17 Oct 2020        Cambodia and Laos: Sacred Temples and Living Arts– Denise Heywood

The temple complex of Angkor is the greatest archaeological site in Asia. Built in the 12th century, it is the biggest religious monument in the world, a recreation on earth of the Hindu cosmos, aligned with the sun and moon and covered with exquisite carvings. This lecture will focus on Angkor’s artistic heritage and religious symbolism. It will reveal the history of the Khmer empire and its flowering of sculptural art. It concludes with contemporary Cambodia and the living arts, especially classical dance, performed at the temples in celebration of the gods. Luang Prabang in Laos with its 35 Buddhist temples dating from the 16th century, superbly gilded and frescoed, with tiered roofs that sweep to the ground is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also reference to the contemporary living arts, especially the silver head dresses and jewellery worn by ethnic minorities such as the Hmong, Yao and Akha. The shimmering silk weaving of Laos will also be shown, rich in history, with weavers and their wealth of ancient patterns and glorious colours.

Denise Heywood worked in Cambodia in the 1990s and has been a scholar of Southeast Asian art ever since. Her books include one on the Buddhist temples of Laos, Ancient Luang Prabang and Laos, also in French, and Cambodian Dance Celebration of the Gods, with a foreword by the daughter of King Sihanouk. She Lectures for the Art Fund, the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies on their post-graduate Asian Art Course and for the V&A.

30 Jan 2021         The Cultural History of the Hugenots – Sue Jackson

The Huguenots came to England in huge numbers in the late 17th century bringing a wide variety of skills – as silk weavers, silversmiths, clock makers, opticians, bankers, gilders, ironworkers, horticulturists etc. Names such as Paul de Lamerie, Samuel Courtauld and Jean Tijou spring to mind. In virtually all areas, they were innovators and more advanced than the English who were forced to improve their own skills or go out of business. Although the majority settled in London, others found their way to East Anglia, Macclesfield and Canterbury. This talk examines their lasting legacy.

Sue Jackson has a background in art and design publishing and now lectures for the National Trust, U3A, City Literary Institute. A qualified Blue Badge Guide, she gives guided walks on various themes and has published work on the lost world of the River Fleet.