Public Lectures

About Our Public Lecture Series

We launched our public lecture series in 2012 as a way to share the work of the Society and the work of Fellows of the Society with the public. Past lectures have focused on conservation, research or scholarship undertaken by our Fellows, projects supported by the Society's conservation and research grant awards, people or objects connected to the Society's collections at Burlington House (London) or Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire) and material cultural heritage at large.

This lecture series is a key part of our public outreach. It also provides visitors the opportunity to explore the ground floor of our Burlington House apartments, which are not generally open. There, a large selection of our paintings are on display with a sample of museum objects like the processional cross found on Bosworth Field.

Unless stated otherwise, lectures take place at Burlington House, London, on Tuesday afternoons (13.00–14.00, doors open at 12.30). Lectures are free and open to the public, but space is limited and advanced registration is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Reserve Your Seat:

To reserve a seat online, click on the lecture title listed below. You can also reserve seats by emailing or calling 020 7479 7080.

Public Lectures 2017–2018

Consider joining us for a tour of our historic Burlington House apartments before the lecture. Tours are £10.00 per person and include tea and coffee upon arrival, and a tour (1.5 hours) led by a qualified guide.

16 May - 'The Vulliamy Clockmakers: Two Clocks in the Antiquaries’ Collection', by Fellows Jonathan Betts, MBE FSA, and Roger Smith, FSA.

Consider joining us for a tour of our historic Burlington House apartments before the lecture. Tours are £10.00 per person and include tea and coffee upon arrival, and a tour (1.5 hours) led by a qualified guide.

6 June - 'The Library of Saint Thomas Becket', by Christopher de Hamel, FSA.

Consider joining us for a tour of our historic Burlington House apartments before the lecture. Tours are £10.00 per person and include tea and coffee upon arrival, and a tour (1.5 hours) led by a qualified guide.

4 July - 'Shakespeare and the Character of Kingship', (film screening). We will be showing a recording of the live performance by Simon Russell Beale CBE earlier this year, who delivered dramatic readings of extracts from Shakespeare's history plays related to the historic figures portrayed in the Society's collections of medieval and Tudor paintings.

Past Public Lectures

2017-18 Public Lectures

25 April - 'Hands Across Time: Medieval Fingerprints on Wax Seals', by Dr Elizabeth New, FSA, and Prof Philippa Hoskin, FSA.

2016-17 Public Lectures

23 August - 'Armour and the Afterlife: Knightly Effigies in England and Wales', by Dr Tobias Capwell, FSA

20 September - 'A Copy of a Copy: Leek's Replica of the Bayeux Tapestry', by Dr Brenda King, Chair of the Textile Society.

18 October - 'The Relics of Battle Abbey', by Dr Michael Carter, FSA (English Heritage).

22 November - 'Motherboards and Motherloads: The Evolving Excavation of the Digital Age', by Dr Christine Finn, FSA.

31 January - 'From the Dungheap to the Stars: The History of Early Gunpowder', by Kay Smith, FSA.

14 February- 'Revealing Verulaneum: Community Heritage, Geophysics and the Archaeology of a Roman Town', by Dr Kris Lockyear, FSA, and Dr Ellen Shlasko.

21 March - 'Faking King Arthur in the Middle Ages', by Dr Richard Barber, FSA.

 2015–16 Public Lectures

22 September - 'The Dublin King: What Really Happend to the "Princes in the Tower"', by John Ashdown-Hill, FSA

27 October - 'Agincourt: The Battle, Myth and Memory', by Anne Curry, FSA

24 November - 'Folk Carols of England', by Yvette Staelens, FSA

19 January - 'The Waddesdon Bequest at the British Museum, A New Look', by Dora Thornton, FSA, and Curator of the Waddesdon Bequest (British Museum), and Tom Fotheringham, Project Architect (Stanton Williams)

23 February - 'The Camera and the King: Photographing the Excavation of Tutankhamun's Tomb', by Christina Riggs, FSA

22 March - 'Denim: Fashion's Frontier', by Emma McClendon, a Janet Arnold Award recipient

26 April - 'Royal Gold and Royal Rubbish: Metal-Detecting and the Anglo-Saxon Palace at Rendlesham, Suffolk', by Christopher Scull, FSA

31 May - 'Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79: Reassessing the Medieval Monastery', by Prof Roberta Gilchrist, FSA

Magna Carta Anniversary Lecture Series (2015)

26 May - The Context of Magna Carta, by Stephen Church, FSA, Professor of Medieval History (University of East Anglia)

2 June - Henry III and Magna Carta 1225, by David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History (King's College London)

9 June - Magna Carta in its European Context, by Susan Reynolds, Emerita Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall Oxford and Hon Fellow of the IHR (no recording available)

16 June - Magna Carta in the 17th Century, by Justin Champion, BA, MA, PhD (Cantab), FRHistS, FRSA, President of Historical Association, Director of Magna Carta 2015 Legacy, Professor of History (Royal Holloway College)

23 June - Due to illness, Linda Colley's lecture 'Magna Carta and the American Constitution' was replaced by a lecture from Stephen Church, FSA, entitled 'Cleaning Up King John's Image: The History of John's Effigy at Worcester'

30 June - Modern Constitutionalism and the Myths of Magna Carta, by Vernon Bogdanor, Research Professor (Institute for Contemporary British History, King's College London)

This six-week public lecture series celebrated the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta. The lecture series took place during the first six weeks of our anniversary exhibition, Magna Carta Through the Ages. The lectures and the exhibition were generously supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Headley Trust, the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee.


More Exhibition Information >


 2014–2015 Public Lectures

9 September - Richard III: the Resolution of a Mystery, by Dr Turi King (no recording available)

28 October - Found in Translation: Mackintosh, Muthesius and Japan, by Neil Jackson, FSA

4 November - Silent Voices from the Lord’s pavilion (MCC), by Howard Hanley, FSA

2 December - Building and Rebuilding Castell Henllys Hillfort, by Harold Mytum, FSA

13 January - Maya Art and Maya Kingship, by Norman Hammond, FSA

10 February - Monuments of the Incas, by John Hemming, FSA (no recording available)

10 March - Stitches in Time: Recreating Captain Cook's Waistcoat, by Alison Liz Larkin, a Janet Arnold Award recipient

21 April - Electrifying Brunel’s Great Western Railway: the UK’s Historic Infrastructure in the 21st Century, by William Filmer-Sankey, FSA

 2013–2014 Public Lectures

22 October - 'Underground: How the Tube Shaped London', by  Sam Mullins, FSA (Director of the London Transport Museum)

03 December - 'Spitfires and Pagodas: Conflict Archaeology in Burma 2013', by Martin Brown, FSA

28 January - 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: the Medical History of Henry VIII', by Robert Hutchinson, FSA

07 February - 'Medieval Graffiti: teh Hidden History of the Parish Church', by Matthew Champion

03 March - 'Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal in Hastings', by Peter Marsden, FSA, and Jenny Ridd

15 April - 'Tales From the Thames: Community Archaeology on London's River', by Nathalie Cohen, FSA

27 May - 'Historical Dress: a Project Inspired by Janet Arnold', by Nancy Hills, a Janet Arnold Award recipient

17 June - 'The Cradle of Stonehenge? Major Mesolithic Homebase Discovered Near Stonehenge', by David Jacques, FSA (no recording available)

 2012–2013 Public Lectures

18 September - 'Archaeology as Rehabilitation', by Richard Osgood, FSA

23 October - 'Celebrating May Morris: Textile Artist and Editor of William Morris', by Jan Marsh

05 February - 'Great With Child: Tudor and Jacobean Pregnancy Portraits', by Karen Hearn, FSA (no recording available)

5 March - 'Reading Medieval Child Monuments', Sophie Oosterwijk, FSA

20 May - 'Historical Archaeology on Mauritius: Colonial Insights from the Indian Ocean World', by Krish Seetah, FSA