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Christmas with Giles, Grandma and the Family
10th December 2024
Presented by Barry Venning


For a great many members of The Arts Society, the cartoonist Carl Giles was as much a part of the festive season as the Christmas tree, crackers and the Queen's Speech. So popular were the Giles annuals as Christmas presents that they helped to make him Britain's best loved, most successful and wealthiest cartoonist. The talk looks at Giles's life and work with a particular emphasis on his seasonal cartoons, particularly those featuring Grandma and the Giles family. They include some of his funniest cartoons but, as the art historian William Feaver pointed out, they also demonstrate that he had few equals when it came to representing Britain in Winter. 


Barry Venning is a historian of British Art with a particular interest in the work of J M W Turner, on whom he has published widely, including the volume on Turner in Phaidon’s Art & Ideas series and several catalogue essays for exhibitions in the UK, Germany, Italy and Poland. He was the BBC’s script consultant and expert commentator for a 2005 documentary on Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and has recently taken part (2013) in a BBC documentary called The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution. He has also published a study of John Constable’s paintings. His interests and his teaching extend from medieval architecture to contemporary British art. He is currently Associate Lecturer in the History of Art with the Open University and lecturing on a freelance basis for Nadfas, Christie’s Education and other organisations.  

A member of The Arts Society
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