Lectures are currently provided online via Zoom and connection details distributed in advance.




Great Railway Stations: Evoking the Spirit of Romance and Adventure

Monday 21st June 6:30pm

Ian Swankie

If you think of St Pancras International or New York Grand Central you imagine long romantic journeys. You know they are special places promising excitement and adventure. But there are dozens of other glorious stations in the UK and abroad. We will take a journey around some of the most evocative and splendid stations in the world. We will look not only at the magnificence of the architecture and the brilliant engineering but will discover numerous artworks within the stations and examine many depictions of stations in art – like Claude Monet’s Gare St Lazare or William Powell Frith’s Paddington. It’s lavish, colourful and fun.

Presented by Ian Swankie.


Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars, an official guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and an active freelance London guide.




Jewelled Journeys: The Art of Opulent Travel

Monday 19th April 2021

Andrew Prince

Throughout history, travelling has been used as a way to display wealth, power, status, as well as a useful tool to control over mighty subjects. Today, we take a journey as a matter of course, not thinking much of a distance of a hundred miles or more. In the past it was very different as an Aristocrat had to take not only clothes, but food, furniture, cooking facilities, tents, and the like, not just for himself and family but his household as well.

In this talk, Andrew shows the many lavish and opulent accessories and modes of transport that were used by Monarchs and Aristocracy alike, to ease travel while on their seasonal “progress” to and from each others estates, and where diplomatic meetings between Kings turned into a contest of rivals to see who could out do each other in the finest accommodation, jewels, silks, retinue and luggage train.

Andrew grew up with a passion for jewellery and was always determined that he would forge a career in jewellery design. At sixteen he started work in London’s Bond Street with the Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris. From there he worked with renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage, working in design and production. Andrew has a love of fine ’costume jewellery’ and antique pieces, realising the beauty of elegant design and fine craftsmanship.

Andrew’s work started to become well-known and private commissions came from celebrities including Shirley Bassey and the late Michael Jackson. In 2002 the V&A commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the ‘Tiaras, Past & Present’ exhibition - and this exposure led to Andrew’s jewellery appearing in films. In 2005 he made pieces for ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’ starring Judy Dench: in 2009 for ‘The Young Victoria’ starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson; in 2012 for the third series of Downton Abbey for characters played by Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery.





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