please wait ...

Lectures in the 2013-14 season

Lecture: 15th October

The Treasures of the Prado

Colin Bailey

The Museo del Prado is reckoned as one of the greatest art collections of Europe, if not of the entire western world. It is perhaps most famous for its unrivalled holdings of Spanish art, but it also houses the magnificent and representative works by painters of the Italian and Flemish schools. This lecture traces the fashion for such works and examines in detail pictures by Rogier van der Weyden, Bosch and Breughel and masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael and Titian among others.


Lecture: 12th November

Norman Rockwell - great American artist or mere illustrator?

John Ericson A celebrated and prolific twentieth century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States, where Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post but it's his undoubted technical ability coupled with his ability to tell whimsical stories in his pictures that I admire most of all.
"Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed"

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art before studying at The National Academy of Design. Rockwell found success early. He painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the 'greatest show window in America'.

The 1930s and 1940s are generally considered to be the most fruitful decades of Rockwell's career. In 1943, inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's address to Congress, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms paintings. They were reproduced in four consecutive issues of The Saturday Evening Post with essays by contemporary writers. Rockwell's interpretations of Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear proved to be enormously popular.

In collaboration with his son Thomas, Rockwell published his autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, in 1960. The Saturday Evening Post carried excerpts from the best-selling book in eight consecutive issues, with Rockwell's Triple Self-Portrait on the cover of the first.
In 1973, Rockwell established a trust to preserve his artistic legacy, later to become the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge M.A. In 1977, he received the nation's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal. He died in 1978.

Lecture: 26th November

The "Bilbao effect" on Modern Spanish Architecture

Rafael Anderson We are lucky to have lived in an extraordinary period of cultural rebirth in Spain.

The story of this time is written in the architecture, from the return of democracy to the inevitability of our present crisis, we have a legacy of dazzling and sometimes difficult buildings which describe it all. Within this story the Guggenheim in Bilbao occupies the mid point, and seems to have taken on the symbolism of its possibility, here and across the world. It has captured the moment in time of Spain's cultural explosion like a polaroid in architecture.

Guggenheim Museum

We will be going on a journey to the four corners of Spain, getting a fresh insight into some places you may already know, some you may not have seen yet, and exploring the complex connections between the culture we inhabit and the architecture that it leaves

About Rafael Anderson
Rafael Anderson graduated with honours from Sheffield University in 1986 after which he spent the formative years of his career in Hong Kong and China working on several international prestigious projects.

On returning to London he set up in private practice and built his own house in Islington for which he received a Civic Trust Award. He has participated in numerous open and invited international architectural competitions, his work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and widely published. He has worked in Copenhagen and Stockholm on projects won through competition.

Rafael has also worked in India where he constructed India's first boutique hotel in Delhi.

For the past several years Rafael has been living and working in Granada and the Alpujarra. His latest project has been the restoration of a historic early sixteenth century moorish house in the Albayzin in Granada. This project and the 16th Century context in which the house was built will be the subject of a lecture to be given by Rafael to the Nerja History Group on 6th December 2013.

Other lectures by Rafael Anderson include:
"The Architectural and Historical Legacy of the Alpujarra"
"Hidden Granada - Architecture and Living in 14th Century Granada"
"Barcelona Ancient and Modern - City of Dreams Realized"

Rafael has also conducted guided tours of 14th Century Granada.

Lecture: 10th December

The Royal Collection, from Henry VIII to our present Queen

Oliver Everett The Royal Collection contains over 485,000 objects collected by the Royal family from King Henry VIII to the present Queen. The lecture selects about 50 of the finest items in the Collection to demonstrate its range and magnificence, as well as showing the varying collecting interests of individual monarchs and other members of the Royal family.

The objects include oil paintings (Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Stubbs, Landseer, Monet, Lucian Freud); old master drawings (Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Holbein, Canaletto); miniature paintings; sculpture (Canova); porcelain (Sèvres, Vincennes, Chelsea); gold and silver objects (the Neptune centrepiece; Queen Elizabeth I's salt); Fabergé (Russian Imperial Easter eggs; Sandringham animals); jewellery (the Diamond Diadem; the Cullinan diamond; Frederick the Great's snuffbox); furniture (the Riesener jewel cabinet); rare books (the Mainz Psalter, 1457) and manuscripts (the Sobieski Book of Hours, 1420; the Padshahnama - chronicle of the Indian Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan).


Click on a picture to see it enlarged.

About Oliver Everett
Following service in the Foreign Office, including postings in India and Spain, he was Assistant Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, 1978-80, and then Private Secretary to Diana, Princess of Wales, 1981-3. He was Librarian in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, 1984-2002. He is now Librarian Emeritus following his retirement in 2002.

He wrote the official guidebook and audio tour on Windsor Castle, taught a course on its history and advised on a television programme about it.
He wrote articles on the Royal Library and helped with two books on aspects of the Royal Collection.
He was educated at Cambridge University and did postgraduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA, and at the London School of Economics.
He lectures widely in Britain and abroad and also on cruise ships.

Lecture: 14th January 2014

The Punch and Judy Show

A Subversive symbol from Commedia Del'Arte to the Present Day
Bertie Pearce Mr Punch - the most famous puppet character of all time. His comic irreverence gave "Punch" magazine its title. His anarchic vitality has inspired opera, ballet and punk rock and his enduring popularity has seen his likeness on goods ranging from Victorian silverware to computer video games. Appearing in England in 1662, Punch is descended from the Italian Clown Pulcinella of the 15th century Commedia Del'Arte tradition. Even today This Lord of Misrule uses his slapstick to dispense with oppressive authority, be it politicians, political Correctness or the devil, while proclaiming his notorious refrain; "That's the way to do it!"


'Punch' or 'Mayday' by Benjamin Robert Haydon 1829

Lecture: 28th January

The Greek of Toledo

painter philosopher of the soul, born posthumously
Helen Sijsling

El Greco is a bundle of contradictory, opposing and confusing factors. He was from Crete, roman catholic but also familiar with the eastern greek orthodox church, influenced by the Venice and Rome where he was taught by the Italian painters, called El Greco, with the Spanish article El and the Italian word for Greek. He left Crete for Venice, left Venice for Rome, left Rome for Spain. As a stranger he settled in Spain with its great contrasts. A Greek Italian Spanish spirit, could anything stranger be conceivable?

To celebrate the 400th anniversay of El Greco's death there will be many exhibitions in 2014. In March Toledo starts with The Greek in Toledo, which covers his life, his works in Crete, Italy and Spain, his portraits and his religious paintings. The exhibition will be staged at 7 different venues all over the city. The private chapel of St Jozef will be open for the public for the first time in 400 years. 30 paintings from abroad, mainly from the USA are coming back home for the exhibition and many will be in their original setting.

The exhibition in The Prado will be very different: El Greco and modern painting. It is about what happened 300 years after his death. From oblivion to glory. After 3 centuries he was kissed alive by modern artists, the French impressionists, the German expressionists, the Spanish Modernistas and Cubists. They fell totally for him because he painted the soul which was exactly what they were after, they had found a kindred soul.

Many people hated his art, including Philip II, and many people loved it. In this lecture I will cover these two exhibitions. We will set El Greco in his time, look at Cretan, Italian and Spanish influences on his art and look at his influence on modern painters. We will find out the why of the worship and the dislike of the Greek of Toledo.


Drs Helen Sijsling MA
Born in Australia, lived in The Netherlands, studied English language and Literature at the University of Leyden and read English literature and philosophy at Oxford University. Was a teacher of English for more than 18 years. Studied History of Art at the University of Leyden and Educational Management at the University of Amsterdam. Was a management consultant for education for 15 years, advising directors of secondary schools on educational improvement and training teachers in modern ways of teaching. Has given lectures to the history group and Probus on Spanish historical subjects and Nadfas Nerja on art historical subjects. Has been lecturing in Holland since 1995 on among other subjects brain research related to learning.

Lecture: 11th February 2014

Are you sitting comfortably?

The history of the chair from ancient to modern times
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski
The lecture traces the development of the chair in terms of its construction and style from ancient times through to the 19th century and will hopefully surprise attendees with just how much there is to reveal about such a common item of furniture. The role of the chair as a symbol of power and authority in both religious and courtly ritual will be examined as well as its social significance in a more vernacular setting. Have you ever wondered what the phrase "Sitting on your money" refers to? This lecture will tell you! The lecture will also include examples of Spanish chairs.

About Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski
Janusz Karczewski-Slowikowski retired from a 35 year-long career in Higher Education. Whilst studying for his first degree, he worked part-time in an antiques shop, which he came to take over as proprietor. Such was his interest in collecting that he became known as the dealer who bought but never sold. His lectures seek to explain furniture in terms of the skills and materials employed in its design and construction and also its socio-economic significance. He has lectured on antique furniture since 1975 and have been in the NADFAS Directory since 1982. He has lectured to over 300 NADFAS societies including those in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, The Hague and Spain.

Lecture: 25th February

International Cinema in Andalucía

José Padilla Estruch Since the beginning of the 20th Century, Andalucía has been engaged with the international cinema being the natural stage of more than 500 international films, some of the most famous international productions, from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Cleopatra (1963) to The Dollars Trilogy (1964-1966), Indiana Jones and the last crusade (1989) and Stars Wars Episodes I & II (1999 & 2002).
Andalucía is not only an unique stage for its natural landscapes and its climate, but also a preferred cinematographical destination for its architectural heritage, its special light and colours and the receptive environment.
The relationship of international cinema and Andalucía is two ways as it has also strongly influenced the world image of Andalucía, increasing its attractiveness to the international travellers and producing local wealth.
Come to our lecture and have the opportunity to learn about this special connection between international cinema and Andalucía.
Andalucía is a movie region, learn to enjoy it with cinematographical eyes!


Famous boat of Verano Azul (Nerja)

Málaga Cathedral

Plaza de España (Seville)
About Jose Padilla Estruch:
  • Studying History, and currently working on the project of the last year to be Graduated of History at U.N.E.D. (open university)
  • More than 10 years studying English at Lyceé school of Languages and also with native, Nicholas Butcher.
  • Collaborator of cultural projects related on the archaeology of Fundación Cueva de Nerja.
  • More than 180 hours in courses related to the patrimony, the art and its conservation in the XXI Century at U.M (Murcia University) and U.N.E.D.

Lecture: 11th March

A Journey to Egypt and the Holy Land with David Roberts

Felicity Herring In 1838 David Roberts, the son of an Edinburgh cobbler, travelled up the Nile as far as Abu Simbel then back to Cairo. He was the first western artist to record the great statues of Rameses II, the Temple of Amun and the statues of Amenhotep III. He then travelled from Cairo across the Sinai desert to the Holy Land. His paintings of Petra were the first that Europeans had seen of this wonder of the ancient world. He went on to Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tyre and Baalbec and many more places. David Roberts' paintings of his epic journey influenced travellers for many generations.

Felicity Herring has a BA in economics and history, and an MA in Fine Art Valuation. Her Master's thesis was based on paintings of Nelson's battles, studying not only the battles, but also the man himself. Since gaining her Masters, she has continued her studies into the life of Nelson, and as a NADFAS lecturer has travelled widely.
Click an image to see it enlarged.

The Gate of Metawalea

The Sphinx 1839

Monastery, Petra

Lecture: 15th April NB 3rd Tuesday

Plantation Houses of the American South

Roger Mitchell The lecture covers 250 years of American history and 1000 miles of American terrain. The Plantation Houses of Virginia and the Carolinas provide some of the finest examples of Colonial Architecture in America. Houses like Shirley, Westover and Drayton Hall show all the Palladian elegance of a Georgian Country House. George Washington's Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello are more personal houses, entirely appropriate residences for their distinguished owners. We then move from the Old South to the Deep South and look at some of the spectacular houses of Louisiana and Mississippi - Parlange, San Francisco, Nottaway and Longwood among them.

Drayton Hall, Charleston

Mt Vernon - George Washington's House
About Roger Mitchell
Roger Mitchell studied History at Oxford and Fine Art at Leeds. Awarded Churchill Fellowship to travel and study in USA. He is a former College Vice-Principal and now lectures for University of Liverpool and for Adult Residential Colleges. He organises and leads country house study tours and tries to find time for research on country houses in England and America.

Lecture: 13th May

Out of the Blue. The story of blue in Art

Alexandra Drysdale The story of blue takes us to the lapis lazuli mines in Afghanistan, the indigo dyers in Africa, and the studios of Titian, Vermeer, Picasso, and Yves Kline. Special attention is paid to contemporary artists who use blue, such as James Turrell's "Skyspaces" in an inactive volcano, Bill Viola's videos in Durham Cathedral, and Ann Hamilton's Blue Jeans installation.