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DateEvent
12 November 2019Patience: Gilbert and Sullivan's aesthetic opera
27 February 2019"From Magic Lanterns to Metro Goldwyn Mayer" The birth of the Silver Screen and the art that surrounded it.
28 November 2018"Look like an Expert" : the inside story on art restoration, forgery and taste.
28 February 2018'Looking at Me Looking at You': The Representation of Women in Western Art
22 November 2017'Bankrolling the Renaissance': A History of the Medici Family
22 February 2017The Shakers of North America
30 November 2016Banks Burgundy, and Piracy. The fifteenth century Artists of Bruges
24 February 2016The Gilded Stage: A Social and Cultural History of Opera
25 November 2015The Romanovs - Tyrants and Martyrs of Imperial Russia
25 February 2015FIRST WORLD WAR: THE POETRY, ART AND MUSIC OF WILFRED OWEN AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES
27 November 2014THE BRITISH PORTRAIT: HOGARTH TO HOCKNEY
27 February 2014Antique Jewellery
28 November 2013Pompeii and Herculaneum- Their Life and Death
28 February 2013SCULPTURE IN THE 20TH CENTURY
29 November 2012HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH THEATRE

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Patience: Gilbert and Sullivan's aesthetic opera Peter Medhurst Tuesday 12 November 2019

Please note the change of day , TUESDAY,  not Thursday as usual.

In 1877, the Victorian artistic world was agog with libel suit that James Whistler had brought against John Ruskin. Apparently, the art critic had described Whistler's painting Nocturn in Black and Gold as flinging a pot of paint in the public's face. Whistler won but the judge only awarded him damages of a farthing, and the heavy costs incurred by the case brought him to bankruptcy in 1879.   The artist eventually recovered from all of this, but the knock on effect to the public was extraordinary.  Since Whistler was one of the leading lights on the Aesthetic Movement, it brought awareness of the cult to a head and it seemed that every dinner party in England was debating the merits of primary colours, Japanese art and medieval costumes.  In 1881, in the wake of Whistler's court case, Gilbert and Sullivan created their opera Patience, a work inspired by the eccentricities and affectations of the Aesthetic Movement.  Well known figures like Walter Pater, Algernon Swinburne and members of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had their writings and their artistic works alluded to, or mercilessly sent up.  Others - Oscar Wilde and Whistler - even inspired the costumes and makeup of the opera's principal characters.  The lecture examines the history, construction, reception and contemporary satire found in Patience - arguably Gilbert and Sullivan's most successful work.