17th September 2013 – Nicholas Reed

War artists, spies and experts in deception

Edward Bawden, Rex Whistler, Paul Nash and others rarely mentioned. The lecturer’s father was an MI5 officer who knew some of them. All will be revealed!

15th October 2013 – Rupert Willoughby

Threads of history: the world of the Bayeux Tapestry

A lively introduction to the Tapestry – so much more than the story of the Battle of Hastings – in which the lecturer unravels some of its mysteries, places it in the context of its age and firmly establishes it as a landmark in the history of Western art. The Tapestry is the next best thing to a moving picture from the time.

19th November 2013 – Hanne Sutcliffe

A Moment in time: the exceptional gold treasure found in Bactria

Ancient Bactria (today’s Afghanistan) was the crossroad of civilization in Central Asia. Its archaeological treasures date back more than four thousand years and bear the imprint of numerous cultures. The remarkable story of the saving of these treasures to the Western world.

10th December 2013 – Peter Lawrence

The art of London

A pictorial tour of London’s street art work from statues, memorials and quality graffiti that will both charm and amuse.

21st January 2014 – Chloë Cockerill

Remembrance of things past

Church monuments are the most commonly found examples of sculpture in this country. This lecture ranges from the romance of the royal and knightly tombs of the Middle Ages through the elaborate period after the Reformation when sculptured memorials begin to represent every walk of life including prosperous merchants and skilled craftsmen.

18th February 2014 – Charles Harris

Posters of the Belle Epoque, the great age of the poster

How technical innovation, creative genius and remarkable craftsmanship enabled the poster to become the world’s first effective method of mass communication. Inspirational work by generations of superb artists who made the poster great.

18th March 2014 – Kate Baden Fuller

AGM 10.45 (coffee 10.00)

Contemporary stained glass worldwide

There has been a stained glass revival in the last 30 years; new types of glass and new techniques have been developed. Kate is a practising glass artist who shows, with examples of her own work, how glass and windows are made.

15th April 2014 – Rosalind Whyte

William Hogarth – his life, times and work

Hogarth’s involvement with the social and political climate of his time is reflected in his work and sometimes scathing response to current issues. Oh yes, and in his sense of humour!

20th May 2014 – Joanne Kidd

Green and pleasant lands

The history and development of the British garden from Roman times to present day.


17th June 2014 – Martin Lloyd  

Secret Art in the Passport

Martin Lloyd formerly worked for HM Immigration Service and tells how artwork is used to fox the forger.  You’ll never look at your passport in the same light again!



16th September 2014 – Kevin Karney

The Life and Times of the Sundial

The lectures examines how time has been told down the ages from the perspective of both the Sundial and its competitors. It compares what philosophers and poets thought about time.

21st October 2014 – Lynne Gibson

The Art of Seduction

Seduction has been one of the enduring themes of art since Eve offered Adam an apple. But in our permissive society has ‘Battle of Sexes’ killed the spirit of romance?

18th November 2014 – Tim Bruce-Dick

A Brief History of Modern Architecture

Modernism is the third great architectural style after Classical and Gothic. It arose from the discovery of new materials in the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and blossomed during the 20th century. A new style emerged that would reflect dynamic social and technical changes.

9th December 2014 – Susan Rumfitt

Love, Power and Scandal : a jewel for every occasion

From Henry VIII to the Duchess of Cambridge, a variety of Royal jewels which have caused gasps of shock or amazement over the last 500 years.

20th January 2015 – Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The development of the chair in terms of its construction and style from ancient times through to the c19 and its use as a symbol of power and authority in courtly ritual.

17th February 2015 – Sara Burn Edwards

Hampton Court Palace : a Georgian inheritance and the Victorian initiative

Hampton Court is not just Henry VIII!

17th March 2015 – Twigs Way

AGM 10.45 (coffee 10.00)

The Life and Art of Marianne North (1830 – 1890)

Marianne North’s unconventional life as a botanical artist took her round the world in search of rare plants. This talk will explore her life and social context, including an examination of why her paintings troubled a deeply conservative Victorian society.

21st April 2015 – Christopher Rogers

William Kent : the artistic genius of Victorian England

From a humble Yorkshire background, William Kent aspired to be a great painter. Thanks to some very effective patronage, he became an architect and garden designer instead and worked on some of the greatest building projects of the early c18.

19th May 2015 – Nicholas Merchant

The Snuff Box

For the great and the good of c18 it was by your snuff box that you were judged, not only the splendour of your box but also how you opened it and offered it to your frien

16th June 2015 – Peter Medhurst

Paintings inspired by Music and Music inspired by Paintings

It has long been recognised that the worlds of the visual and aural arts link with an extraordinary power when one medium inspires the other. This lecture spans over 600 years of the arts and analyses and discusses a range of related works.


15th September 2015 – Sarah Kelly

Bruegel’s Scenes of Country Life


Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 16th century Flemish painter and printmaker, is best known for his landscape and peasant scenes. Highly inventive and extremely influential, he was a pioneer of genre painting. This lecture focuses on Bruegel’s landscape paintings and portrayal of peasant life, seemingly simple scenes of everyday activities, which are full of commentary on the religious and political controversies of his time.

20th October 2015 –  Roger Mitchell

The Victorian house around the world

Victorian House

Architecture of the Victorian period was one of Britain’s most significant exports. We find Victorian houses in North America, in the Caribbean, in Australasia and in South Africa. We will look at how houses in this inventive period of history were designed, built and modified to suit the way of life in countries across the world.

17th November 2015 –  Anne Sebba

That woman or the Duchess of Style – time to reassess Wallis Simpson  

Wallis Simpson

Wallis Simpson was one of the most controversial figures in 20th century British royal history. ‘That Woman’, as she was referred to by the Queen Mother, was vilified for allegedly ensnaring a British king. She inspired such love and admiration in Edward VIII that he was willing to give up a throne and an empire for her sake. In death she became a symbol of empowerment and a style icon. This lecture sheds light on this powerful, charismatic and complex woman, her role in the abdication crisis and her life in exile as the Duchess of Windsor.

8th December –  Annie Gray

A Georgian Christmas   

Geogian Christmas

This lecture explores the etiquette, customs and food of the festive season in the 18th and early 19th centuries and how these developed during the period. Christmas as we know it was a mid-Victorian invention. This lecture is indeed focussed on Christmas, but on one which was sharply in decline. It looks at what happened after the Restoration of Charles II and why and how, in just 200 years, Christmas was on the verge of being forgotten. Its main focus is on the late Georgian period, and uses the writings of Jane Austen to situate its content in time. If you’ve ever wondered what we did before Dickens, trees and crackers, this lecture  will give you the often surprising answers.

19th January 2016 – Anna Buruma

It will never show!  

Anna Buruma

Designing historical costumes for film and television: As a costume designer, Anna Buruma was involved in several very special period productions, ranging from one set in 15th century France to one set in 1930s Hollywood. She will talk about helping to make these productions work, revealing both the problems and the fun involved.

16th February 2016 – Susan Owens

John Constable and the making of masterpieces


John Constable (1776 -1837), one of Britain’s best loved artists, combined the authority of the old masters of classical landscape with a naturalistic vision that was entirely his own. He would ultimately transform the genre of landscape painting and in the process shape the enduring popular image of the English countryside. This lecture will examine the influences on Constable’s development as an artist, how his ideas evolved and the techniques he used, as well as revealing the stories behind some of his best known works.

15th March 2016 – Geri Parlby

AGM 10.45 (coffee 10.00)

This won’t hurt a bit!  Medicine in art throughout the ages

Medicine in art

For more than 5000 years artists have been attempting to depict illness and healing. From Egyptian wall paintings, medieval manuscripts, Renaissance masterpieces and 19th and 20th century realism, the mysteries of medicine have inspired art works around the world. In this lecture we will look at some of the bizarre, amusing and often startlingly realistic depictions of medicine in art throughout the ages.

19th April 2016 – Clive Barham Carter

Bringing back the needle, the story of an obelisk

Cleopatra's needle

Cleopatra’s Needle stands serenely on the Victoria Embankment in London but it begs many questions. What are obelisks for? Where did this one come from? Was it really Cleopatra’s? Who brought it here? Why? How?

Clive Barham Carter will tell the story of an extraordinary artefact on an extraordinary journey from the sands of the Nile to the banks of the Thames.

17th May 2016 – Linda Smith

Great Tarts in Art: high culture and the oldest profession

Tarts in art

A mixture of art-historical analysis and scandalous anecdote, this lecture takes a generally light-hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages by examining the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans. It also charts the rather complex and ambiguous attitudes of art and society towards the numerous anonymous working girls at the lower end of the scale by investigating how they have been represented in different times and places, from the 17th to the 20th century.

21st June 2016 – David Bostwick

Getting Plastered

Getting plastered

An examination of the art of the magnificent English decorative plasterwork of the 16th to 18th centuries, its development during that period and its conservation. Plasterwork decoration abounds in houses of the 16th and 17th centuries. We will discover how the techniques of plasterwork developed and were used, looking at style and design in decorative plasterwork, as seen in Tudor and Stuart town and country houses. We will learn how fretwork ceilings, hung with pendants or festooned with wreaths of plaster flowers, and fireplace overmantles, graced with figure sculpture or Mannerist strapwork, were created. This lecture will also examine modern repair techniques, which are rescuing fragile friezes and saving sagging ceilings.


20th September 2016 – Barry Venning

Paint Brushes at Dawn – Great Art Feuds, Disputes and Rows                                        


The history of art is peppered with first rate bust ups: between the great early Renaissance artists, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti, between Constable and Turner in the early 1830s, between Salvador Dali and the Surrealist leader, André Breton, in the 1930s and most recently between the graffiti artists, Banksy and King Robbo, who painted out and amended each other’s works. There are many more. They are highly entertaining but they also tell us a great deal about key issues in art history.

18th October 2016 – John Ericson

The Shakers: Their Beliefs, Architecture and Artefacts                                                      


The Shakers were a small group of religious dissidents, whose origins lay in mid-18th century England. They are best known as a successful 19th century North American fundamentalist sect, who created exceptional furniture and buildings. In this lecture we will learn the extraordinary story of the Shakers, exploring their beginnings, what they believed and how they lived their lives, before examining examples of their wonderful buildings and furniture, for it is only with an understanding of their devout faith and way of life that we can begin to appreciate the beauty of their intriguing legacy.


15th November 2016 – Sue Jackson

The Art of Snow and Ice: How Artists Transformed the Winter Landscape                 

Snow and ice

The winter held little appeal to artists for many centuries, until Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’ in the 16th century. From pristine backdrop to the capturing of ‘snow effect’ by the Impressionists and the tempestuous snowstorms of Turner, this lecture examines the compelling ability of artists to convey snow and ice, not only as symbols of peace, but also of grandeur and terror.

13th December 2016 – Jane Tapley

O Yes It Is! – The History of Pantomime from Ancient to Modern Times                     


This talk examines the complex and fascinating story of how Pantomime developed, from its Greek and Roman roots, through to the religious plays of the Middle Ages to the Italian Commedia dell’ Arte. It looks at the characters of the Harlequinade and how actors like Grimaldi, music hall stars like Dan Leno and Vesta Tilly and today’s television actors have contributed to the art of Pantomime.

17th January 2017 – Colin Davies

Architecture, Music and the Invention of Linear Perspective                                               


In his dissertation on architecture, Leon Battista Alberti, the original ‘Renaissance man’, wrote: ‘We shall therefore borrow all our rules for the fixing of proportions from the musicians.’ It is not surprising that the question of proportion should be an important theme in Alberti’s book, but how did the musicians get involved? It turns out that there is a mathematical link between visible proportions and audible proportions, or harmony, and that Renaissance architects were well aware of this.  One of them, Filippo Brunelleschi, took the idea further in the invention of ‘linear perspective’ and thereby revolutionised western painting.

21st February 2017 – Maggie Campbell Pedersen

The Lure of Ivory                                                                                                        


What is the fascination with ivory? It has been carved for 40,000 years. It has been used by cultures world-wide. funded wars and has been connected to the slave trade. Today most ivory-bearing animals are threatened by extinction. This talk will look at some of the uses of ivory around the world and how to recognise ivories from different species, for example elephant, walrus and whale, as well as their fakes, and why ivory is so highly prized. Mention will also be made of the current trade bans covering ivories.


21st March 2017 – Carole Petipher

AGM 10.45 (coffee 10.00) Please see COMMITTEE page for more details.

The Collections of Napoleon and Josephine                                                                             


How was Napoleon such an excellent self-promoter? What was it that drove him? What, on the other hand, drove his wife? And what was it that made them one of the most followed couples in history? An insight into the characters of Napoleon and Josephine can be gained by exploring the collections at the Château de Malmaison. The estate, which was bought by the couple as their private country retreat, away from the pomp and ceremony of the official residences, was made into a National Museum in 1905, housing a huge collection of their possessions. For this lecture Carole Petipher has researched individual items at the Château de Malmaison and uses them to delve behind the scenes to discover hidden truths about Napoleon and Josephine

18th April 2017 – Jane Gardiner

The Golden Age of Venetian Glass                                                                                              

Venetian glass

This lecture will look at the early history of glassmaking in Venice, the material itself and the techniques involved in forming and decorating the pieces. We will examine the early fashion for richly coloured and enamelled glass, the sources of inspiration behind the forms and the decoration, who would have owned the pieces and how they would have been used or displayed. We will also consider the desire for luxury objects in the Renaissance, the new liking in the 16th century for clear glass, or cristallo, and the fashion for fine drinking vessels which followed on from this. Finally, we will examine the spread of this fashion throughout Europe, the resulting trade and the gradual spread of glassmaking skills to other parts of Europe.

16th May 2017 – Anthony Russell

Edward Seago – Landscape Perfectionist and Royal Favourite


‘Ted’ Seago’s refined landscapes personified a respect for the traditions of British landscape painting, as well as impressionism. In Britain he was part of a remarkable post-impressionist flowering, but what made him quintessentially English was the subtlety of his colour control and his peaceful landscape compositions. This refinement won him admiration from four generations of royalty and an international fan-base that would cause his exhibitions to sell out on the first day. However, his work never found favour with the art establishment. This lecture compares his work with those masters he most admired, as well as with the contemporary trends he chose to ignore. It tells of his lasting appeal, asking whether he should now be considered a great master of British art.

20th June 2017 – Sarah Deere-Jones

The History of the Harp  


Using illustrations from carvings, wall paintings, pottery, mosaics, sculpture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts and 18th and 19th century art, this lecture traces the history of one of the world’s most ancient and beloved musical instruments, from thousands of years BC to its arrival in northern Europe. It will examine developments and improvements during the Renaissance and 19th century, which created the highly mechanised and beautiful instrument we see played in orchestras and as solo instruments today. Performing on her own reproduction and antique instruments, Sarah will demonstrate the development and evolving sound and repertoire of the harp throughout its history



19th September 2017 – Tricha Passes

The Art of the American Civil War  

image for trica passes lecture

The American Civil War, fought between the Union and Confederate states from 1861 to 1865, claimed the lives of over 620,000 soldiers. In response to the antebellum period, the war and Reconstruction, artists, such as Winslow Homer and Frederic Edwin Church, and photographers, like George N. Barnard and Matthew Brady, produced an extraordinary body of work. This lecture will address the breadth of artwork that depicts this significant moment in American history.

17th October 2017 – Shirley Smith

Pearls and Pomegranates, Peacocks and Pipes : the Hidden Language of Renaissance Art

dress with pearls

It is sometimes difficult 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 recognisable to contemporaries. Many of the objects in these paintings have acquired different meanings over the centuries, often diametrically opposed ones, depending on their cultural or geographical origins or whether they are being used for a religious or secular purpose. This lecture will examine some of the objects to be found in 15th and 16th century paintings, in order to decipher their symbolic meaning, be it spiritual, secular, virginal or vulgar, thereby enabling us to read these paintings as did the people for whom they were intended.

21st November 2017 – Caroline Holmes

Angels – Glad Tidings, Doom, Gloom or Perdition

angel gabriel

Angels, familiar and fantastic, playing major and minor roles, can be seen in centuries of paintings, engravings, illustrations and sculptures. The Archangel Gabriel and the Annunciation or Archangel Michael fighting the good fight are familiar figures, but angelic references also abound in Islamic and Jewish traditions, the latter beautifully evoked in Chagall’s Bible Message. This lecture will contrast the beauty and light of cherubim and seraphim with the dark, fiery abyss of Satan and will also contemplate the Angel of the North.

12th December 2017 – Jeremy Barlow

Music and Cultural Life in Shakespeare’s England

elizabethan dance

Copiously illustrated with slides and musical examples, this lecture portrays not only the high art of court masques and of music-making and dancing among the gentry and nobility, but also the broadside ballads, rustic dances and theatrical jigs of popular culture. Demonstrated too is the way Shakespeare drew on these strands for material in his plays.



16th January 2018 – Susan Kay-Williams

Tapestries: The Ultimate Wall Decoration

Lady and the unicorn

Tapestries were the ultimate expense in the medieval period. They were often bought in sets that took years to produce. These most expensive items were often rolled up and transported across Europe as the court moved around. This lecture will look at some of the key sets of tapestries and their owners, including those of the Dukes of Burgundy, the Lady and the Unicorn set, the Abraham tapestries of Henry VIII, the seasons and months series of Louis XIV and, coming right up to date, the set produced for the Queen of Denmark for the Millennium.

20th February 2018 – Doug Gillen

Hidden Canvasses – Street Art and the City 

Hidden canvasses

There’s more to the world of street art than Banksy. Hidden Canvasses is a beginner’s guided to the biggest art movement since pop art. From train writing in New York to interactive technology that brings murals to life, we will have an opportunity to gain an insight into the roots, techniques and developments of graffiti and street art artists from the 1960s to the present. This lecture will explore the key stages in street art’s growth, examining the key elements and styles that comprise the scene with no rules, as well as the artists, from the international superstars to the local underground heroes.

20th March 2018 – Mary Yule

AGM 10.45am (coffee 10.00am)

Modern Memorials: A Century of Remembrance 

blood swept lands

This lecture compares the monuments created in the aftermath of the First World War with memorials being created today. It considers how contemporary artists deal with the challenge of commemorating the victims of armed conflict, looking at a wide range of British memorials, both figurative and abstract, and contrasting them with the memorials to the fallen of World War One, where representative figures were often used to commemorate the dead. The lecture will also consider the popularity of the installation of ceramic poppies, ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London in 2014 and what it revealed about the power of temporary works of art to inspire a nation.

17th April 2018 – Vivienne Lawes

Art Nouveau

art nouveau

Art Nouveau was an international style which aimed to break free from the historicism in decorative and fine arts that defined much of the 19th century. The new style received worldwide attention at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, which received 51 million visitors. Here, René Lalique had his own pavilion of glass and jewellery and Siegfried Bing recreated his eponymously named Paris gallery, the Maison de l’Art Nouveau. The style was characterised by sinuous lines and whiplash curves, inspired by nature, Darwin’s theory of evolution and newly published botanical studies. It also grew out of the 19th century Arts and Crafts tradition, absorbed the impact of Japanese design and the Aesthetic Movement and came to define the Belle Epoque era. This lecture explores key forms and motifs, their intellectual origins and several manifestations of the style around the world.

15th May 2018 – Marilyn Elm

For the Love of Flowers


Plants and flowers have always resonated with the human spirit, providing joy with their infinite variety of form, colour and perfume, together with curiosity in botanical discoveries. This talk will trace our relationship over the centuries, looking at the meaning of flowers, what was fashionable, what offered status and how flowers provided inspiration for the artist and the world of design.

19th June 2018 – Bertie Pearce

Now You See It, Now You Don’t – The Art of Visual Deception

renee magritte

An in-depth look at the profound mystery of perception. There is an eternal fascination with the unfathomable, the ambiguous state of seeing things which are not there – yet are there. In the same way as a magic trick surprises and delights us, we enjoy being deceived by optical illusions.  This lecture will include Trompe L’Oeil and the closely related Anamorphic Art, Composite Portraiture, Impossible Figures, Double Imagery, Ambiguous Imagery, Optical or Op Art, Camouflage and Theatre Magic to give us a fascinating overview of how since Roman times illusions have been used in art.


18th September 2018 – Anthony Peers

The Richest of Legacies – British Colonial Buildings of India

This lecture starts with an examination of evolving attitudes in India (as well as in the UK) towards the British Empire, and towards the buildings which survive as testament to its achievements. A whistle stop tour is then made of the very best colonial buildings in Chennai (Madras), Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi and elsewhere.

16th October 2018 – Jo Walton

From Carpenter to Count – The Rise of Andrea Mantegna

Andrea Mantegna was a remarkable artist; a brilliant painter and draughtsman, pioneering printmaker, portrait painter of rare acuity and devotee of all things classical. He was also quite capable of hiring thugs to beat up his enemies and taking anybody who annoyed him to court. Despite the drawbacks of his character, he is one of the most compelling artists of the Italian Renaissance, developing new ideas about storytelling and perspective and bridging the gap between the linear style of Florence and the painterly colourism of Venice.

20th November 2018 – Peter Warwick

Aqua Triumphalis: Power and Pageantry on the Thames

From the mid-fifteenth century the River Thames has been an important and colourful part of the national story. The lecture is a riverscape of this history from the Tudor age to the present day. It has been the inspiration for artists and architects, including, Canaletto, Doré, Kent, Turner and Wren; and the stage for royal ritual, cheerful and solemn river pageants, palaces and pleasure gardens and the ceremonial barges of the City of London Livery Companies and the Crown – a legacy today invested in Gloriana The Queen’s Row Barge.

11th December 2018 – James Taylor

Brilliant British humour in the forgotten Art of the picture postcard: 1909-1939

Artist-drawn postcards were the most popular art-form from the Edwardian era to the outbreak of World War II. They entertained, inspired, instructed, motivated, persuaded and lifted up the spirits. Discover the popular themes and styles by the masters of the medium such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin; and the reasons why their popularity waned with the British public.


15th January 2019 – Alexandra Epps

As Good As Gold

Experience the story of gold and its significance and symbolism within the history of art – as the colour of the sun; the colour of divinity; the colour of status and the colour of love. From creations ancient and contemporary, sacred and profane – all that glitters is certainly gold…

19th February 2019 – James Wright

Rock of Ages – Mediaeval Stonemasons: The Architects of Europe

A talk on historic stonemasonry and the men who shaped not only the material but the architectural appearance of the Medieval period. The discussion looks at quarrying, transporting, setting out, cutting and fixing stonework. The place and influence of stonemasons in the history of architecture and how that relates to exciting new discoveries made by the Thames Discovery Programme of stonework from the Mediaeval Palace of Westminster is also covered.

19th March 2019 – Mark Purcell

AGM 10.45am (coffee 10.00am)

The Country House Library

A comprehensive and lavishly illustrated tour around the history, architecture, contents, and use of libraries in British and Irish country houses from Roman times to the present.

16th April 2019 – Adam Buziakiewic

The Queen of Instruments – The Lute

The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden-haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages.

21st May 2019 – Felicity Herring

A journey to Egypt and the Holy Land with David Roberts

In this talk I take the audience on a journey with David Roberts up the Nile as far as Abu Simbel, then back to Cairo before proceeding across the Sinai desert to the Holy Land. The lecture is illustrated with paintings by David Roberts, with some help from Edward Lear, with details about the landscape and great monuments as they saw them in the19th century. David Roberts – from cobbler’s son to Royal Academician, from Edinburgh to Jerusalem – quite a journey. His obituary in the Illustrated London News said: ‘ A self-made artist who had progressed from poor journeyman house painter to a Royal Academician with a European reputation.

18th June 2019 – Giles Ramsay

Shakespeare: the birth of modern show business

Poet, playwright and theatre entrepreneur, William Shakespeare became one of the wealthiest celebrities of the Elizabethan age. He also wrote some of the most brilliant plays the world has ever known. Giles examines how theatre moved into the modern era.