The Cultural Heritage of the Huguenots

Cultural heritage of the Huguenots, by Sue Jackson

As silk weavers, goldsmiths, clock and watch makers, opticians, bankers, gilders, ironworkers and horticulturists the Huguenots made an extraordinary contribution to English craftsmanship. Names such as Paul de Lamerie, Courtauld, Tijou, Dollond spring to mind. In virtually all areas, the Huguenots were way ahead of the English.. The elegance and luxury of their tea services very much inspired the whole social niceties and etiquette of afternoon tea.

The Huguenot Silk Weavers of Spitalfields

A typical Huguenot room

Welcomed at first with open arms and bringing luxury skills, the Huguenots’ fortunes fluctuated wildly. I talk about their early 18th-century houses that still stand, how they were decorated and lived in; I discuss the fashionable patterned silk dresses – who designed and made them. And how, finally the trade died out, with some weavers literally dying in poverty at their looms. One of the weavers’ houses can still be visited today.

Tea, Coffee and the English Social Revolution

Family at tea in 18th century England The introduction of these new drinks ushered in a cultural revolution. If you could afford the tea, you could afford the luxurious silver tea services, and have your family painted partaking of this most fashionable of drinks. The tea party was presided over by the lady of the house and was the perfect status symbol in an age of elegance.

The Art and Architecture of Docklands: past and present

Steel and glass in London's DocklandsOver the last 25 years, the Docklands area of London has been transformed. Here are not only some of the great Georgian industrial warehouses and dock buildings, but state-of-the-art office buildings by the great architects of today. Canary Wharf is also a dramatic and witty sculpture park. This talk looks at the transformation of the area and examines the architecture in detail.

The Image of Elizabeth I in Portraiture: myth and reality

Elizabeth I in portraiture

As Elizabeth aged, and it became clear she would neither marry nor have a direct heir, her position became extremely precarious. Her image was increasingly controlled, becoming a tool of propaganda, particularly through the use of symbols to suggest purity, self-sacrifice, youthfulness and indeed immortality.

The ‘Story of Abraham’ Tapestries at Hampton Court Palace: making and meaning

Story of Abraham tapestries

Some of the most sumptuous tapestries of 16C & commissioned by Henry VIII himself, each tapestry contains a vast amount of silk and gilt and reflected the Magnificence that was central to the Renaissance concept of royal display. This talk examines why and how they were made.

Unsaintly Saints: strange paths to martyrdom

Strange paths to martyrdom

Beyond the roll-call of saints and their attributes familiar to us all, there is a wealth of others whose lives were eccentric to say the least. Mediaeval artists had a wonderful time depicting their symbols in a variety of ways – St Lucy with her plates of eyes, St Agatha with plate-loads of breasts; St Wilgefortis with her beard to protect her from unwanted seduction, to name but a few….

The Development of London

This is a series of lectures which explore the development of London from when it was first settled by the Romans two thousand years ago to the present day.

The lectures are an hour long but can be expanded up to two and half hours if required.

  • Roman London 50-410
  • Anglo-Saxon London 410-1066
  • Mediaeval London 1066-1485
  • Tudor London 1485-1603
  • Stuart London 1603-1714
  • Georgian London 1714-1837
  • Victorian London 1837-1901
  • Modern London 1901-2012

The emphasis can be adjusted to suit your society’s or organisations’s requirements, e.g. the focus could be on historical events, architecture, culture or a mixture. The chosen illlustrations will be of buildings/artefacts that still stand and can be seen, wherever possible. And of course the nature of the lecture(s) will be adjusted to take into account the prior level of knowledge of the group.

The Mortlake tapestries talk by London Blue Badge guide and historian Sue Jackson

Enjoying a relatively brief existence, the tapestry manufactory was set up in 1619 by James I and supported by the patronage of Charles I. In its heyday, lavish sums were spent on Mortlake’s luxury products with patrons such as George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Its most famous set of tapestries was woven from Raphael’s cartoons for the Acts of the Apostles, but this lecture will examine whether Mortlake planned its own head designer in the person of Van Dyck.

The Art of Snow and Ice: how artists transformed the winter landscape

The landscape in Art, talk by Blue Badge Guide and historian Sue Jackson

The bleak midwinter held little appeal to the artist for many centuries until Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow. In the 16th century. From pristine backdrop to the tempestuous snow storms of Turner to the capturing of ‘snow effect’ by the Impressionists, the ability of artists to convey snow as a symbol of peace but also of grandeur and terror is compelling.