Lectures are held at the Methodist Church in Kingsbridge and on Zoom at 2:30pm normally on the last Wednesday of each month. They last for 1 - 1½ hours including a question and answer session at the end.
Cats of the British Museum
Delia Pemberton      Wed 28th November 2012
  Our planned lecture on The Art of Liberty fell foul to flooded transport systems and we were very grateful to Delia Pemberton who kindly agreed to join us at the last minute to talk about the British Museum…and its Cats.
She illustrated her talk with a variety of feline images from the Museum’s collection, an ancient Egyptian bronze sculpture, a Japanese cityscape, a wall painting of 1350 BC vintage, an Italian vase, a pen drawing, a family portrait, a Chinese night light, a porcelain plate, a German ivory and a satirical political papyrus. There is even a Da Vinci sketch of the Virgin and Child with a Cat.
Symbolism often crept into these images but cats seem to have defied human definition. Independence, aloofness, cunning, dissimulation, a love of liberty, malice and the warm benevolence of a pet are reflected in art. Cats have even been used to illustrate a quantum physics theory. In Chinese and Japanese culture the cat was seen as auspicious, partly a tribute to its practical service to mankind in rodent control. The ancient Egyptians deified cats for their use in protecting grain stores and retrieving hunted birds; killing a cat was a capital offence. The Egyptian goddess Bastet had a human body and a feline head, good news for the status of the cat, bad news if you were bred for feline mummification as a votive offering. Forward to more recent times, Sir John Tenniel’s sketch of Alice and the Cheshire Cat serves to remind us of the enigma of life on paws.
Moving from purrs to firs, the Society will be holding its Christmas lunch and lecture in December before rejoining its monthly programme in the New Year with a talk on ‘The Splendours of Ottoman Turkey’ on 23rd/24th January 2013.