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DateLecture
19 June 2019A HISTORY OF THE MEDICI: Bankrolling the Renaissance
15 May 2019WONDER WORKERS & THE ART OF ILLUSION
17 April 2019A TOUR OF BIG BEN
20 March 2019PIERRE BONNARD: Painting with Light
20 February 2019THE GOLDEN AGE OF VENETIAN GLASS
16 January 2019THOMAS HARDY'S 'TRAMPSWOMAN'S TRAGEDY'
12 December 2018THE NUTCRACKER BALLET - The Kingdom of Sweets
21 November 2018THE BRITISH LANDSCAPE TRADITION: Thomas Gainsborough to Richard Long
17 October 2018THE WALLS OF LUCCA
19 September 2018THE EDWARDIAN HOME
20 June 2018BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS: HEROIC, GROTESQUE & RENAISSANCE COSTUME ARMOUR
16 May 2018THE ASHCAN SCHOOL OF PAINTING
18 April 2018EXETER CATHEDRAL AND THE EXETER BOOK
21 March 2018JOHN SINGER SARGENT: An American Abroad
21 February 2018THE PRE-RAPHAELITES: THEIR WORK AND THEIR WOMEN
17 January 2018TUDOR DOMESTIC SILVER
20 December 2017THE CAT & THE FIDDLE - MUSICAL HUMOUR
15 November 2017LYRICAL 'LA MORTELLA
18 October 2017Edward Barnsley & Ernest Gimson Cabinet Makers, and the work of the Edward Barnsley Trust
20 September 2017Design Inspirations: Mariano Fortuny
21 June 2017The Walkers and their 16th Century Maps of Essex
17 May 2017'From ' Phaetons to Phantoms' - Coachwork Design in the 19th & 20th Centuries
19 April 2017Vivaldi in Venice
15 March 2017Eric Ravilious - A Life in Pictures
15 February 2017The Glasgow Girls
18 January 2017'A mound of treasures from far countries was fetched aboard her': The Story of the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial (and the Staffordshire Hoard)
21 December 2016A Musical Celebration of the Christmas season
16 November 2016'Not bloody likely!' - The Marketing of Covent Garden, 1600-2000
15 June 2016Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler Painter of Military Scenes and Heroic Battles
18 May 2016The Fascinating World of Playing Cards
20 April 2016A Look at the Festival of Britain 1951
16 March 2016Road to Bali: From Javanese Temples to Balinese Dance
17 February 2016Arts & Crafts Houses and Gardens in Britain
20 January 2016Literary Venice - A British Love Affair
16 December 2015Persepolis and the Empires of Ancient Persia
18 November 2015Ideas and Theories of the Green Man in English Churches
21 October 2015The Glasgow Girls AGM at 2.00pm
16 September 2015The River Thames - Theatre of Pageantry and Pleasure
17 June 2015Greenery-Yallery Grosvenor Gallery:Victorian Art and Aestheticism
20 May 2015The Historical Use of Wallpaper in the British interior 1685 to the Present Day
15 April 2015The Punch & Judy Show: A subversive symbol from Commdia Dell’Arte to the present day
18 March 2015Dance: Morals, Manners & Class - A Social History from the Renaissance to the Romantic Era

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A HISTORY OF THE MEDICI: Bankrolling the Renaissance Douglas Skeggs Wednesday 19 June 2019

The Medici were in many ways an unattractive family.  Ruthless in pursuit of profit for their Florentine bank which had branches in every city of the known world, they were greedy for success, merciless to those who opposed their ambition and vicious in their own internal squabbles. And yet without them we wouldn’t have Botticelli’s 'Birth of Venus', the Fra Angelico frescoes in San Marco, Donatello’s 'David' or the majestic Michelangelo sculptures in the Medici Chapel.  The Platonic Academy would never have been founded and the doors for the Baptistry would never have been cast.

This lecture looks into the turbulent history of this extraordinary family. The triumphs and tragedies, the intrigues and plots; the assassination attempts, the years of exile and their perpetual desire to glorify the family name in works of art which was to result in some of the greatest achievements of the Italian Renaissance.


Douglas Skeggs read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980.  In that time he has given over 4000 lectures to universities,  colleges and art societies.  Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, M15 headquarters, the Captain’s Room at Lloyds and an aircraft hangar in a German NATO base.  Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain and has taken numerous tours around Europe. 

He has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on Whistler and the exhibition video on William Morris. Three one- man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland.  He has published five novels which have been translated into eight foreign languages and his book on Monet, ‘River of Light’, has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France.