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09 January 2018The Elgin Marbles: a history of meaning
13 February 2018The Wilton Diptych and the artistic culture of Richard II’s reign
13 March 2018History of the Medici: bankrolling the Renaissance
10 April 2018Twentieth Century Women Gardeners
08 May 2018Buckingham Palace: its history, occupants and contents
12 June 2018Underground Castles: the architecture of the London Underground above and below street level

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The Elgin Marbles: a history of meaning Alan Read Tuesday 09 January 2018

2016 was the bi-centenary of the nation’s purchase of the Elgin Marbles.  On 7th June 1816 the House of Commons voted funds to buy the collection for the British Museum.

The most significant part of the collection were the sculptures of the Parthenon in Athens and the lecture will begin with a description of these sculptures and why they are so celebrated.  How Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin ‘acquired’ them will be considered and the task of bringing them to London.

It was a controversial decision then – and it remains so still – but the sculptures of the Parthenon have been the subject of arguments ever since their creation two thousand five hundred years ago.  This lecture will also examine some of those debates and how the significance of the sculptures has changed: from architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects.

Alan Read has a first class honours degree in History of Art and acts as a guide for many of Britain’s top galleries such as the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery.  He lectures extensively and is also a Blue Badge Guide and City of London Guide. He also conducts walking tours for the Twentieth Century Society, The National Trust and team London Bridge.