Cavendish Decorative and Fine Arts Society

The Art Society Cavendish



The venue is the Pavilion Arts Centre (new name for the old Paxton Suite) in Buxton, Derbyshire.

Coffee in the cafeteria at 10.30 am.
Doors open 10.45 for exhibitions and Society notice board
Notices and Lecture start at 11.00 am prompt.
Lectures may not finish until 12.00 - 12.30 so please stay to the end of the lecture and not leave early.


LECTURES  2017 - 2018

 September 26th  2017

Power, Propaganda, and Men in Tights: English Art under the Tudors

Linda Smith

This lecture looks at the key developments in early English painting, which in the 16c, were being made largely by foreigners. Important works by artists like Holbein, Eworth and Gheeraerts are explained in detail, and close attention is paid to symbolism, both personal and political.

Portraiture dominated the period, and images of the great monarchs and personalities of the age are compared and contrasted in terms of the functions they were intended to fulfil. Other genres, like religious subjects and the early beginnings of landscape painting, are also featured. The talk also examines the intriguing issue of naturalism, and how and why the requirement for it waxed and waned during the period. 


October 31st 2017
Velázquez: genius at the court of Philip IV
Gail Turner

Velázquez (1599-1660) was the leading artist of Spain’s Golden Age. His unique talent is viewed from his youth in Seville through his long career as court artist, courtier and friend of the Habsburg King Philip IV of Spain. His total works number less than 130 paintings, yet they show great variety and versatility. The formality of the court is evident in his projects for royal palaces, while his keen observing eye is revealed in iconic court portraits, less formal paintings for palaces and hunting lodges, landscapes, frail Habsburg children, and proud dwarves and courtiers. His great painting Las Meninas (The Maids of Honour) epitomises Philip’s court, and some say, the art of painting itself.

November 28th 2017
Lawrence of Arabia: tortured hero of troubled times
Neil Faulkner 

On the basis of sensational new evidence from archaeological fieldwork, Neil will contrast the legend of Lawrence of Arabia with the true story of what happened in the dessert war of 1916-1918. Is the legend a myth? Was Lawrence, as some claim, a liar and a charlatan? Or does the legend reflect reality? Was he, in fact, a brilliant military commander and a sincere advocate of the Arab national cause? Neil will analyse the invention and re-invention of the legend through memoirs, photos, films, paintings, biographies and documentaries.


January 30th 2018
NADFAS 50th Anniversary Lecture
The Duke of Devonshire's Elysium Fields: the evolution of the designed landscape of Chatsworth 1549 to the present
Simon Seligman

Chatsworth’s 105 acre garden and surrounding 1000 acre park is a fascinating and varied historic landscape, particularly famous for its waterworks, rock garden and sculptures. It encompasses work by many of the finest landscape designers of English history, from the formal London and Wise parterres of the late 17th century and the work of William Kent and Capability Brown in the 18th century, to the great self-taught Victorian genius Joseph Paxton, who was head gardener for 30 years. Created and developed on a suitably ducal scale, the garden has absorbed the best of each generation to become a uniquely layered landscape. The last 60 years has seen the garden develop in new ways and become home to a growing collection of contemporary sculpture. This lecture spans five centuries to tell the story of one family’s impact on a Derbyshire valley..

February 27th 2018
From Wild Beasts to Pickled Sharks! 100 years of Modern Art explained with scepticism and humour!
Linda Collins

This lecture aims to consider some of the avant-garde art movements that were formed in the 100 years between 1900-2000 – principally in Paris, London and New York. We ask why these works were produced when they were – and what was happening in the life of the artist at the time they were produced. It is a lecture that should enable one to put ‘isms’ into boxes – cubism, surrealism, conceptualism, minimalism etc., etc.! and to enjoy a light hearted stroll through some of the most well known Modern works of our century. 

 March 27th 2018
The Most Infamous Family in History: the Borgias
Sarah Dunant

Murder, poison, corruption and incest: all perfect ingredients for sensational popular culture. But in an age known for its brutality and church corruption were the Borgias really so bad? This lecture reveals the real family that dominated the Papacy and Italian politics during the last decade of the 15th century: the charismatic figure of Pope Alexander VI, living inside his sumptuously decorated apartments, the career of his son, Cesare, cardinal, general, employer of  Da Vinci and the model for Machiavelli’s The Prince, and the journey of  Lucrezia Borgia from “the greatest whore in Rome” to a devout and treasured duchess of the city Ferrara. Sometimes truth is more intoxicating than myth.

 April 24th 2018
Sunflowers and Lumière: the art of Vincent van Gogh
Christopher Herbert

Under the grey skies of northern Europe, a genius artist longed for the sun. Out of his own inner turmoil and with the unstinting help of his practical brother, Van Gogh explored colour and landscape in ways which have shifted everyone’s perceptions. This lecture tells that story and opens our eyes to his world… 

 May 22nd 2018
The Two Faces of Russia: Moscow and St Petersburg
Rosamund Bartlett

Some Russian artists identify with Moscow, others with Petersburg. What is it that determines their loyalties? The Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev spoke about Russian culture being inherently “schismatic” and partly what he had in mind was Russia’s divided soul, with a personality split between the Western-looking, modern metropolis of St. Petersburg, and the oriental looking ancient city of  Moscow. Moscow and St. Petersburg are indeed the two faces of Russia. Like the imperial emblem of the double-headed eagle, they look in different directions – Moscow towards Asia, and St. Petersburg towards Europe. This lecture explores the art and architecture of both of these great cities, examining their different characters and ways of life, and looking at how and why they increased and decreased in importance before and after the 1917 Revolution. 




last edited 15/09/2017 15:16:43