Click here to view future lectures

13 March 2018‘Arsenic and Old Wallpaper – the darker side of William Morris’
06 February 2018‘A Potted History of Britain’ (Note date FIRST Tuesday of the month this time).
09 January 2018‘Gods, Goddesses, Heaven and Hell.’
12 December 2017‘Sing we Yule’
14 November 2017‘Adventures in Three Dimensions – 20th-century sculpture in Britain’
10 October 2017‘The Cult of Gloriana: Art, Music and Politics at the Court of the Virgin Queen’
13 June 2017'Les Parisiennes' - How Women Lived, Loved and Died in Paris from 1939 to 1949
09 May 2017An Introduction to the Gardens and Tea Houses of Japan
11 April 2017Christian and Islamic Art and Architecture in the Iberian Peninsula
14 March 2017Healing Stitches - Therapeutic Handicrafts at Times of Conflict
14 February 2017Hidden Canvases - street art in the City
10 January 2017Buckfast Abbey; the rebuilding of a mediaeval monastery
13 December 2016'That Jocund World' - theatre in the life and works of Charles Dickens
08 November 2016The Art and Beauty of Old Maps of the World
11 October 2016Bricks, Sheds and Unmade Beds: Is it Art?
14 June 2016 From Magic Lanterns to Metro Goldwyn Meyer
10 May 2016The Cult of the South Pacific - from Cook to Gauguin
12 April 2016Shakespeare: the Plays in Performance and Art
08 March 2016The Glasgow Boys - Painting in Scotland
09 February 2016Repton on the Tamar
12 January 2016Women Artists from 1500 to 1800
08 December 2015'Le Roi Soleil' - King Louis XIV

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

‘Arsenic and Old Wallpaper – the darker side of William Morris’ Geri Parlby Tuesday 13 March 2018

Victorian designer William Morris was a man of many faces.  He is probably best known today as the creator of wallpaper, fabrics and stained glass windows, but he was also a poet, artist, philosopher, typographer and socialist.  Less well known are his links to the richest copper and arsenic mine in Europe and his toxic green wallpapers that are said to have poisoned thousands of people across England.


Dr Geri Parlby

Geri is a former Fleet Street journalist who couldn’t resist the lure of academia. She returned to studying fifteen years ago and now has a first class honours degree in History and Theology, a Masters in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute and a Theology PhD from Roehampton University.

Geri has taught for the University of Exeter for the past seven years and also lectures intermittently for the University of Plymouth and the University of Roehampton. She is a regular lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts and heads up their South West Area History of Art Foundation course.

From and on


I’m a rather idiosyncratic art historian who studies history through art rather than the history of art.
I have a particular fascination for sacred art and deciphering what clues ‘holy images’ might be offering us as to the politics of religion.
You’ll find me rooting around in a variety of unusual places either in person or virtually. One week I’m in the catacombs of Rome, playing cherchez la femme with the oldest images of the Virgin Mary ever created, then in the cathedrals of Peru in pursuit of gun totting arch angels.
I’ve been known to flit from researching the 21st century narco-saints of Mexico to solving the runic riddles of an 8th century Anglo Saxon relic. Then on to the voluptuous goddess figures of Neolithic Catal Huyuk in Anatolia to the mysterious Black Madonna statues of western Europe.
Goddesses, saints, virgins and angels with a generous smattering of sinners in between – everything is grist to my mill.