The History Guides Walks, talks and lectures
The History GuidesWalks, talks and lectures


Siobhan Elizabeth Clarke



Dress, Dazzle & Display 

Tudor Dress was used as a political, economic and social tool and laws were passed to regulate dress throughout society. Elizabeth I, decked out in a dazzling array of jewels and clothes, projected the ultimate image of royal power.

Fashion was anything but frivolous!


Hampton Court Pleasure Palace

The story of two palaces: a Tudor palace made majestic by Henry VIII and a Baroque palace built by William & Mary. It's buildings, grounds and artefacts express maginificence. Yet, dig a little deeper and you will find other hidden stories, covering 500 years of history, as you walk the corridors of royal power and pleasure.



The Crown & the Cradle: Royal Babies

Royal babies have always excited interest because the direction of a dynasty was being defined and the health and survival of the child would shape history.

This lecture explores the stories of some of these royal babies: the circumstances of their arrival, their nursery years and historical significance, from the Wars of the Roses to the present day.



Royal Christmas
Our Christmas rituals evolved from Christian liturgy, pagan rites and the influence of the monarchy. The German customs of the Victorian royal family became the basis of the English Christmas we know today.

This lecture explores Christmas at court from the middle ages to present day and how the royal family have influenced our own celebrations.


Majesty & Menace

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history since 1066, serving as a palace, an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie and the home of both the Royal Mint and Crown Jewels.

Under the Tudors, the Tower became known more as a high-profile prison and gained an enduring reputation as a place of torture and death.


The Jewel in the Lost Crown

The Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace was built for grand receptions & masques. This classical building was central to the Stuart dynasty and became famous as the scene of the execution of King Charles I.

The magnificent painted ceiling, by Peter Paul Rubens, is the only one in the world still in its original setting. 


Edward VI, The Boy King:

From childhood Edward coped well with the enormous pressures forced on him by his father, Henry VIII. He showed signs of becoming a strong ruler himself before he died, aged 15. He may have gone on to be one of the most influentional kings of England we never had.



The Art of Henry VIII

Henry was the first English king to collect art in the modern sense, even though his purpose was invariably to enhance his own glory.

He may with some justification be accounted the true founder of the Royal Collection and we can trace his life through his art.



Linda Collins


Paris 1850-1900: The most DECADENT city in the world!
The can-can girls, the cabaret, the expositions & the artists. Baudelaire urged Manet to become a flaneur. He told him that to be a truly Modern painter he needed to go out and paint the real heroes of modern life - the dispossessed who could no longer afford to live in the new, modernized Paris. This lecture covers a lot of art history - from classical academy painting to Picasso’s arrival at the squalid Bateau Lavoir in Montmartre. We look at the various paths art took during this time and where those paths led. It sums up the enormous energy & eccentricity in Paris during this period.



HEDONISTIC Paris: Life, Art and Culture in the Paris Jazz Age 1920/30
Paris between the wars was a mecca for artists. Paul Poiret designed dresses for the chicest Parisiennes, and Bourgeois mixed their most famous perfume - Evening in Paris. The art scene was dominated by Picasso, Fernand Leger and Salvador Dali. The music clubs were taken over by the New Jazz. Josephine Baker danced in her banana skirt and little else and singers such as Duke Ellington and Mistingett sang songs such as, 'je cherche un millionaire'. In the years between the wars Paris threw caution to the winds.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Saints & Angels, Devils and Demons and the just plain UGLY in Western Art.

This lecture looks at the good, the bad and the ugly in Western Art. How did Angels get their haloes? How to recognise Saints by their attributes, why does the devil come in so many guises? We then have fun in looking at some of the ugliest images in Western Art - who said art should be beautiful? Most images are taken from the National Gallery and a half or full study day on site can follow this lecture.

From Duccio to Cezanne - Masterpieces from the National Gallery

Unlike most national collections of art in Europe, the National Gallery in London has not acquired its works by absorbing a Royal Collection. It had to start from scratch and acquired pictures through other means. This lecture looks at a selection of works and the stories behind them. Working from early Italian pieces through to Impressionism, we can chart the changing demands made on artists over the years. Works include Mantegna's Cult of Cybele and Titian's colourful picture, Bacchus and Adriadne before moving on to Breughel, Canaletto, Jospeh Wright, Hogarth, Renoir and Cezanne - every painting has a story to tell.


The Splendour of Hampton Court Palace

Explore life in this spectacular Palace from Henry VIII to Queen Victoria and beyond - how the architecture has been altered to accomodate changing ideas of good taste - and how the layout of State Rooms enhanced the status of the Monarch. Using original slides taken during the restoration after the devastating fire of 1986 we can compare the before and after and consider the skilll of the restorers. The laying out of the new King's Privy garden was planned on the design of 1701 and opened once again to enhance the glory of Hampton Court.

From Wild Beasts to Pickled Sharks - Modern Art movements of the 20C explained with sceptism and humour

This lecture will cover Cubism, Purism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Minimalism, Conceptualism and Installation Art. We shall take a stroll through the History of Modern Art with works by Picasso, Dali, Jackson Pollock, Rothko, Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Hirst, Emin and many more. We finish with some more avant garde works exhibited today both in London and New York.


The Queen's Paintings: The Royal Collection of Art
The Royal Collection contains paintings from the early Renaissance to the present day and is an important reflection of both the taste of the monarch & the social & economic thinking of the country at the time. This lecture looks chronologically through our monarchs and the paintings each chose to bring into the Royal Collection. It considers how some were better than others at keeping and caring for the collection. It also takes a look at some of the works themselves, the artists who painted them & the stories depicted in them. A feast of colour and - as can be imagined - paintings of a quality to rival any in the world.

Jackie Clemson


The Queen – Long to reign over us

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British History.

This talk takes you on a journey through her life.

Along the way we look at moments of history, aspects of daily life, her role as monarch, and hopefully a few surprises……



Windsor Castle – Fortress, Palace & Home

The oldest and largest continually occupied castle in the world. From its beginnings in 1080 to the present day, Windsor Castle has been linked throughout its history to the kings and queens of England. This talk will show you how it looks today, and how it has evolved through the centuries. As home to our current monarch, the old ceremonies & traditions continue to this day.

The Knights Templar – Saints or Sinners?

Created by one Pope, and destroyed by another, they were warrior monks, who went from power and riches to disgrace and oblivion. During the first crusade they protected pilgrims to the Holy Land. They were the most powerful men in Europe and bankers to kings, which led to their ultimate downfall. Shrouded in mystery, myths and legends, we will explore their rise and fall, and how their movement emerged again in the 1700's.



A Tale of One City - Where London Began

From the Romans to the present day, discover some of the City's secrets, with a journey through two thousand years of history. On the way we look at ancient ceremonies, bloody executions, monks, mayhem, plague, and much, much more.


Royal Westminster – Monarchy, Government, Ceremony & Power

The seat of government and power for nearly one thousand years, this is where kings and queens have been born, crowned, married, died - and where history has been made. Follow the story, and hear why it continues to attract people today, from all over the world. 


Hampton Court Palace – A Tale of Two Palaces

From Henry VIII to George II, fourteen monarchs have called it home. They have played, loved, intrigued and made history within its walls. Follow the palace's journey through time, to hear about its past, present & future.


Sarah Slater


Sarah has 3 Lectures for face to face meetings, two of whcih can be delivered via Zoom or your own choice of platform.  They are all one hour in length with time for questions at the end.


'Secrets, Sex, Scandal and Salacious Gossip of the Royal Court, 1660 to 1830' is a very popular lecture. Sarah wears one of her beautiful costumes to present her PowerPoint presentation with images telling the tales of all the naughty bits of history you would probably not have learnt about at school! Sarah discusses the monarchs and their royal mistresses, prostitution, sexual diseases, sex toys and methods of contraception of the time.

Warning, this talk is not for the prude, it is fun but rude!

This lecture can be delivered either in person or via Zoom or an electronic platform of your choice.

(Photo copyright by permission of Andrea Liu)



'Working with the Ghosts of Hampton Court Palace'


Sarah wears one of her costumes whilst she present her PowerPoint presentation with images detailing her experiences at Hampton Court. Sarah gives a glimpse of what it is like to wander the galleries late at night on her own in the dark, she will lead you on an exploration of the history, stories and sightings of some of the ghosts of Hampton Court Palace that have been reported over the last few hundred years.


Sarah can deliver this lecture either in person or via Zoom/an electronic platform of your choice.

(Photo copyright by permission of Ian Franklin)



'Kirtles, Corsets and Curtains'


Sarah talks about her journey into costuming and the levels of authenticity involved with making period costumes to wear as a tour guide. Sarah wears one of her costumes and will bring more along with a mannequin which she dress up. Sarah will present her PowerPoint presentation with images detailing how the 'perfect' silhouette has changed over time and how women have striven to attain it using foundation garments. This lecture can only be delivered in person.


(Photo copyright Sarah Slater)

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