Thursday 2 March 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Anthropologist Max Carocci, British Museum, discusses the socio-political roles of Native American women in the early 17th century – the time of Pocahontas.
The talk will examine women’s responsibilities in decision making, their political status, and social prestige in the Native North American cultures encountered by European colonists. An analysis of early indigenous political organisation will offer a glimpse into the rituals and customs that may have been socially appropriate for women such as Pocahontas at the time of contact.
Friday 7 April 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture theatre £5, £3 Members/concessions
Alastair Sooke, art critic, journalist, broadcaster and author of Pop Art, and Stephen Coppel, Exhibition Curator of The American Dream: pop to the present, discuss the context of the exhibition, focusing on pop art's important role.
Friday 10 March 2017, 18.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
The 1970s saw the rise of second-wave feminism, with challenges to the dominant art historical narrative of ‘woman as object’ and ‘man as viewer and artist’.
This panel discussion explores the ways in which female artists from the late 1960s to the present day have demanded space for the female voice and body, creating new forms and dialogues, and changing the traditional structures of the art world.
Chaired by Kirsty Lang, the panel features Exhibition Project Curator Catherine Daunt, British Museum, and Griselda Pollock, Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, University of Leeds.
Monday 8 May 2017, 17.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
The important role of duplication in the history of Chinese art is well known. Ancient bronze vessels and ceramics were produced in sets, and many were later copied.
Calligraphy and painting were copied to learn from ancient masters and preserve original works of art. Yet, in the study of Chinese sculpture, there is little discussion of duplication. The history of Chinese sculpture seems to consist of a series of singular, unique objects. There are period styles, regional similarities, and sets of images, of course, but few duplicates. If two or more works are identical, we are quick to dismiss one or more to be a modern forgery. Serial images and duplicates were undoubtedly produced in ancient times. Pious replications of Buddhist images were made in archaic styles. New works were provided with ancient inscriptions. Some such works were modern forgeries meant to deceive. But copies and duplicates were part of image making from ancient times to the present.
In this lecture, Stanley Abe, Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University, will discuss examples of duplicate sculptural images as original production, as pious copies or replacements, and as modern forgeries. All are possible and, while difficult to discern, necessary to understand as part of the history of Chinese sculpture.
Followed by a drinks reception.
Supported by the Trustees of the Sir Percival David Foundation.
Saturday 29 April 2017, 14.00 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
British Museum Curator Irving Finkel introduces the world of ancient Mesopotamia – the 'land between the two rivers' (the Tigris and the Euphrates), now part of modern Iraq.
Irving explores what Mesopotamia is, what we should look for and why it matters. This talk is the first in a new series giving you a beginner's introduction to themes and cultures across world history.
Friday 24 February 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
In M, The Big Heat and Dr Mabuse movies, Fritz Lang memorably conjures up three crime worlds: those of the psychopath killer, the mobster and the evil mastermind. But to Lang, the 'life of crime' seems to be a sort of pun. Michael Wood, professor of comparative literature at Princeton, and author of books on Hitchcock, Nabokov, Yeats and Buñuel, explores how lively crime can be, and how cinema contributes to that effect.
In collaboration with the London Review of Books Information: lrb.co.uk/winterlectures
Friday 28 April 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge, discusses the ongoing internationally significant new discoveries being made at the site of a 3000-year-old settlement, dubbed the 'Peterborough Pompeii', at Must Farm, in East Anglia.
This lecture presents an update of the discoveries made in the past year, since Knight's March 2016 lecture at the British Museum.
Thursday 9 March 2017, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
A lecture by Rupert Chapman, formerly British Museum.
The biblical account tells us that in the early 9th century BC Omri, King of Israel, bought land on which to found a new capital for his new kingdom. Archaeology has revealed that this hill had previously been used for agriculture, including probably the growing of grapes and olives. Two major excavations have been carried out on the site, involving the two most noted field archaeologists and stratigraphic analysts who have ever worked in the Levant, George Andrew Reisner and Kathleen Mary Kenyon. Their work has produced a wealth of evidence about what is one of the most important archaeological sites in the southern Levant, making it the most extensively excavated royal centre of any period in the region, yet in many respects it is still one of the least known sites.
In this talk, Rupert Chapman will introduce the site, beginning with the construction of the great royal compound, which included the palace itself and an enormous parade ground, and examine the expansion of the great platform on which the palace stood, which took place shortly after the initial construction, looking at why that expansion was necessary. He will then examine the palace itself, with the first attempted reconstruction of what it looked like, and finish by looking at the evidence for the life of the building, when it was finally destroyed, and why. Lecture organised jointly by the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Anglo-Israel Archaeology Society.
Friday 3 February 2017, 18.00 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
A lecture by Dr Ridha Moumni, Curator, Institut de Recherches sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC-Tunis), presented with the Embassy of Tunisia in London. In the 19th century, the first collections of antiquities were established in Tunisia. 50 years after Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt had ignited interest in the remains of northern Africa and the Middle East, ancient Carthage became a major field of competition between European archaeologists. International traders, diplomats and scholars acquired most of the archaeological material then available from the site. Important Punic and Roman discoveries enriched the collections of the Louvre and the British Museum. During these years, the foreigners’ hunt for prized objects awakened a taste for antiquities also in the local ruling class, who became ever more aware of the significance and prestige of their ancient cultural heritage. The lecture will be followed by a reception, thanks to the generous support of the Tunisian Embassy.
Thursday 23 February 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free,booking required
Hilary Williams, British Museum, discusses a gilded age in the history of connoisseurship. The Wallace Collection, amassed by Sir Richard and Lady Wallace, opened as a public institution in 1897. Shortly after, it was visited by the American Henry Clay Frick. He was inspired to create another such collection of quality, The Frick Collection, New York, using the good services and inside knowledge of the Wallaces' Private Secretary and Trustee Sir John Murray Scott. Fascinating connections and connoisseurship of this era link with the Rothschild property at Waddesdon Manor, the Sackvilles of Knole, American banker and art collector J P Morgan, art historian Bernard Berenson and influential art dealer Lord Duveen, who funded the British Museum gallery in which the Parthenon sculptures are displayed.
Friday 17 March 2017, 18.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £2
Author, art historian and presenter of acclaimed 2008 television series The American Future: A History Simon Schama discusses the remarkable prints presented in the exhibition and the astonishing cultural, artistic and political trajectory they chart.
Presented in collaboration with the British Academy and FT Weekend.
Thursday 20 April 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Sue Brunning, Curator of Early Medieval European Collections at the British Museum, presents a close-up view of the marvellous metalwork from Sutton Hoo, revealing its most intricate secrets in high definition.
Thursday 2 February 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking required
Richard Hobbs, British Museum, will present new research on the Mildenhall Treasure, one of the Museum's most iconic groups of objects. After the lecture, he will be signing copies of his new book The Mildenhall Treasure: Late Roman Silver Plate from East Anglia.
Friday 17 February 2017, 18.00-19.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
In this lecture, using evidence from Pompeii, Professor Mario Torelli, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, will show how the funding of public works secured advancement in the ancient world.
Success in high public office in the Roman world was often achieved through the funding of public works. In return benefactors received a variety of special honours and distinctions, including honorary statues, and ultimately grand funerals and elaborate tombs.
In the late Republican and early imperial periods, prior to the centralisation of executive and fiscal powers in the emperor, finance to build temples and other public works was raised through donations from members of the senatorial aristocracy in Rome and by the wealthy elite in the rest of Italy and in the provinces. These donations could secure the prestige and electoral success essential for the ruling classes to secure high public office.
Thursday 6 April 2017, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
A lecture by James Fraser, Project Curator for the Ancient Levant at the British Museum. Megalithic dolmen tombs are some of the most striking features in the archaeological landscape of the southern Levant. Yet their visibility has made them an easy target for tomb robbers over the last 5,000 years. Consequently, archaeologists have struggled to place these mysterious monuments into their true cultural contexts. This lecture presents the results of recent fieldwork investigating a dolmen cemetery in Jordan. This fieldwork underscores a new theory that proposes that highly visible dolmen tombs helped reconfigure the ways in which people engaged with the landscape in the 4th millennium BC, a time when the region’s earliest civilisations developed a new urban way of life.
Thursday 30 March 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Deciphering Latin inscriptions is fun and rewarding and does not always require a prior knowledge of the language.
Most are easy to puzzle out because they are extremely formulaic, using a standardised system of abbreviations that ensured Romans from all areas of the empire could understand them.
Drawing on examples from the British Museum’s wide collection, curator Dirk Booms will explain the conventions, demystify the grammar and introduce the key vocabulary, taking you step by step through each inscription. Letters and symbols reveal the achievements of emperors, the career path of officials, the comradeship of soldiers, the devastation at the death of a loved one – Roman lives, minds and hearts.
Friday 24 March 2017, 18.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Playwright and novelist Bonnie Greer and Sarah Churchwell, Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow, IES, at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, reflect on social and racial divisions in America, both current and historical. They explore how artists and writers have responded to these experiences, and what 'the American Dream' has meant to communities across the country.
Friday 3 March 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and author of SPQR, The Parthenon, and Pompeii, looks at the image and reality of women in power, from the myth of matriarchy to Theresa May. What has been so ‘funny’ about the idea of women being in charge? What does ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ really mean?
In collaboration with the London Review of Books Information: lrb.co.uk/winterlectures