I am a skilled, enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker and regularly give talks, seminars and study days on areas I have written about and other areas within 20thC design, antiques, collecting, and the decorative arts. My talks are packed with facts, opinion, context and take-home information. I am an accredited NADFAS lecturer and I have also spoken at locations ranging from village halls and local bookshops to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Although I have undertaken formal lectures, my style is informal, energetic and friendly – but always professional.
All lectures are accompanied by an illustrated Powerpoint presentation and I am always delighted to end with a lively and challenging Q&A session. Where possible, I also bring a few examples of the objects that I am talking about, so that they can be handled by the audience.
For 2017 bookings, lectures and talks are £380 each and study days are £550. From January 1st 2018, lectures and talks will be £380 each and study days are £600. Each lecture lasts just over one hour, plus a related questions and answers session. Study days are comprised of two lectures of your choice from the list below, and interactive identification, valuation and Q&A sessions. Travelling expenses and, if necessary, reasonable overnight expenses are charged additionally at cost. I am not registered for VAT so do not charge it. Please click here to contact me for costs of other types of event, which I would be delighted to tailor to your wishes.
Please see a full list of my talks and lectures below. If you would like me to speak on another subject that is not listed below, please click here to contact me.
“Antiques. I don’t understand them and they’re beyond my budget. Nobody even collects anymore. They’re not for me.” A persuasive introduction to buying antiques and integrating and using them in today’s homes. The state of the antiques market and the different meanings of the word value are considered, and we take a look at what current and future generations of collectors are buying, why they are buying it and how they are displaying it.
Curves, Colours & Cool: An Introduction to Mid-Century Modern
The antiques market has changed dramatically and now pieces that were made during the 1970s can fetch many times more than a piece made in the 1770s. Why has the teak sideboard you threw out become so desirable? Who is this Eames guy? Drawing a blank with Timo Sarpaneva? Who’s buying what and what are they doing with it? This practical and inspirational lecture looks at furniture, ceramics, glass, lighting and metalware, identifies key designs and designers, and the examines the revolutionary design movements they began.
Hot Stuff! The Birth of Studio Glass
Although glass has been made for centuries, the 1960s saw a revolution in the way it was made, opening it up to artists across the world. After looking at the historical context and the genesis of the movement, I examine the work of six key glass artists from the US and the UK, including Dale Chihuly, Sam Herman, and Peter Layton. Containing previously unseen photographs taken at the time, this talk also includes my top tips and an overview of the market today and the creative journey made by glassmakers so far.
Legends of Czech Glass
The 1950s–70s saw a renaissance in Czech glass design that re-established the Bohemian region’s global reputation in this area. From behind the Iron Curtain, skilled designers pushed the boundaries of 20th century glass design and produced unique art glass masterpieces that went on to inspire visually stunning, highly innovative and commercial ranges. Despite this, the designers responsible were rarely named. Until today, the designs they produced have been typically forgotten or misattributed. This lecture reveals the work of seven influential designers across cut, blown and pressed glass, and considers the economic and political context that affected it.
Michael Harris – Mdina Glass & Isle of Wight Studio Glass
Michael Harris was one of the innovators of the international studio glass movement and transformed 20thC glass and its creation. His pioneering work at Mdina Glass on Malta and, later, at Isle of Wight Studio Glass is examined, including influences, production techniques, major ranges and the heritage he left behind.
An overview of Britain’s ‘Big Four’ postwar glass companies, comprising Whitefriars, King’s Lynn (Wedgwood), Caithness and Dartington. As well as company and designer histories, special slides examine, compare and contrast ‘Good, Better, Best’ examples from each company. The emergence of these factories is put into context and major influences behind them are discussed. The current glut of Whitefriars fakes are covered, including tips on how to spot them.
Frank Thrower & Dartington Glass
Frank Thrower was one of the most prolific and successful glass designers of the late 20th century. From the inception of Dartington Glass in 1967, he provided the creative and marketing drive that contributed to the company’s considerable success. As sole designer for almost 20 years, he produced over 700 innovative and popular designs. This lecture looks at the history of the company, Frank’s life and the major phases of, and influences behind, his well known designs.
Caithness Glass: Loch, Heather & Peat
Since it was founded in 1961, Caithness Glass has become renowned across the world. For 50 years, the company fulfilled the founders’ original aims of providing employment in rural Scotland and producing high quality, modern glassware for the home. Although much is known about their paperweights, until now little has been known about the designer and influences behind the decorative and tableware designs that built and maintained the company’s reputation.
20th Century Glass – New Markets
This lecture gives an overview of the most rapidly developing, popular and recently revealed areas in mid–century modern European glass. Makers covered include Mdina Glass, Wedgwood Glass and a number of the most important Czech glass factories. Key designers and designs, and the influences behind them, are examined, with ‘Gallery’ slides giving a wider understanding of each company’s production.
Fat Lava: West German Ceramics of the 1960s & 70s
After firmly establishing themselves at the forefront of international ceramic design in the 1950s, modern West German ceramics underwent a second explosion in design during the 1960s, pushing boundaries of form, glaze and colour to their limits. As well as considering stylistic development, major makers, influences and the rise of the current market, keys to identification, dating and value are examined.
Alla Moda: Mid-Century Modern Italian Ceramics
Stylish and colourful, Italian ceramics of the 1950s–70s reflect the many developments in ceramic design and modern art of the period. Although made in large quantities and exported across the world, until now little has been known about the companies, designers and influences behind them. Major makers from Bitossi to Fantoni to the many factories on San Marino are covered, and the identity of an important, forgotten factory is revealed.
Vintage Fountain Pens
The pen is mightier than the sword! In today’s digital world of emails and tweeting, the art of writing has largely been left behind. Adding personality and individuality to communication, the tools of writing have a fascinating history dating back to prehistory and peaking in the golden age of the fountain pen in the 20th century. As well as a full history of development, major makers, keys to identification, dating and value are examined.
Pierre-Georges Jeanniot’s ‘The Horrors of War’
In 2014, the centenary of the start of World War One, I rediscovered the copper plates for Jeanniot’s shocking, graphic and historically important series of ten etchings covering the ‘Rape of Belgium’. Immediately banned when displayed in 1915, the unpublished series was subsequently lost. This lecture examines these fascinating etchings in detail, puts them in context and considers the many references to the famous, earlier war cycles by Callot and Goya. The etching process and the restoration of the plates are also covered. For more information about The Horrors of War etchings, please click here.
Technical Notes: I will bring a fully illustrated presentation built in a fully licensed and updated version of Microsoft Office 365 Powerpoint. I use an Apple MacBook Pro laptop, and bring the correct Apple adaptor to connect it to a standard VGA cable on a digital projector. My laptop is also equipped with an HDMI slot. I will also bring a Kensington USB laser pointer, but I do not bring a microphone due to the different sound systems in each location. I prefer to connect my own Mac laptop to your digital projector as, occasionally, older or different versions or the PC or Mac version of Powerpoint can cause problems with images and text.
IMPORTANT Note for NADFAS Programme Secretaries: I am sorry but I do not have a lecture titled or about a combination of ‘Antiques & The Art Market‘. Similarly, I do not have a lecture entitled ‘Affordable Antiques‘. Both were errors on the slide shown behind me on the Directory Day in 2014.