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01 July 2019Birmingham Town Hall : The Pride of Birmingham and an Ornament of England
03 June 2019The Pre-Raphaelites 1848 - 60
13 May 2019The Holland Park Circle
01 April 2019Drawn from Life : The extraordinary Art and Life of Augustus John
04 March 2019Picasso in Britain : Art, Politics and Outcry
04 February 2019"Mind the Gap" - Graphic and Poster Design on the London Underground.
07 January 2019January lecture
04 December 2018How do they make that noise? The Opera Singer Phenomenon
05 November 2018The "Glasgow Boys" and their triumph over the Edinburgh "Glue Pots"
01 October 2018Legendary Porcelain Collectors : Princes, Power and a Passion for Fragile Beauty
02 July 2018Fuego, Humo, y Hierra - How Spanish artists portrayed the Iron and Steel industry of Bilbao
04 June 2018Lover, Teacher, Muse .......or Rival? - Exploring the careers of notable artist couples
14 May 2018The Bronzes of Ife and Benin and a historical review of the art of NIgeria
09 April 2018Giles - His Life, Times and Cartoons
05 March 2018Art UK - Uncovering the Nation's Hidden Oil Painting Collection
05 February 2018Habitat Catalogued - How colour and contemporary design saw off the lingering shades of postwar austerity and revolutionised British retailing.
08 January 2018Votes for Women! - Marking the centenary year of women getting the vote.
04 December 2017From Turkey to Trifle - A history of Food and Dining Habits during the Festive Season
06 November 2017A passion for Piers - An entertaining look at pleasure piers over the last 200 years
02 October 2017Basingstoke and its contribution to World Culture
03 July 2017The Historical Use of Wallpaper in the British Interior, 1865 to the present day
05 June 2017Legend and Lustre: Jim Thompson and Thai Silk
08 May 2017Georgia: Land of The Golden Fleece
03 April 2017Double Dutch : Symbols, Emblems and "double-entendre" in Dutch genre painting
06 March 2017John Opie; The Cornish Wonder
06 February 2017Photographic Odyssey : Shackelton's Endurance Expedition, captured an camera
09 January 2017The Taplow Burial
07 November 2016Pevsner in South Somerset
03 October 2016Lancelot Capability Brown - Landscape Art and Dame Nature
04 July 2016The Role of the Arts in the cycle of Crime, Prison and Re-offending
06 June 2016200th Anniversary of the Parthenon sculptures (or how Lord Elgin gained and lost his marbles)
09 May 2016Art of Light - Stained glass in the City of London
04 April 2016The Origins of the Icon – Painted wooded panels or Eastern Windows to Heaven?
07 March 2016Forde Abbey
01 February 2016The Art & Craft of the Pewterer
11 January 2016Miniatures in the Wallace Collection
07 December 2015The life and loves of Edouard Manet
02 November 2015Art and the Napoleonic Wars
05 October 2015What really happened at the Yellow House in Arles between Van Goth and Gauguin?
06 July 2015A brief illustrated history of jewellery
01 June 2015Art, Fish and Sail: Cornish Historic Art including Charles Napier Hemy, H.S.Tuke and Newlyn School
11 May 2015Spanish Fire – El Greco and Picasso
13 April 2015The Cathedrals of Salisbury, Wells and Exeter
02 March 2015Klimt and the Viennese Secession
02 February 2015King George III: 'the most cultured monarch', art collector, friend of America and family man
05 January 2015Russian and Soviet Art: From Icons to Socialist Realism
01 December 2014Glory to the Newborn King – Nativity Art
03 November 2014Looking at Dickens 1812 – 2012
06 October 2014Never Such Innocence Again: The First World War through the eyes of Artists and Poets
07 July 2014A Tale of Two Houses: Blackwell and the Hill House
02 June 2014Garden History: In Search of Paradise from the Chahar Bagh to Chelsea
12 May 2014The Indian Textile Trade: Kashmir shawls to chintz
07 April 2014William Arnold and his Somerset Masons
03 March 2014From the Levant to the Parc Monceau: the collection of Moise and Isaac de Camondo
03 February 2014Sleeping Beauties: the Irish Country House
06 January 2014Isabella d'Este, First Lady of the Renaissance
02 December 2013Merrily on High - the history of the English carol
04 November 2013Images of Cleopatra
07 October 2013The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany
24 September 2013Special 40th Anniversary lecture: Harlots, Rakes and Crashing China - an accidental introduction to 18th century ceramics (and to the works of William Hogarth)
01 July 2013China Comes to Town
03 June 2013Life and Times of the Sundial
13 May 2013Gardens of Cornwall and Normandy
08 April 2013The Great Age of the Poster – Posters of the Belle Epoque
04 March 2013Lowry: a visionary artist
04 February 2013Rescuing Zeugma from the floodwaters of the Euphrates
07 January 2013Embroidered with woodbine and eglantine - Elizabethan textile furnishings
03 December 2012In the Bleak Midwinter - artists' responses to snow
05 November 2012Aspects of Love in Art
01 October 2012Contemporary silver development in the 20th and 21st Centuries
02 July 2012Medieval Masterpiece – Hotel Dieu at Beaune
11 June 2012The book as art form and function in creative book structures

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Birmingham Town Hall : The Pride of Birmingham and an Ornament of England Anthony Peers Monday 01 July 2019

Birmingham Town Hall was built (in 1832-4) to serve both as an emblem for the town and as a venue in which to hold its great public events. Constructed with funds raised by a public rate, from the outset the people of Birmingham regarded this ‘built by the people for the people’ building as their own.

As it occupies a central place in Birmingham and its story, study of this focal landmark provides ample opportunity for extrapolative consideration of the broader history of this the ‘city of a thousand trades’.

The Town Hall’s design was selected by the town commissioners by
means of an architectural competition: Based on the design of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Forum, Rome, the presence of this grand edifice at the heart of the town would, they hoped, encourage inhabitants and visitors alike to think of ancient Rome - the great centre of classical civilisation – and reflect on the comparative achievements of
modern day Birmingham.

Regarded as Britain’s first truly civic building, Birmingham Town Hall was also the country’s first great purpose built concert hall. Over the course of its history it has played host to many noteworthy events. For instance it was here, in 1846, that Mendelssohn conducted the premier performance of The Elijah.

In addition to discussing the building’s architectural form and matters such as pre-Victorian concert hall design and civic pride (as reflected in this and other historic buildings in Birmingham), the lecture also engages with the colourful story of the Town Hall’s construction: With challenges at the stone quarries in Anglesey, strikes by the labour force, a fatal accident
on site and delay upon delay, this was a far from straight forward building project: Indeed the architects as well as the contractors eventually succumbed to bankruptcy.

When it was finally completed the Town Hall was lauded as being both ‘by far the cheapest building of its magnitude perhaps ever erected’ as well as ‘the pride of Birmingham and an ornament to England’. The narrative will be rounded off with an account of the £35 Million scheme to repair and
revitalise the Town Hall, including an explanation of several intriguing discoveries made by the lecturer on site.