Saturday 20th March 2021.

A Chance Discovery: A Gathering of Dress from Kate Elizabeth Bunce. Lecture Presented by Louise Chapman.

In 2012 in a dark room of Birmingham City University (BCU), Louise discovered floor-to-ceiling towers of archival boxes with cryptic labels such as ‘1890 Court dress’ or ‘Extremely delicate Regency dress’. Many in the fashion department at BCU disputed the collections value as an object to be retained. It comprises at least two collections of dresses, one made by Kate Elizabeth Bunce in 1927 and the other with no documented provenance. Individual items offer an insight into, predominantly, middle-class women’s every-day dress. Bequeathed to the Birmingham School of Art in 1927, the Bunce bequest offers a rare insight into an artists ‘hybrid’ collection of dress, the only surviving example of a middle-class family dress gathered from a prominent female Pre- Raphaelite artist.

The chance discovery of the Bunce collection offers an opportunity to reveal hidden biographies through the objects, and as representative of a middle-class female artist working in Birmingham. Louise is now doing a Ph.D. at London College of Fashion having been a costumer in theatre for 17 years and now leads on the BA Hons Costume Design and Practice programme at BCU.

Saturday 23th April 2021.

Discovering Fanny Eaton: Daughter of a Slave and Inspiration for Pre-Raphaelite Artists. Lecture Presented by Brian Eaton.

Brian’s lecture will follow his search for the real Fanny Eaton, finding her name in the 1881 census. He will tell us what her life was like in Victorian England, how he met some of her descendants and heard their family stories, and how with the help of Jan Marsh, the National Portrait Gallery and others, Fanny has been bought out of the shadows.

Brian Eaton is the great grandson of Fanny Eaton. He is Works Manager for an international steel fabrication company, far removed from the art world. He was prompted by his father’s stories to go in search of his ancestor.

Saturday 15th May 2021.

Stained Glass: Art and Medivalism - The Hardmand Firm and The Pre-Raphaelites. Lecture Presented by Dr. Jim Cheshire.

Jim’s lecture will explore the revival of stained glass in the 1850s and its relationship to the emerging aesthetics of Pre-Raphaelite painting. He will explain factors that influenced the style of mid-Victorian stained glass and the extent to which these overlapped with the ideas and visual qualities of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Dr. Jim Cheshire is Associate Professor of the University of Lincoln, his research examines the literary and visual culture of the nineteenth century and thematically is centred on Victorian medievalism. He has worked on stained glass, the Gothic Revival and publishing history especially the literary and material culture surrounding the career of Alfred, Lord Tennyson including a recent monograph about Edward Moxon (Tennyson’s publisher) and his impact on Victorian poetry. He is currently working on chapters for the Oxford Handbook of Victorian Medievalism (Civil and Domestic Design), The Routledge Companion to William Morris (Stained Glass) and The Bloomsbury Cultural History of the Interior 1800-1920 (Public Buildings).

Saturday 5th June 2021.

Myth in Pre-Raphaelite Painting: Twin Perspectives of an Academic and Novelist. Lecture Presented by Mercedes Aguirre.

Mercedes Aguirre will begin by talking about her discovery of and fascination for Pre-Raphaelite paintings through her studies of Classical myth and its reception. This interest led her to want to learn more about the Pre-Raphaelites, and eventually to write a book on the subject (published in Spain), focusing on female mythical characters. At the same time, she developed the idea of writing a novel (The Unfinished Painting) which allowed her to recreate the world of the Pre-Raphaelites and their art through the character of a fictional artist, and alternating between two different times: the 19th century and the 21st century. Complementing that approach through fiction, she will also talk about her academic approach, by exploring certain motifs in Pre-Raphaelite depictions of “The Lady of Shallot” which coincide with motifs in Classical myth: the captive woman, weaving, and the mirror.

Mercedes Aguirre has a doctorate in Classical Philology from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. For many years she was a lecturer in the Universidad Complutense, and is currently an Honorary Collaborator of the same university. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, and has been elected a Life Member of Clare Hall in the University of Cambridge. Her areas of published research (in both Spanish and English) are: Greek literature, Greek mythology and iconography, and the reception of Greek mythology in the modern and contemporary world, particularly in literature and art. She is the author of a book in Spanish about Greek goddesses and heroines in Pre-Raphaelite painting: Reflejos del mito griego: diosas y heroínas en la pintura prerrafaelita (Áurea Clásicos 2006). With Richard Buxton she has co-authored Cyclops: The Myth and its Cultural History (Oxford University Press, 2020).

She is also the author of several books of fiction, some of them inspired by Greek mythology although situated in our contemporary world: Mythical Tales of the Everyday World (bilingual Spanish-English edition, Éride 2010), the novels El cuadro inacabado (Éride 2013) and its English version, The Unfinished Painting (The Book Guild 2020); Vidas, historias y cafés (Éride 2016) and Sangre de centauro (Éride 2019), and the collection of short stories, La pared y otros cuentos de lo extraño y lo sobrenatural (Entrelíneas 2018). She is also the co-author of a series of ten books retelling Greek myths, one retelling Basque myths, and one retelling Celtic myths, all published by Ediciones de la Torre.

*All lectures will take place online via Zoom at 11am. Login details will be emailed during the week prior to the event. PRS Member ticket price - £5.00 Non-Member ticket price - £8.00. If you require further information regarding this lecture please contact - Click here to purchase tickets online.

Created 8 March 2021