Discovering our fascinating art history

MUSIC FAN Diana Swann
MUSIC FAN Diana Swann

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Diana Swann, chairwoman of Portsmouth’s University of the Third Age (U3A) talks about recent lectures and an upcoming event

Guy Rooker talked to us about the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Guy gave us a wonderful picture of how Leonardo’s eclectic genius absorbed scientific knowledge, gained from dissection of corpses.

His knowledge of the structure of the human body added beauty, strength and conviction to his greatest works.

Guy is a lecturer with the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (Nadfas), and like many of his colleages, his depth of knowledge was presented with such a light touch that we were unaware until afterwards of how much information we had retained.

We managed to deal promptly with Pidfas elections and general business at our annual meeting.

At this meeting we also had a talk on the masterpieces of medieval Westminster by distinguished archivist and parliamentary historian Dr Caroline Shenton.

None of us had realised how ancient and well-established the Westminster site was before it was practically destroyed by fire in 1834.

The Westminster we know today was subsequently designed and built by Barry and Pugin in the neo-Gothic style.

We were shown rare sketches, wall-paintings and plans of sites from the time of William the Conqueror and realised how lucky we were that the great hammer-beamed roof of Westminster Hall was not fully destroyed by fire or the recent ravages of deathwatch beetle.

Again our lecturer impressed with her scholarship and easy fluency.

On December 8, we will have a lecture entitled The Threads of History – the World of the Bayeux Tapestry, led by Rupert Willoughly.

From 6pm coffee and tea will be served free with mince pies and stollen.

Guests will also be able to browse and buy for Christmas from the selling exhibition of papercraft artefacts and jewellery created by Helen Morris who will be happy to explain how she creates such enchanting and colourful objects.

As usual we hope you will be in your seats by 6.45pm for the 7pm lecture which is, as usual, at the Eldon Building in Winston Churchill Avenue, Southsea.

Visitor donations per lecture are £5, though many prefer to become subscribing members for £40. Do come and join us.

Ring me on (023) 9282 0317 for more details.