Special Interest Meetings

Special Interest Meetings (SIMs) are an in depth treatment of a specific topic that is quite separate to the night time lectures.

The Special Interest Meetings are held at 10am at;
The Newcastle Club,
40 Newcomen St.,
Newcastle NSW 2300.

7th March 2016 at the Newcastle Club (10am)

Caravane sur la Route de la soie - Atlas catalan

Christopher Bradley: Treasures of the Silk Road

The Silk Road extends over 8,000 kms from China through Central Asia to the Mediterranean. The route acted as a highway for beliefs, ideas, inventions and art, whilst silk was just one of the many products traded for 1,400 years. With the Greek invasion of Alexander the Great, early Persian routes spread east towards India, until stability finally allowed the Chinese to trade silk, jade and ceramics in exchange for horses, pearls and gold. Buddhism spread throughout Central Asia and there are wonderful paintings from the Magao caves at Dunhuang and the ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ at Bezeklik in the Flaming Mountains. Samarkand and Bukhara are the beginning of the great Islamic buildings that continue through Persia and further west. Along the way we will see traditional murals, ceramics, statues, carpets, architecture, mosaics, tile-work, rock carvings and of course, silk itself.

11th July 2016 at the Newcastle Club (10am)

That Woman

Anne Sebba: American women in British society

Between 1870 and 1914 hundreds of American heiresses flooded the shores of continental Europe, trading fortunes for titles. They were known as The Dollar Princesses and included Consuelo Vanderbilt at Blenheim and Mary Curzon at Kedleston. These marriages – dubbed by some as gilded prostitution – were usually hard-headed matches plotted by the parents. They may have kept many a grand estate from collapsing but few provided lasting happiness when the fairy tale was exposed. This lecture examines the clothes, the portraits, the jewels and the literature of Churchill: Winston’s American Mother; Style Icon or Ambitious Seductress’? and That woman or Duchess of Style – time to reassess Wallis Simpson’.