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10 December 2019The Christmas Tree, from Forest Fir to Festival Feature
21 January 2020The Art of the Hero, Commemorating Scott of the Antarctic.
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The Christmas Tree, from Forest Fir to Festival Feature Dr. Claire Walsh Tuesday 10 December 2019


Claire Walsh MA V&A and RCA; PhD European University Institute, Florence. Having previously worked at the V&A and lectured there and for the University of Warwick, now lectures for the Open University. Has lectured widely in Britain; at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Museum of London amongst others, and to specialist groups including the Art Fund, the Ceramics Society, the Costume Society and the Ancient Monuments Society. She has also lectured in Europe, the USA (including Yale and the Huntington) and Canada and has numerous publications.

The Christmas Tree presents us with over five centuries of art and meaning. Vital to the imagery of both the pagan world and Christianity, its significance emerges in Norse yuletide, ancient Rome and with the early-medieval saints, before its diverse strands were drawn together to symbolize the modern Christmas. It is wrapped in legend, from the Icelandic sagas to St Boniface, from the Mystery Plays to Martin Luther. In art, the forest fir has made the transition from Viking rock carvings to German Romanticism and Scandinavian naturalism, on its way to finding its place as an icon of our modern festival. Decorated and shimmering with light, it has brought Christmas from outside the home into the heart of the family, it has drawn soldiers together across No-Man’s Land, and it continues to symbolize its essential, timeless message of Peace on Earth.