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DateLecture
18 February 2020Royal Jewels & the American Heiress: Antique Treasures for the New World
21 January 2020The Wind in the Willows Revisited through its illustrators
19 November 2019Edward Lear: Landscape Painter and Poet
15 October 2019Paul Nash: A War Artist Even in Times of Peace?
17 September 2019Iran: Land of Great Kings, Shahs and Ayatollahs
16 July 2019The Beatles and their Artists
18 June 2019Zaha Hadid - Architectural Superstar
21 May 2019Thomas Moran 1837-1926, the Turner of the American West
16 April 201917th Century Cabinets and Dolls Houses in the Netherlands
19 March 2019Food and Art through the Ages
19 February 2019Behind the Walls - Creativity, Visions & Horrors in Renaissance Italian Convents
15 January 2019Shaken by an Earthquake - Igor Stravinsky, the Ballets Russes and the astonishing 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring
20 November 2018The Wry Observer - E. F. Benson and the Mapp & Lucia Novels
16 October 2018Natural history collections, what are they used for?
18 September 2018From Garbo to Garland - the magical art of Hollywood
17 July 2018Members only 50th Anniversary Celebration lecture and lunch MUSIC ON THE GRAND TOUR
19 June 2018Wedgwood, Catherine the Great and the Frog Service
15 May 2018Art & Revolution: Russian Culture in the 20th Century
17 April 2018Why did Laura Knight become so famous?
20 March 2018Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture
20 February 2018Cannibalism in Art
16 January 2018Artist Studio Houses in the late 19th Century
21 November 2017The Young Picasso: What really happened in the Bateau Lavoir?
17 October 2017Beautiful Brutalism - the amazing architecture of the 1960s
19 September 2017The Taj Mahal: its architecture, origins, construction, interiors and surroundings
18 July 2017An English Noah's Ark - Animals in Art and Architecture
20 June 2017Jan Steen, the 17th Century Dutch painter and Story teller
16 May 2017Designing Historical Costumes for Film and TV
18 April 2017What has glass done for us? The impact of glass on everyday lives
21 March 2017Captain Cook's Third and Final Voyage.
21 February 2017Benin Bronzes
17 January 2017Treasures of the Turf - the fine and decorative Art of Horseracing
15 November 2016From Palladio to Capability Brown
18 October 2016The Age of Chivalry and the Eglinton Tournament
20 September 2016Alphonse Mucha - Pursuit of Dreams
19 July 2016The Punch and Judy Show (A Subversive Symbol from Commedia Dell’Arte to the Present Day)
16 July 2016Designing Historical Costumes for Film and TV
06 July 2016What has Glass done for us? The Impact of Glass on everyday lives
21 June 2016The Development of the Drinking Glass
17 May 2016The Magical Art of Camouflage
19 April 2016The Day Parliament Burnt Down
15 March 2016A Child of six could do it! Cartoonists and Modern Art
16 February 2016Temples, Tombs and Treasures: In Search of the Queen of Sheba
19 January 2016Suffolk Churches and St. Edmund
17 November 2015Grandfather Frost and Old New Year: Russian Christmas
20 October 2015Prague - The City of the Winter Queen
15 September 2015The Art of London - A Pictorial Tour of London's Street Art and Statues that both charm and amuse
23 July 2015Fab Photographs from the Swinging Sixties
16 June 2015Mrs Beeton Presents: The art of the table
19 May 2015Wassily Kandinsky
21 April 2015Laura Ashley; an exploration of her life and influence
17 March 2015Things that go bump in the night: Why Medieval Buildings Fall Down
17 February 2015The Thames - The Theatre of Pageantry and Pleasure
20 January 2015Contemporary Silver of the 20th/21st century
18 November 2014Gems for Life: From frozen forests to reindeer
21 October 2014Jewel of the Crown: The Sainte-Chapelle in Paris
16 September 2014Summer in February: The Newlyn School
17 June 2014The Cult of the South Pacific
20 May 2014Mr 5%, The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon
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18 March 2014Bath, a world heritage centre
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21 January 2014Textile Conservation: Sticky tape, Moths and Men
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15 October 2013Impressionists in their Gardens – Living life and colour
17 September 2013The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures
18 June 2013The Shakers: Their Beliefs, Architecture and Artifacts
21 May 2013Beneath the City Streets: London's Unseen History
16 April 2013Sculpture and the Landscape: a journey round sculpture parks in Britain
19 March 2013Blenheim Palace: the Agony and the Ecstasy
19 February 2013Transport of Delight: the Art of the Travel Poster of the 1930s
15 January 2013Pomp and Circumstance: Royal Ceremonies from Coronations to Jubilees
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18 September 2012St Pancras and Friends
19 June 2012AGM and LECTURE Pissarro and his Family in England
15 May 2012A Feast for the Eyes: The Frick Collection, New York
17 April 2012The Great Twelve: London's senior livery companies of the City of London
20 March 2012What the Dickens?: An illustrated talk on Charles Dickens - his life and times
21 February 2012Photography as fine art
17 January 2012Verdi and Victoria: National icons
15 November 2011Underwater Archaeology: The Story of HMS Colossus
18 October 2011Cooking for Kings: The life and career of Antonin Carame, the first celebrity chef!
20 September 2011People, pictures and possessions at the court of the Sun King

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Royal Jewels & the American Heiress: Antique Treasures for the New World Andrew Prince. Tuesday 18 February 2020

In this talk Andrew shows that with the turbulent political times between 1870 and 1929 culminating with final collapse of the European and Russian Monarchies, countless astonishing art and jewel collections were dispersed looted or sold.

Fortunately this coincided with the growing wealth and power of America’s millionaires, who were themselves intent on creating palaces of their own, filling them with the greatest paintings and furniture and weighing down their wives and providing their daughters with a dowry of the finest of royal jewels.

Andrew explains how many of these fabulously wealthy heiresses married into the British Aristocracy, bringing many of the treasures with them, and how with the decline of the British Empire and Aristocratic power these legendary jewels have again been parted with and now can be seen in the world's great museums, for all to enjoy.


Andrew Prince

Andrew has had a passion for jewellery since he was a small child. In fact his enthusiasm can be traced back to the time when, at the age of three, he swallowed his one of his mother’s pearl earrings having found her jewel box hidden from him in a cupboard. The very first piece of jewellery he created was a ring made of copper wire pulled from the back of a television. He presented it to his grandmother (it turned her finger green and gave her a rash). He then created a necklace for his mother using beads taken off her wedding dress (she was not at all happy).

In 1980, when he was nine, Andrew's mother took him to the Princely Magnificence exhibition at the V&A, exhibiting Renaissance jewels dating from 1500 to 1630. It proved a revelation. Dazzled by the splendour and opulence of the jewels on show, Andrew decided then and there that creating jewellery was what he wanted to devote his life to. His passion for jewellery grew when, in 1984 on his first ever visit to Bond Street, Andrew viewed an exhibition by Castellani and Giulianoe at Wartski & Co’s. While there, he was allowed to handle beautiful 18th century gold boxes and magnificent imperial Russian pieces by Fabergé. In 1987, just before leaving school, he took time off to visit Geneva to view the astonishing Sotheby’s auction of the Duchess of Windsor's jewellery collection. Here, for the first time, he held pieces created by some of the world's greatest jewellers, fashioned from only the finest of stones and set in designs of outstanding quality. For the young Andrew, it was a life-changing experience.

In August of that year, two weeks after his 16th birthday, Andrew started work in London’s Bond Street, working for The Antiques Roadshow expert Ian Harris. Under his guidance, Andrew developed an appreciation for jewels that were valued for their quality of design and craftsmanship, rather than for how much the stones in the piece were worth. He then joined the renowned contemporary jeweller Elizabeth Gage and worked with her on the design and production side. Through her and her private collection, Andrew was able to see and handle rare and extraordinary stones with names such as Sphene, Andalusite, Spinel and Dioptase, many of which are far rarer than diamonds. Elizabeth Gage was to have an enormous influence on Andrew's sense of what was possible within the realm of jewellery design.

Andrew's taste for fine 'costume jewellery' can be traced back to an antique market, where he came across a late Victorian brooch set with what he initially thought were emeralds and diamonds. They were, in fact, crystal and green glass set in silver and gold. He realised that beautiful jewellery didn't require expensive stones, and that it was the elegance of the design and the quality of the workmanship that truly mattered. Private commissions then started to trickle in. The trickle turned into a flood, as celebrities such as Michael Jackson (a large crystal and pearl shoulder jewel) and Shirley Bassey (necklaces) were seen wearing Andrew's creations.

In 2002, the V&A commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the resplendent Tiaras, Past and Present exhibition which became one of their most popular exhibits. The exposure gained by the show then led to Andrew's jewellery appearing in film.

In 2005, he was asked to make tiaras and jewellery for Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench. In 2009, pieces were commissioned for The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson. In 2012, he was chosen by the creators of Downton Abbey to supply a large collection of jewellery for the third series. The characters played by Maggie Smith, Shirley Maclaine, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery were all adorned with elegant tiaras, combs, earrings and necklaces designed and created by Andrew Prince.