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

Specialist Visits

The History Guides has been launched long enough now for us to get a better idea of what our clients are looking for when they book a visit with us.

It is clear that in addition to our visits on the previous pages, there is a call for a more specialist approach to our subjects. With that in mind, we have put together something exciting for those of you who would like to go more deeply into their chosen field. Numbers have to be limited to 10 people maximum for obvious reasons and we are quite happy to take smaller groups and couples. 

The following Specialist Art Visits generally run for around 2 hours and tend to focus on a smaller number of paintings but in more depth. It does not cover the general history of the Palace but looks exclusively at a small selection of the Queen's Paintings and Tapestries.

Art & Tapestry visit of the Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace

We will be looking at perhaps 8-10 paintings and a couple of tapestries. We will consider how tapestries were made and by whom. When we look at the paintings we will have plenty of time to discuss the artist, the technique and the social conditions surrounding its production. Greater depth does not mean dry and we still stick to our original adage that the arts should be fun. We consider the course of Tudor Art - the impact of Holbein on images of Henry V111 and why the chivalric, medieval images had to be left behind. The Royal Collection contains around 7,000 paintings, the majority of them of the highest quality so our only dilemma will be which ones to choose.

Saints and Angels - Devils and demons - held in the Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London

Have you ever wondered how Saints got their haloes - or angels got their wings? and how easy is it to depict a devil? With this visit we spend our time exclusively in the Sainsbury Wing. If anyone has ever considered that Saints and Angels are boring then this will most certainly change your mind. We learn to distinguish between the various Saints by their attributes. St Lawrence for example carrying the grid on which he was roasted to martyrdom. He is said to have told his tormentors to turn him over as one side was very well cooked. Ironically, he became the patron Saint of chefs! We look at depictions and myths of the devil in art before finishing our time by encouraging the group to analyse an altarpiece for themselves. 

Art History at the National Gallery - National Gallery, London


We start this visit with early Italian art before moving on to Renaissance painting. We consider the difference between Northern and Italian pictures before working our way through Baroque art towards later17&18th century pieces. Mr & Mrs Andrews by Gainsborough for example. It makes a difference to the viewing of the work if we understand that because Mr Andrews is holding a gun it denotes that he has property of £100 or more. (He would not be able to hunt game otherwise). We can see the fields have been beautifully cultivated, but not by the landowner - so where are all the peasants? We move on to Hogarth - Marriage a la Mode and then make our way towards Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. This is the History of Art in a couple of hours that will allow you to return and look and look again at your favourite period.

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