Study Days and Focus courses

Julia Musgrave has provided study days for colleges, and private art societies. Please get in touch if you have a  lecture requirement not listed below.

Hogarth Marriage_A-la-Mode_2

Focus on: Hogarth

William Hogarth is best known for his series of paintings of ‘modern moral subjects’, of which he sold engravings on subscription. In works such as ‘Marriage A-la-Mode‘, a -series of six pictures that satirize upper class 18th century society while warning of the disastrous results of marrying for money.
Hogarth used humour as a means to lampoon the more pretentious aspects of his own society while making a plea for better behaviour. Les well known are his history paintings, his aesthetic theories published in 1753 as the ‘Analysis of Beauty’, his work for charity and his portraiture.
In this one-day course we look at all these aspects of Hogarth’s career and look at how his work reflects the society of the eighteenth-century London in which he lived and worked.


Focus on: Van Gogh

The story of Van Gogh’s life and the emotional response that his art engenders have made him one of the most celebrated artists in history. His innovative approach and experimentation with different styles and subject matter over his short but highly productive career created pieces that significantly advanced modernist art.
This one-day course will study the ways in which Van Gogh’s art engaged with tradition as well as with his contemporary artists and influences, creating works that inspired the future avant-garde.

Tintoretto Annunciation

Think like an artist: In 16th century Venice

In this one-day course we look at the art of Venice in the 16th century. We look at the legacy of Giovanni Bellini, his students Giorgione and Titian; and the generation of artists that took over from them, in particular Tintoretto and Veronese.
We consider how the politics and architecture of Venice impacted the commissions that artists produced, looking at works commissioned by the Venetian ‘scuole’, leading families and the Church. We look at the impact of the Venetian printing and fabric trades on design and consider how Venice’s trading empire gave artists access to materials that were harder to source elsewhere.

Running over three Zoom sessions in autumn 2022: click here for more details

Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl 1864 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1834-1903

Focus on: James McNeill Whistler

In this one-day course we explore the life and work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). An American artist in London, he was a leading proponent of the idea of “art for art’s sake”. He signed his paintings with stylized monogram of a butterfly with a long stinger for a tail – as much a symbol of his love of Japanese art as his assertive and sometimes combative nature.
Having lived and worked with the Paris avant-garde he settled in London in 1859 having created a distinctive post-impressionist style at a time when many of his British contemporaries had yet to come to terms with Impressionism. Inspired, influential, and infuriating, his art was full of subtle delicacy, he had a wide social network of friends and family and yet, if crossed could be a formidable opponent. Whistler influenced the art world and the broader culture of his time through his artistic theories and his cross-channel friendships with leading artists and writers. His ideas and work encompass painting, printmaking, writing, curating and the decorative arts.


Focus on: Bosch

Can knowledge of the society in which Hieronymus Bosch lived and worked help us understand his bizarre paintings?  Was he suffering from mental illness or merely using visual metaphors we can no longer understand?
In Bosch’s lifetime, Western Europe was in a near continuous state of religious upheaval, intense intellectual activity, and technical innovation – the rise of printmaking in the fifteenth century was one of the big changes. There were also repeated outbreaks of plague. By the sixteenth century, humanist ideas from Italy – with its renewed interest in classical scholarship – took root in the rest of Europe, and were promoted at centres of learning such as the University of Wittenberg where, in 1517, Martin Luther set in motion the events leading to the Protestant Reformation.

Relatively little is known of Hieronymus Bosch’s life or his training. In this study day we will look at the religious, political and philosophical background to this artist’s paintings such as The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Haywain in order to see whether a better understanding of the background to their creation and viewing changes how we can read them now.

Dali Atomicus

Focus on: Salvador Dali

“…my audience mustn’t know whether I’m spoofing or being serious; and likewise,I mustn’t know either.” – Dalí
In this one-day course we look at the rich and varied career of one of the 20th century’s most prolific talents – the creative and flamboyant Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. We follow his development from his Catalonian origins via Paris to America and back again. We look at the recurring themes in his work, not only in his painting but also in film and design; and at contemporary and later responses to his work.
we will be looking at Dalí’s place in the history of Surrealism, the symbolism in his paintings and his later work – which is unfamiliar to many.

Lill Tschudi BM

Focus on: British printmaking in the late 19th and early 20th century

In this study day we discover the work of the significant artist-printmakers who worked in Britain from the late 19th century through to the Interwar period: the printmaking processes they used, and the ways they variously responded to tradition and modernity. We track printmaking in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century till the 1930s, discovering some of the techniques, styles, personalities and social networks that produced some of the period’s most memorable images. Artists discussed include: James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Leon Underwood, Gertrude Hermes, Claude Flight, Sybil Andrews, Graham Sutherland and Eric Ravilious. Runnng Feb 2023 at City Lit – for details click here.