Thursday Talks: 12 March, 6.30pm – Just Like The Real Thing


Speaker: Professor Nicholas Oddy, Head of Department of Design History & Theory, GSA

Thursday 12 March, 6pm for 6.30pm

Nicholas Oddy – Head of Design History and Theory at the Glasgow School of Art and adviser to auction houses the world over – will entertain on a range of fascinating subjects relating to middlebrow consumerism a century and more ago in which his expertise is renowned. A must for anyone interested in, or curious about Victoriana and early-twentieth century visual culture, cultures of connoisseurship and collecting and, indeed, for everybody who has ever thought ‘art doesn’t look like proper art anymore!’


When Turner painted Rain, Steam and Speed he painted to capture an atmosphere, a sort of ‘railwayness’. Were today’s Turner to submit the equivalent painting to the Guild of Railway Artists he would most likely find it treated with suspicion, possibly rejected even; though the Guild have Rain, Steam and Speed on their website. So, what is the problem? Today’s railway artists like a different form of verisimilitude. This lecture moves from the world of art into the world of models and toys considering ideas of representation, authenticity and accuracy as it goes along.

Nicholas Oddy is Head of Design History & Theory at Glasgow School of Art. He has devoted much of his life to collecting things, a lot (but by no means all) are related to railways. He writes a lot about them too, but in the academic world he is better known for research into cycling history and road signage.

Nick’s academic interests are broad and tend to be driven by direct engagement with objects in the collectors’ market, mainly relating to late 19th and early 20th century. Including those relating to cycling and cycling culture generally. In the last few years this has moved into road signage and politics. Kitsch artefacts are also a favourite topic.

(The image is the packet for a children’s stencilling kit, probably from c1860, maker unknown.)

All Thursday Talks are open to the public. All Thursday Talks are £7 for members, £9 for non-members and £5 for students.



Non-Members please book via Eventbrite

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