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DateLecture
10 January 2019A Decorative Art: the history of Wallpapers
14 February 2019Lawrence of Arabia: excavating a legend
14 March 2019The Honourable & Dishonourable Art of Acting
11 April 2019The Beauty & History of Frames
09 May 2019 Harlots, rakes & crashing china - an accidental introduction to ceramics and Hogarth’s world
13 June 2019The Hands of Leonardo da Vinci
11 July 2019The World of Pieter Bruegel the Elder
19 September 2019Eric Ravilious: a life in Pictures
10 October 2019The Magic of Prague: Czech art and culture
14 November 2019Art inspired by wine

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A Decorative Art: the history of Wallpapers Jo Banham Thursday 10 January 2019

Wallpaper is often regarded as the Cinderella of the Decorative Arts – the most ephemeral and least precious of the decorations produced for the home. Yet, the history of wallpaper is a long and fascinating subject that dates back to the 16th century and encompasses a huge range of beautiful patterns created both by anonymous hands and by some of the best-known designers of the 19th and 20th centuries. This lecture explores the history and development of this product from earliest times up to the present day. It includes a discussion of the changing ways in which wallpaper was made and a survey of designs from the first black and white patterns, the creation of elegant flock hangings, the fashion for Chinese hand-painted papers, the introduction of machine-printing, the designs of Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the taste for Modernist and Contemporary designs in the 20th century. It also includes a discussion of the ways that wallpapers were used within grand and more ordinary homes and hopes to justify the claim that they were indeed a truly Decorative Art.

Jo Banham is a freelance curator, lecturer and writer. From 2006-2016 she was Head of Adult Learning at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Prior to that Head of Learning and Access at the National Portrait Gallery, and Head of Public Programmes at Tate Britain. She has also been Curator of Leighton House and Assistant Keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery. She has published on many aspects of Victorian and early 20th century decoration and interiors. She is currently curating an exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Juan March Fundacion in Madrid and the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya in Barcelona. She is also Director of the Victorian Society Summer School.

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