This winter, our world-class London museums and galleries offer life-enhancing exhibitions provocative enough to divert us from the anxieties and discomforts of our everyday lives in the age of Covid. We hope you will join us via our Inscape Zoom sessions as we ‘visit’ the following special exhibits:

‘Peru: A Journey in Time’ at the British Museum transports us to one of the most ancient civilisations in the world – stretching back to the tenth millennium BC – only to be invaded and conquered by the Europeans in the 16c, and their culture all but destroyed. The exhibition features extraordinary objects from the BM’s vast collection, including pottery, gold, silver and other precious metals, complex textiles, and ritual paraphernalia as well as remarkable pieces borrowed from public and private collections in Peru itself. An appreciation of the artistic accommodations and prowess of ancient Andean cultures illumines this major show.

The World of Stonehenge, also at the BM, brings welcome clarity to the rather speculative ‘story’ of Stonehenge that has been possible until now. This first major exhibition of its kind in the UK seeks to reveal that the Britain and Ireland of 4000 years ago were places of transformative activity complete with big ideas, vital commerce, and travel. Stunning recent archaeological and scientific discoveries have revealed Stonehenge to be but part of a mighty Bronze Age scheme of erecting astonishing monuments in various locations. This special exhibition adds more than interesting questions about matters we have been endeavoring to understand about its purpose, cultural power and the people who created it.

The National Gallery asks its visitors to take a completely new look at the international connections made by Durer, whether as he familiarised himself with exotic animals in Antwerp or with Mexican artefacts in Brussels, or while crossing the Alps to Venice. Leaving his mark wherever he landed, he charted his journeys. The exhibition will explore how Dürer’s travels fuelled his curiosity and creativity, sparked a rich exchange of ideas with his counterpart Netherlandish and Italian Renaissance artist colleagues, thereby increasing his fame and influence all across Europe.

Leaping forward in English culture to those who actually gave Englishness much of its meaning, we ask why Gainsborough’s ‘Blue Boy’ should have become the most famous of all his pictures 100 years after his death. When painted in 1770 it was a brilliant rebuttal to his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds’ injunction that blues should always be reserved for conveying distance in a painting. We ask ourselves what is it about the painting that has so captured the imagination of British and American spectators alike.

A bit later, yet another career was built on a rebuttal when Constable deliberately chose various shades of green for his palette to counter the Royal Academy premise that the foreground of landscapes should be ‘brown, …”as brown as an old Cremona fiddle’. This exhibition at Royal Academy seeks to once and for all dispense with the idea that Constable should be seen as a rather dull establishment figure by instead focussing on his brilliant, highly emotional and expressionistic late period.

Meanwhile, Tate Britain is revealing an intriguing backstory to the work of Hogarth. Too often his work has been seen as merely anecdotal exercises, stories in paint. This show, however, reveals that he had a distinct agenda, one in which he strove to establish a native style of painting utterly at odds with his Continental counterparts. It would seem that he achieved his goal!

Although there are too few exhibitions devoted to women artists this winter, the Royal Academy is devoting its stunning rooms to the work of Jo Hiffernan- artist, muse, lover and model to proto-modern artists Courbet and Whistler. Her stunning red-haired beauty inspired Whistler to create an entire series of paintings of women dressed in white on the theme of ‘Symphonies in White.’ His approach transformed British portrait painting for a generation.

However you prefer to ‘visit’ these exemplary exhibitions – in person, with us virtually while tucked into your favourite armchair, or by both means- these exhibitions will undoubtedly transport you beyond the weight of the quotidian into the rare air of beauty if not into the sublime.

Booking Information:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

This course, taught by Nicholas Friend, Director of Inscape, begins on Tuesday 18 January 2022 at 11 am, repeating on Thursdays at 4 pm, and ends on Thursday 3 March 2022.

You may choose to attend all Tuesdays or all Thursdays, or any mixture of these, subject to availability. You may also choose to attend individual sessions. If you would like to attend but cannot manage a particular date, then we will be sending recordings of every session to all participants. Each session meets from 20 minutes before the advertised time of the lecture, and each lecture lasts roughly one hour, with around 15 minutes discussion.

Cost: £250 members or £300 non-members for the course of 7 sessions or £45 members or £55 non-members per individual session. All sessions are limited to 23 participants to permit discussion.

Due to the coronavirus cheques are not a viable option at this time. Instead, please make your payment to Friend&Friend Ltd by bank transfer to our account with Metrobank, bank sort code 23-05-80, account number 13291721 or via PayPal to, or credit/debit card by phone to Henrietta on 07940 719397. She is available Tuesdays 10-12 and 2 – 3 pm or Thursdays 2-4 pm.

How to Set Up a PayPal account::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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How to Connect your Bank Account to your PayPal account:::::::::::::::::::::::

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How to Send Money::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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