Winter Talks Programme 2017/18


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Epsom, Ewell and District Centre

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Winter Talks Programme 2017/18

The final talk of last year was a very entertaining look at life in the first half of the 20th Century as depicted in artist drawn postcards of that era. Titled “Brilliant British Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard 1909-1939” the talk was given by James Taylor a former curator of the National Maritime Museum. In his talk James described how postcards were not only used for entertainment but could also bolster morale, inspire, instruct, motivate and persuade. The talk was illustrated with images of the work of the most popular artists such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin and showed that there was more to picture postcards than the “cheeky” seaside scenes with which we are all familiar. After the Second World War artist drawn postcards never regained their popularity and have now been replaced by more modern forms of communication.

The February talk was given by Philip Stott an inspiring speaker and volunteer room guide at Ightham Mote in Kent.  Philip helped to organise the “Queen Palmer” Exhibition currently running at the Mote and is very knowledgeable about the late Victorian period when artist John Singer Sargent painted some of his more well known works at Ightham.

Queen Palmer and her three daughters were American and rented Ightham Mote for several years from 1887 and it was here that Sargent painted his famous portrait of eldest daughter Miss Elsie Palmer in 1889/90. Elsie was 16 at the time and the painting took 18 months and 80 sittings to complete. The portrait titled “A Young Lady in White” is normally on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre in America but has been loaned to Ightham Mote until June and forms the centre piece of the “Queen Palmer” Exhibition. It is well worth a visit when Ightham reopens in March.

Philip discussed another work by John Singer Sargent called “The Game of Bowls”. Also painted at Ightham Mote it shows the Palmer family and friends on the lawns with part of the building and garden in the background. The original has been offered to Ightham Mote and there is currently a fund raising campaign to buy it for permanent display. Philip will donate his fee from our February talk to the fund.