We meet on the morning of the first Tuesday of the month to enjoy a lecture on one of a thousand subjects within the Arts.  Actual face to face lectures are being replaced with live Zoom Webinar meetings until further notice.    It’s all there on the website –  - plus anything else you’d like to know about our group.  We’d love you to join us.  Or try a free taster visit to the next lecture meeting?  Please talk to our membership secretary Alice, at   or  ‘contact us’ through the above website. 

Next Lecture Meeting | Tuesday 2nd March 2021 |  "First, Catch a Squirrel..." Historical Materials and Techniques of Painting 15th - 18th Century

Dr Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe MA PhD


 Tuesday 2nd March 2021 

The 14th century artist Cennino Cennini recommended using “the chicken bones that you will find under the dining table” for making charcoaled bone black to paint with. His treatise, The Artists’ Handbook, gives us an understanding of some of the surprising materials which any artist had to master before he could begin to paint, such as the tail of a squirrel to make his paintbrushes. But many of these materials were difficult to use and have an effect on the finished look of paintings from the centuries before industrial processes changed the artist’s world. This lecture will explain the techniques and the reasons for some of the features of 15th and 16th century paintings which may seem odd to our modern eyes. Examples of the materials mentioned in the talk will be brought to pass round and discuss with participants.

Dr Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh and a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London University. With 40 years' experience as a lecturer, Chantal has taught at Sotheby's Institute of Art on the MA in Fine and Decorative Arts since 1989, and as a freelance lecturer for a number of societies in London, Italy and America. Having also trained as a paintings conservator, she brings an understanding of the making and the physical painting to her lectures and study sessions.

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