Click here for previous lectures

17 December 2019Christmas Dinner followed by The Twelve Days of Christmas
21 January 2020Tapestry - The Ultimate Wall Decoration
18 February 2020Mad Men & Artists: How the Advertising Industry exploited Fine Art
17 March 2020The Arts & Crafts of Kashmir
21 April 2020Undressing Antiques
19 May 2020The Extraordinary life of Misia Sert
16 June 2020Pots and Frocks
21 July 2020Music & Art in the Age of Vermeer
15 September 2020Isabella D'Este
20 October 2020The paintings and wit of Noel Coward and Winston Churchill
17 November 2020Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795): Ultimate Renaissance ruler and fine art collector
10 December 2020Christmas Dinner followed by A Dickens of a Christmas

Click on a row and scroll to display more details about the lecture

Christmas Dinner followed by The Twelve Days of Christmas Peter Medhurst GRSM ARCM Tuesday 17 December 2019


Peter Medhurst appears in the UK and abroad as a musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.


The celebration of the period following Christmas can be traced back several millennia, and to at least two cultures – neither of them Christian. One of them is the southern Roman feast of Kalends on the 1st January, and the other, the northern Nordic festivals of Yuletide surrounding the celebrations of the Winter solstice. However, it was Pope Julius I who decided to subvert the gluttony, drunkenness and sun worship to Christian purpose, and by choosing the 25th December to celebrate the birth of Christ, he neatly bridged these cultures and paved the way for future Christmas festivities. And so it is that many of our modern Christmas customs and carols bear references to traditions that have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Nonetheless, each year, Christ’s birthday on 25th December signifies the beginning of twelve festive days of celebrations and music making. In this lecture-recital Peter Medhurst explores the wealth of Christmas music, traditions and curious legends that are connected with them. Music performed includes: Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, The Coventry Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Wassail Song, and The Three Kings – Cornelius.