Normally meetings are held on Tuesdays in Aldington Village Hall but due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, these are currently suspended. For the time being and where possible  lectures will be provided using Zoom. Decisions will be made on a month by month basis and the lecture advertised may need to be changed.


Click on the lecturer’s name if blue for a biography.


September 15th

The Hazards of the Journey : Pilgrimage and Travel in the Middle Ages

This lecture will go ahead on Zoom starting at 11.00am. Late-comers will not be admitted.  An email will be sent to paid-up members who have provided an email address, inviting them and providing the Link and Meeting ID and Password. It will be possible to ask questions at the end of the lecture. There will be no lecture in Aldington Village Hall.

Imogen Corrigan

What possessed people to trudge hundreds of miles, often in appalling conditions and sometimes perishing on the way? This lecture considers this question and also how there was a shift from spiritual wandering in the Anglo-Saxon period to religious tourism in the days of Chaucer’s pilgrims. It also looks closely at travel in general and the hazards of the journey: how did people organise themselves for long journeys and how safe was it? How should they provide for themselves and where might they find help? From maps and motivation to souvenirs and shrines, this lecture discusses travel in the round as well as specifically for spiritual reasons

October 20th

Please Note. This is a change to the previously advertised lecture.  This lecture will be made available on Zoom starting at 11.00am. An invitation will be sent to paid-up members who have provided an email address providing the Link and Meeting ID and Password.

Caravaggio: the Magic of Light and Shadow

Shirley Smith

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a man out of step with his time. This lecture will study the life and works of this enigmatic man and of his influence on later artists.

November 17th

Please note. This lecture will be made available on Zoom starting at 11.00am. An invitation will be sent to paid-up members who have provided an email address providing the Link and Meeting ID and Password.

As Good as Gold

Alexandra Epps

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…

December 8th

Please Note. This is a change to the previously advertised lecture.  This lecture will be made available on Zoom starting at 11.00am. An invitation will be sent to paid-up members who have provided an email address providing the Link and Meeting ID and Password.

Understanding Modern Art.

Frank Woodgate

A light-hearted and entertaining look at some of the avant garde art movements formed between 1900 and 2000, some of the best known Modern works of this period and the lives of the artists who produced them.

The beginning of the 20th century saw the spread of the artistic revolution which had started in the second half of the 19th and produced the works of the Impressionists. Artists like Matisse and Picasso created some of their most important and influential works and Duchamp produced art which still has an influence on artists today. In the second and third decades of the century the artistic response to political and social upheaval produced some of the masterpieces of modern art, including many works, such as those of Surrealists like Ernst and Magritte, which were designed deliberately to shock and mystify. In the 1930s the Spanish Civil War was a great influence on artists such as Picasso and Dali, while the deep pessimism of the years following the Second World War is reflected in the work of artists like Bacon and Dubuffet. Pop Art brought a return to optimism in the sixties, while some of Warhol’s pictures reveal a darker side of modern life. The last decades of the 20th century and the first of the 21st have seen an intense questioning of the nature and language of art, as well as serious consideration of ecological issues and the state of the planet, among artists like Beuys and Kiefer. In the context of British art we shall look at the Turner Prize, which since 1984 has helped bring this country to the forefront of international modern art.


January 19th

A brief history of wine

David Wright

Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years. The lecture examines its origin and appearance in all societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role wine has played in these societies and how it became an important component of faith, well-being and festivity. From the kwevris of Georgia in 5,000 B.C., the symposia in ancient Greece, the thermopolia of Pompeii and the hospices of Europe to the dining tables of fine society, wine has been ever-present. Drawings, paintings, engravings, buildings, pottery and wine labels themselves all contribute to the story.

February 16th

The subtle science and exact art of colour in English garden design

Timothy Walker

In 1888 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in ‘The Garden’, in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”. As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours, but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”. This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border, but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting. However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Hockney evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.

March 16th

The Magnificent Maya – Fact and Fantasy

Dr Diane Davies

The Maya created one of the most sophisticated civilizations in the ancient world. Their achievements in the arts and sciences, along with their complex social, political and economic systems, make them one of the most remarkable culture groups in the Precolumbian Americas. These people brought us an intricate calendar system, complex hieroglyphic writing, some of the largest pyramids in the world, a form of ball game that was like no other and, most importantly, chocolate! This lecture will discuss the major achievements of the Maya, as well as pointing out the common misunderstandings we have of this remarkable civilization.

April 20th

Bravos and Breastplates – the Evolution of Opera

Sandy Burnett

Starting with a look at the origins of opera as a form of courtly entertainment in Italy in the early years of the C17th, this overview takes in the opulent spectacles at the French court of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, the “Sun King”, and pokes its nose into opera houses across Europe in the Baroque era, including those in London, where Italian opera gained an unlikely foothold and was memorably described by Dr Johnson as an “exotic and irrational entertainment”. Sandy examines the legacy of those two creative giants of the nineteen century, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, and takes us up towards our own time, where surtitles and HD cinema transmissions have made opera more widely accessible than ever before. Undeniably a major step forward – but has this come at a cost?

May 18th

Faces, Figures and Forms – Exploring Sculpture in the UK’s Public Art Collections

Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac

Sculpture has the power to stop us in our tracks. It can be awe-inspiring, thought-provoking or fun and amusing. Many sculptures are imbued with historical and cultural reference; statues, for example, representing remarkable men and women of the past. Modern sculpture sees the world from different perspectives that may be perplexing or enlightening. The UK’s national collection of sculpture is arguably the finest in the world and is being catalogued in a unique and ambitious project called ‘Art UK’ ( The lecture explores a range of works from across the country and recounts some of the fascinating stories behind them.

June 15th

Undressing Antiques

Mark Hill

Antiques.”I don’t understand them and they’re beyond my budget. They’re not for me.” A persuasive introduction to buying antiques and integrating and using them in today’s homes. The state of the antiques market and the different meanings of the word value are considered, and we take a look at what current and future generations of collectors are buying, why they are buying it and how they are displaying it.