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DateLecture
08 January 2019Alchemy and Adventure: A history of exotic colour and poisonous pigments
11 December 2018Santa Claus: the art that turns him from St Nicholas into Father Christmas
13 November 2018250 Years of the Royal Academy
09 October 2018The Festival of Britain and its design legacy
11 September 2018Food and Art through the ages: from Renaissance sugar sculpture to 3D printing
12 June 2018Underground Cathedrals: the architecture of the London Underground above and below street level
08 May 2018Buckingham Palace: its history, occupants and contents
10 April 2018Twentieth Century Women Gardeners
13 March 2018History of the Medici: bankrolling the Renaissance
13 February 2018The Wilton Diptych and the artistic culture of Richard II’s reign
09 January 2018The Elgin Marbles: a history of meaning
12 December 2017Celebration in Ancient Egyptian art
14 November 2017Foreigners in London 1520-1677: the artists that changed the course of British Art.
10 October 2017Man Ray the Magic Man
12 September 2017Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: the Golden Age of Mexican painting
14 June 2017Are you sitting comfortably? The development of the chair from ancient times to the 19th century. NB THIS LECTURE IS ON A WEDNESDAY
09 May 2017Rodin: the first modern sculptor?
11 April 2017Degas and the painting of modern life
14 March 2017Treasures of the turf: the fine and decorative arts of horseracing
14 February 2017Children’s Book Illustrations
10 January 2017‘Cool Painting’: the art of Piero della Francesca (c1410-92)
13 December 2016 A Dickens of a Christmas and God Bless Us Everyone
08 November 2016Birmingham Town Hall: England’s first true civic building
11 October 2016Charles Darwin and art on the voyage of the HMS Beagle
13 September 2016The Book as Art: form and function in creative book structure
14 June 2016Great Tarts in Art
10 May 2016British Art Deco Glass
12 April 2016Treasures of the Silk Road
08 March 2016Picasso and his influence on 20th Century British art
09 February 2016London in the 18th Century: The Terrace House and Garden Square
12 January 2016Goya - Portrait painter, decorator, print maker and war artist
08 December 2015The Christmas Story Illustrated with Paintings from the National Gallery
17 November 2015West Mercia Day of Special Interest Munich Metropolis with a Heart
10 November 2015Telling the Time throughout the Ages
03 November 2015West Mercia Day of Special Interest Dresden Today Art & Architecture
13 October 2015Modern British Silverware
08 September 2015Satirist to insanity: celebrating the bicentennial of the life and work of the caricaturist James Gillray 1756-1815
09 June 2015Plantation Houses of the American South
12 May 2015Contemporary Artists - Gormley, Kapoor and Wallinger
14 April 2015The Art of Waterloo
10 March 2015“The Pilgrims of Babylon” The Artists of Montmartre
10 February 2015Five Centuries of Blue and White Porcelain. An International History
13 January 2015“Costume and the Musical Stage”
09 December 2014“That Pretty German Toy “ - Musings on the Christmas Tree
11 November 2014“Sweet Thames Flow Softly” (T.S. Eliot) The Thames through Artists Eyes
14 October 2014Politics, Patronage and Propaganda : J-L David and the Napoleonic Adventure
09 September 2014“Picture This” –How to read Portraits in Art

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Alchemy and Adventure: A history of exotic colour and poisonous pigments Lynne Gibson Tuesday 08 January 2019

In our modern world it is easy to take colour for granted.  Yet before organic chemistry the most desirable pigments were often exotic or poisonous.  Merchants supplied pungent yellow ‘purree’ nuggets from India, cochineal ‘grana’ from the holds of Spanish galleons, lapis rock carried by camel train from the mountains of Badakhshan.  Alchemists prepared deadly ‘Kings Yellow’ and ‘Ruby of Arsenic’; Moorish Gold’ was concocted according to a 12th century monk, from basilisk powder ground with human blood! This lecture tells the stories of alchemy and adventure behind some of our most colourful and beautiful paintings.


Lynne Gibson BEd, MA has held posts at the Universities of Sussex and Bristol where she introduced ‘Understanding Art’ to the Lifelong Learning programme.  She gives talks and lectures, runs courses and guides tours for a wide range of organisations including ARCA colleges, Art Galleries and Museums. The Art Fund, the National Trust and The Arts Society.  She has also worked as a professional artist specialising in oil painting and etching.