Current talks with a focus on Art and History

Every Picture Tells a Story

Insights are sought into life in nineteenth century Britain as seen through Victorian narrative art. The period before the advent of photography has been described as the golden age of narrative art. Themes include Home Sweet Home, Faith, Women, Death, Childhood, Poverty and ‘Victorians on the move.’

Art of Derbyshire

We delve into an eclectic mix of art associated with Derbyshire, telling stories of this fine county. The art is explored through the themes of Water, Work and Industry, Landscape, Faith, Flowers and War, as well as showing how the Peak District has been marketed in the past. The talk poses the question- what would you choose?

Art of the Garden

(One Hundred Years of Gardens in British Art c 1850-1950)


Gardens have proved to be a rich source of inspiration for artists. This illustrated talk is a celebration and appreciation of paintings of British gardens in the Victorian age and first half of the 20th century. We will explore symbolism within the paintings and issues relating to society, culture and style.

                                                Art of Flowers

Flowers accompany us in every major event in life–birth, marriage, holidays, graduations, illness, and finally death. Since antiquity, flowers have been associated with symbolic meaning. This illustrated talk is an appreciation of flowers in art whilst exploring symbolism, meanings and the language of flowers.

Art and World War 1


In the Great War (1914-1918), ‘the war to end all wars’, empires vanished, thrones toppled and societies crumbled. To this day, WW1 still has a profound emotional impact. What did British artists of the time make of these world shattering experiences? We will look at some of the most powerful paintings created that relate to the war and feature artists such as Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer.


                      The Golden Age of Illustrated Children’s Books and Nursery Rhymes


The late Victorian period and early twentieth century is regarded as the ‘Golden Age of Children’s Picture Books’. There were the exquisite designs of Walter Crane, rich in colour and detail; the humour and vitality of Randolph Caldecott, known as the ‘King of the Nursery’; and the tenderness and grace of Kate Greenaway’s enchanted land of childhood. As we explore their art, we will also endeavour to make sense of nursery rhymes and their origins.

Art of the Christmas Card

(One Hundred Years of the Christmas Card c.1840s-1940s)


The first Christmas Card appeared in Britain in the 1840s. By the 1880s following the invention of the chromolithographic process and developments within the postal system, millions were being exchanged each year. We will explore their art and changes in styles through to the Edwardian Age, WW1, inter-war period and up to WW11.


The full list of talks and tours for Breathing Life into History can be found on the website


Danny Wells.

Breathing Life into History

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