward Barnsley Workshop
11 June 2015Art Deco
14 May 2015Pockets of History
09 April 2015A History of Stained Glass Windows
12 March 2015The Old Vic - the story of a great theatre
12 February 2015Further Dusty Ramblings
08 January 2015Meissen/Sevres and their influence on Chelsea
11 December 2014The Art of Christmas
13 November 2014The Pier Head Painters: a study of the naïve ship portrait painters in Europe and America 1780-early 20th century
09 October 2014Elegance and repose: the Garden Seat
10 July 2014Calligraphy - By Appointment
12 June 2014Behind the London Livery Companies: Objects and stories
08 May 2014Diaghilev's Ballets Russes
10 April 2014The Glorious Tree
13 March 2014Two English Porcelain Factories - Chelsea and Bow: a study in contrasts
13 February 2014Temples, Tombs and Treasures: in search of the Queen of Sheba
09 January 2014Libya uncovered - the magnificence of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Cyrene.
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11 July 201313.45 AGM followed at 14.00 by Stansted Park Buffet lunch at 12.30 - see under 'News'
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13 October 2011The History of the Royal Academy of Arts in London

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Pearls and Pomegranates, Peacocks and Pipes: the Hidden Language of Renaissance Art Shirley Smith Thursday 09 January 2020

It is sometimes difficult for us to understand the full meaning of a painting from the past due to the wealth of symbolism it contains, much of it obscure to us today but instantly recognizable to contemporaries.  

This lecture aims to peel back the layers of Renaissance art by deciphering the meaning of some of these symbols - spiritual and secular, virginal and vulgar - and so enable us to read these paintings like the people for whom they were intended.

Shirley Smith graduated from the University of East Anglia with a first class honours degree in the History of Art, specialising in the Italian and Northern Renaissance.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a part-time lecturer for the University of East Anglia and for the Department of Continuing Education of the University of Cambridge.