Society’s dazzling lecture on the life of Mackintosh

The lecture explored Charles Rennie Mackintoshs life
The lecture explored Charles Rennie Mackintoshs life

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WE did not know what to expect for the Portsea Island Decorative and Fine Arts Society (PIDFAS) lecture in June.

It was rather dauntingly entitled War and Peace – Patriotism and Progress, and was given by Sarah Stoppard, a guide and lecturer at both the Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

We emerged an hour later thoroughly shaken and stirred in true James Bond manner.

Sarah took us through illustrations of war in British art, starting from examples at the time of the Napoleonic wars where faces were individually recognizable.

Though bloodshed was not minimised, heroism was always emphasised.

This was a bleak contrast with the desolate empty landscapes of Paul Nash or the dehumanised robotic soldiers in the work of Nevinson and Mark Gertler.

We were riveted.

A large group of us enjoyed a glorious visit to Great Chalfield Manor and on to Laycock on the first really warm day of June.

These summer visits are always part of our PIDFAS year.

Wine before the lecture has now become a standard feature, but we celebrated this summer with strawberry Pimms at our July 11 meeting.

Anthea Streeter, who had given us a memorable study day on the history of the Bauhaus in the past, returned with a dazzlingly illustrated lecture on the architecture, furniture and revolutionary interior designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Though immediately recognizable nowadays for his ladderback chairs and for the iconic Glasgow School of Art building, Anthea showed us that Mackintosh’s work was far broader in its scope and international influence than was realised during his life.

Such was his lack of recognition, that he lost heart and descended into alcoholism before his comparatively early death in 1928.

But in those last years he left a legacy of exquisite watercolours of landscape and flower studies that are only just becoming known today.

We now have a summer break until October 10 when Naomi Motley will look at the neoclassical movement in Regency England.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month over a glass of wine from around 6pm on the first floor of the University of Portsmouth, Eldon Building, off Winston Churchill Avenue, before going into the lecture which starts promptly at 7pm.

For more information please give me a call (023) 9282 0317 or go to pidfas.org.uk.