Home of extremes, Spain possesses a startlingly original culture that has been fostered by conflict with battles for dominion, in politics and religion, over much of its history making the country unlike any of its European                 neighbours. This course will trace the roots of the narrative, a fascinating journey and period of gestation, through its art and architecture- mosques, palaces and castles-and through painting, sculpture and applied art. The complex and beguiling decorative schemes of the Moorish occupation are as spiritually charged as art in the service Christianity, its hyper realism, melodrama and severity, the unique signature of Spanish culture.   

The beating heart of this story is centred in Andalucía. The annual trip is in March 2019.

For more information. Please email the tutor:  Visit my website for all courses from Sept 2018- 

Animals in Art 

                           James Ward R.A. at Palace House, N.H.C. New Date: Sunday September 16th 2-4pm.

          I am hoping to run  this as an inaugural talk to start off the autumn term at the national Heritage Centre in Newmarket. I have decided to change the date because the first one of 2nd was too early and before the summer period ends. Also, it coincides with the late summer food festival in Newmarket which means that entry charges to the N.H.C. are only £5 for the day, less than double! 

               A   little known artist, an unsung hero nowadays, but greatly renowned in his own times, Ward produced hundreds of animal depictions in what's regarded as the golden age of animal painting between Stubbs and Landseer. 

In this year, 2018, as the Royal Academy celebrates its 250th anniversary, this is a fitting show to stage as Ward was both an academician and appointed painter and engraver to the Prince of Wales in 1811. It is only evident why he was so honoured when one sees his work in the flesh- anyone who enjoys art that seeks to capture the truth with precision, beauty and imagination will appreciate the legacy of this English artist. Reviews are marking this show as one not to be missed.                                   

                                        This exhibition, consisting of drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures brings together works from the Fitzwilliam, Tate Britain plus fine examples of his draughtsmanship much celebrated in Wards oeuvre from the British Museum. 

Payment deadline: august 1st please £25 

Minimum numbers apply. Students who have visited the N.H.C. before should uses their passes for this- please check validity. Otherwise reduced admission (£5 on arrival) prices apply giving access to the whole art collection- an opportunity to see this if you have not been able to before. 

Visible Women

                                                                 A Special exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum

                                                                          Sunday November 4th 1.30-4 p.m. 

                                                                                    with a short break for tea

Museums and galleries alike bemoan the invisibility of women artists in their collections.  This is largely due to the majority having been found in the Victorian era, reflecting the overwhelmingly white male dominance in the arts as in all walks of professional life. 

This exhibition borrows its title from a book published in 1971 by the artist Penny Slinger whose surreal feminist style-see her head box display to the right- 

demonstrates the continuing concern in the late 20th century with the constraints places on the female psyche and subconscious by societal expectations. Using photocollage and poetry, she examines how a woman is seen and sees herself. 

Thus sets the tone for this imaginative discourse into what it means to be feminine and to voice and present a highly pertinent show of work by many past, modern and contemporary artists. From painting and sculpture to photography, artists include Hepworth, Gwen John, Marie Laurencin, Bridget Riley, Jo Spense and more. 

This  Autumn Study Day is part of the ALL WOMAN season this term, complimenting the Fitzwilliam show of Art Inspired by Virginia Woolf and the course I shall be running there from November 16th- see separate details. 

                                                                             Fee: £34 deadline- October 5th                                                                                                               There is also an entrance charge to the Castle Museum of £8.50 (£8 concessions)                                                                               For a group- minimum of 10. ART FUND members get free entry. 

The museum opens a 1pm on Sundays and closes at 4.30. please bear this in mind when planning your day and when to eat. You can get a snack or tea after at the adjacent shopping centre. Easy train links from Cambridge or Ely are the best way to travel there or by road-park in the shopping centre c.p. 


Art inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf

A 3 week Course at the Fitzwilliam Museum.


Fridays 2-3.30pm. November 16, 23, 30 OR A one-off afternoon course on Thurs 29th 2-4.40p.m. TBC!

In the centenary of suffrage, this show brings together women artists from 1850 till the present day who were connected to Woolf or have shared affinities with her ideas around female identity, creativity, domesticity and nature. Woolf's writings act  as a prism through which to explore these, illustrated with examples by key figures in art history including Laura Knight, Gwen John,Vanessa Bell, Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Dora Carrington, Louise Bourgeois and other more recent woman contemporary artists. 

                'Women should think back through their mothers and trace a matriarchal heritage'

Woolf and her feminist ideas have been almost exclusively associated with the Bloomsbury group. This show corrects this view by locating her in the St. Ives landscape and seaside haunts that impressed her so profoundly as a child and helped forge her understanding and ethos as a woman and writer. Equally profiled in later years are her lectures delivered in Cambridge to female students that went on to become one of her most influential books- A room of ones own, inspiring women to change their lives. 

                                                                        Unmissable for all women and

                                                               FEE: £49 Deadline: October 19th or weekly - £17 

                                                                         Or single course on Nov. 29th- £29           

Courses academic year 2016-18(summer term)

The Biggest Splash-The Inimitable David Hockney

At Swaffham Prior on 4 Wednesdays, April 19th to May 10th

Probably the greatest, living British artist, David Hockney, who celebrates his 80th birthday this summer, is far from hanging up his brushes: 

How long do I have? I don't want to waste it.....

Since the 1960's, when he rose to prominence as a Pop artist, with his specially cultivated trendy look, he has always been in the public eye, a workaholic who has kept us entertained with new art throughout his career, showcases in regular exhibitions all over the world and his critical appreciation, publishing his art and the results of his explorations into art history.                               We have a lot to be thankful for! We should value and give him credit for the contribution he has made in debates (both written and interviews on t.v.) into the making of art, the role performed by museums, the omnipresence of photography in all our lives and latterly of digital technology.                                                                                                       The photograph sees geometrically, but we must see psychologically                                                                    Born in Yorkshire but living mostly near L.A., he hasn't lost touch with his roots and is much loved for his depictions of nature, whether it be the glorious light transforming the Santa Monica hills in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours or the muddy puddles in the dales after a rain shower. Hockney remains excited by all of life, drawing inspiration from the people around him and the changing face of nature.                                                                                                                                                       This short course coincides with the big must-see retrospective show on at Tate Britain (till may 29th). With his very latest work and designs for a stain glassed window at Westminster Abbey, a highly prestigious commission, no doubt in recognition of his amazing longevity in the British art world.  


 The Truth about Photography                                                                                                                                           Saturday April 22nd, 2-5pm at Swaffham Prior V.H. (Village Hall).

Our study day will party be a tribute to John Berger who died on January 2nd this year.                                                                      A man of many talents, including art and writing novels, he rose to international acclaim, winning the Booker prize in 1972 with Ways of Seeing- a groundbreaking book that has since become an unofficial bible for art  history students in particular.  In no other form of society in history has there been such a concentration of images, such a density of visual messages      

He set about alerting us to the omnipresence of images in our culture and the manipulative role played by photo reproductions in shaping our understanding via our publicity led culture. He challenges above all the criteria we all still use today to judge the veracity of images, namely the photo as the recorder of truth, but what is the truth? Surely the photographer can construct, airbrush and lead the viewer as much as the painter?

                               The Modernists re-evaluation of photography in the mid 20th century, led to a fresh appraisal of it's reputation as an unfeeling, objective, mechanical eye. They now regarded it as a valid vehicle for artistic expression and an exploration of truths. We shall examine some examples of this which can be seen in the current Radical Eye display at Tate Modern- the photography collection of Sir Elton John. Don't believe all that you see!  


  The Renaissance at Home At the Fitz 

                                                              Friday 19th of May & Thursday 25th of Many 

                                                      What was life like inside the Italian 16th century home? 

Shaped according to religious practice, superstitious belief and strong family traditions, the domestic sphere is eloquently recreated in this exhibition, with many of the objects that real families across the Italian peninsula owned and used-fine art alongside humble everyday items.                                                                                                                                                                                           Witness painted madonnas and saints as aids to prayer, holy sculptures that bless and protect the home, beautiful ceramics adorning tables, fine engravings and illuminated books. Plus jewellery, furniture and ex-votos - a special personalised item of thanksgiving. All of this has been brought together, the culmination of 4 years research, to offer us a glimpse into the private spaces of an otherwise intensely worldly and secular period.


                   Art At Sea

                            At tHE fITZ on Saturday May 13th 2-4.40pm 

                                                                     Shiba Gallery- Making Waves                                                                                Marine painting emerged as a new independent genre in the 17th century, under the prosperous Dutch Republic, who had earned a formidable reputation as a seafaring nation.                                                                                                                                             Calm seas, dramatic storms and harbour scenes with fisherfolk, adding a touch of the everyday together create a detailed portrait of the Dutch golden age in drawings and watercolours from the Ingram Bequest.                                                                        After a short tea break, we shall visit the Sea to Shore display in the Glaisher Gallery on the ground floor. Works by St. Ives artists from the early 20th century by artists who engaged with the beauty and variety of the Cornish coastline and landscape. 

                 Art at sea 

                                       Wednesday May 17th at Swaffham Prior. 10.15-12.15

                                                                    Who doesn't love the sea?

                                    Water surrounds our island, drawing many of us to spend time by it on our holidays or on day trips, swimming and boating being pleasures of the summertime.                                                                                                                                                         Several artists have explored the sea as a theme and in its many guises-                                                          inspired by mythology (Botticelli's Birth of Venus), by the drama of sea and sky (Claude & Turner) or by the ever changing colours of the coastline  (Monet). 

               This morning session will complement the Fitz talk but equally act an an independent course


Flower POwer - Art inspired by gardens

SUMMER  Study day at Swaffham Prior Village Hall
Tuesday August 2nd at  10.30am - 2 p.m.

Gardens occupy a special place in our homes, a haven to which we can escape, amidst the chaos of the wider world.  From the famous late 19th century creation at Giverny, artists like Monet have been making gardens – shaping paths, establishing borders, building ornamental bridges over lakes or ponds, creating light and shade and more – all to make nature more pleasing.           

The landscape movement in 18th century Britain had already established a significant precedent for the role gardens would play in the history of culture. They had their origin in paintings – beautiful organised landscapes - by the 17th century French artist, Claude Lorrain. Of the best known, Capability Brown set out to recreate Claude’s paintings for his patrons at British country estates, which we can still experience today.

This mutual relationship is the key to the theme of nature in the history of art. In early Victorian Britain, William Morris revived interest in the English cottage garden, which in turn inspired many of his floral designs. And so many artists from Britain to America would create a diverse range of imagery in paint and other media inspired by gardens. Artists include Bonnard, Kandinsky, Matisse, Klimt, Hockney and Goldsworthy. Plus a special selection featuring some of the large scale paintings of flowers by American, Georgia O’ Keeffe to complement the exhibition coming to Tate Modern from July 3rd –a once in a generation opportunity to see her art in the flesh – an un forgettable experience !

The role of the garden in art from the 19th to the 20th centuries would evolve from being a visual utopia or refuge to a commentary on the fragility of nature as well as an aid into investigating colour, shape and design.


Fee:  £37 with a sandwich/crisps lunch or £34 - bring your own.

Tea/coffee available on the day as an extra.

Deadline:  No later than June 29th

Face to Face: The portrait in history 2016/17


20 week course

Tuesday or Wednesday Mornings 10.15-12.15

Starting September 13th/ 14th at Swaffham Prior Village Hall

What’s in a face ?   Eyes, nose, mouth – the first recognition of a new born. The family album – conjuring up the living presence of our departed.

The portrait – promoting posthumous fame.

There is nothing else quite as compelling as the portrait:Thiscourse will explore widely and deeply the relevance to us in our lives and the importance of theartistic tradition to our understanding of history.    

From the royal persona, the donor and funerary portraits to wealth, & status beauty & personality. From ancient times to the modern photographic image and the selfie – a thematic ride through history.                                      

Fee per term: £95

Deposit: £40 by August 2nd.


A new 3 week course at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Thursdays 2- 3.30 p.m.

November 12th, 19th, 26th

Portraits fire the imagination! Who are these people from the past who populate our museums ? Why did the patrons of art envisage themselves to be painted thus ? Did they really look like that ? Taking two portraits on loan - one of Henry VIII - as a sounding board for a discussion at this time of renewed interest in portraiture, we raise vital issues about the role of the portrait to create memories. Each week will explore a theme within the portraits in the collections.With the current craze for selfies being second nature in our popular culture, it begs the question more than ever about who we think we are!

Fee: £42 

Past Courses taught:

10 WEEK COURSES: - using digital projector

Treasures of Italy: Leading cultural centres in Italy, with focus on Florence, Venice and Rome. Iconic paintings, sculpture and architecture created in response to new breed of patron in a spirit of competition from 15th to 16th centuries. The impact of their collective past heritage – the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome, Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles.

The Story of French Art: Saving Souls (Spanish art in the 17th century): Capital Art (Art in London and in collections across Britain) – second term: Beyond the Capital: Made In East Anglia (from Bronze Age to the 21st century, the heritage of our region).

The story of Women Artists - Parts 1 & 2: A chance to discover the women missing from the history of art and how they competed alongside the men over the centuries to become professional artists, given the very different conditions that they had to deal with. Meet the movers and the shakers who succeeded in carving their names into history - very few are known to us with many more yet to be re-instated and some who tried but failed.

Impressive Women- Part 3: Focus on 19th Century Women Impressionists in Paris.


Cambridge Building Styles (the history of the styles of architecture – ecclesiastical, collegiate and domestic in the Cambridge). 3 courses taught.


  • Rules and Rebels (tradition and innovation in art) at the Fitzwilliam and Classical Archaeology Museums.
  • A Question of Style at the Fitz – 5 week and 10 weeks courses taught from 2008 to summer 2014.
  • Pride and Porcelain – 5 week course.
  • Myth and Symbol in Art - taught in Jan 2015 at Ely.


  • The Art of laughter - discussing comical prints that lampoon public figures - a unique tradition in British art, incisive drawing styles and the strategies used to entertain, sometimes with a moralistic message.
  • The Language of Drawing taught at various venues in Cambridge including the Botanic Gardens and St. John’s College - summer term only. Course taught several times – last one in 2012
  • Art in Focus at the Fitz . Each week on a different display or exhibition (which included the Poussin acquisition in context and John Craxton exhibition). Spring 2014

INDIVIDUAL STUDY DAYS – whole days, half days and 1 - 2 hour sessions included:

  • The Art of laughter - Prints & Drawings from the 18th century and a celebration of inimitable Ronald Searle (an Cambridge artist)
  • Paying Homage to Botticelli - a special talk to complement an exhibition: Botticelli Reimagined at the V & A
  • A private View of Turner’s Watercolours in the Print room at the Fitz – several dates – last one in 2012.
  • Kettles yard: A Style for living ? in the house 2011 and 2012
  • Talking Heads at the Fitz ( a talk on portrait busts) 2011.
  • Art, Lies and Revolution at the Fitz 2012
  • Shaping the World at Sainsbury Centre, UEA. Talk and drawing session in the world art collections.
  • Ancient Inspirations at the National Gallery. 2011
  • True Brits at Tate Britain. 2013
  • Norwich Castle Museum and Ickworth House ( two separate days) – summer 2014

A selection of Guided Trips:

  • Three day trip to see the art of the Bloomsbury group in Sussex. This ran 3 times, it was so popular ! Last one 2011. Linked to Women artists/writers Course.
  • A long weekend to see the Art and Culture of Liverpool, including evening at the Cavern Club! February half term 2014 Linked to Beyond the Capital Course.
  • Art in the City of BARCELONA – March 2014 Linked to Capital Art course.
  • Lisbon – April 2013 Linked to courses taught on style/ the influence of French culture
  • Nice, France – 2011. Linked to modern French Art courses.
  • Amsterdam, Florence, Pisa, Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Madrid trips which are related to the courses.