The Barn Lectures

Classes based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire covering
Art History, and Appreciation of Art and Architecture

Tel: 01242 862 818

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Dr. Frances M. Wilson-Copp

Class Information. Last Updated 18/09/20.


Hello Art Historians, 18/09/20
I’ve finally managed to get around to making the next video for YouTube.  I can’t believe how time flies when retirement comes, and there seems to be so much to do.  Having no feedback from people I am speaking to is a problem for me, but I’ve done my best.  There is a lot of information even though the delivery is not wonderful, and I had a bit of a sniffle too.  I hope you enjoy it.  My son nodded off while he was editing it, which may imply something, although I hope it’s just that he was used to me reading him to sleep when he was little.  You can perhaps use it for the same purpose.
The day schools which I would like to teach are still eventually going to take place, and I will let you all know when I can do the first, but it won’t be for a while because of the government’s rule of 6 and the 2nd wave of covid 19 which seems to be on it’s way.  Hopefully I would do one every 4 to 6 weeks. 
I do hope you all can stay safe and not be affected by it too much.  My little grandson Sammy has spent a couple of days at nursery so that his mum can go back to work, and was sent home with a temperature and symptoms.  Next thing is, they have to get tested (and there are none available) and our little household bubble has to isolate again, which has been a real nuisance.  We’re not ill, and Sammy just has a runny nose now and is otherwise fine, but we all have to play by the rules.  It would be so much easier if the tests were available.
So we all carry on with whatever we can.  I’m reading a lot, playing my trumpet, walking a bit, minding the baby, drawing, and cooking.  The apples are ripe now so today’s job is bottling and making a crumble.  I’m seeing friends for coffee, or in the garden, and I would like to take up attending some courses which I had planned to do when I gave up work, but they are also not running, like my own.
It’s come to our notice that when we send out group emails some of them aren’t getting to you all.  We are trying to sort this problem out but if you know of someone who isn’t receiving them, could you send them the link, and also get them to email me through the website, and hopefully we can clear it up.  There is also a link on my website under the heading Links.  I am eventually going to update the website as so much of it is now not accurate.
Please look after yourselves; it will be great to see you when we are allowed, and I will carry on with the YouTube videos, though the timing of them will be a little erratic.
Love to all, and very best wishes,

Hello Art Historians, 17/06/20.
And lockdown is easing……………………..but we’re still remaining very cautious and have discovered we haven’t missed clothes shopping at all, so not a lot is changing for us except that we’re spending less, and can’t see our family abroad.  Lovely, lovely WhatsApp video is keeping us in touch and it’s great that we live in a digital age.  I hope you and yours are all well  and that you’re coming out of lockdown (if indeed you are) sane and safe.
Here is the You Tube link for my latest video which is on Greek Art.
This is the link for the You Tube channel where you will find the videos as I manage to complete them and get them uploaded.  It takes a surprisingly long time, part of which is trying to get together with my son to record and upload, which is ridiculous as he and his family live in the same house !
There is an excellent link in the video, which is copied here and is a free download book on Cycladic art from Getty Publications, a brilliant read and with many examples.
Also in the video I mention a lovely drawing of a crab.  When I am recording I can’t see myself, and I realized afterwards that my face obscures the image I am talking about, so here it is, about to nip the hero’s heel:

If you have a bored moment you can entertain yourself with this online jigsaw puzzle of Venus where you will see all the details of the sculpture as you put it together.
I’m still not good at talking to empty space, though I do try to imagine you there, listening and commenting.  The next one I am preparing is going to be on Roman Art, which is a worry as Mary Beard in her brilliance, has been there before me, so please please don’t compare us.  She is an amazing presenter and infinitely knowledgeable about her subject.  Her books on Rome are very interesting, but I particularly recommend this one on Pompeii, which talks about the generalities of everyday life then.
The next one is an excellent novel by Robert Harris, which sets you brilliantly into that time and place.
On a last note, my son says that I stopped my talk abruptly and didn’t say goodbye, so I will now do so………………
Cheerio, and see you soon !  Again, stay safe and Best Wishes,

Hello Art Historians,    26/05/20,
Well, here we are still in lockdown, and I hope you are all continuing well and carrying on regardless, as are we, whilst not going anywhere or seeing anyone.  It’s a bit boring but there is a lot to do, and I went for a walk with a friend, at a safe distance of course, which we are now allowed to do.
I have entered the realms of the unknown, and with great fear and trepidation have recorded part of a talk for you to watch.  It makes me realize, though I always did, just how important your input is to making my lectures work, and as I’m talking, I’m missing you all terribly, and feeling a great idiot talking to myself.  So the presentation is amateur as I’ve never done it before, but there will be others and my son, who recorded it, assures me that I will get better at it.  I found the headset difficult to operate with too, and we’ve bought a different mic for next time so I perhaps won’t need to wear one.
The video is on YouTube as it’s too large for our website, and the link is
Feel free to send it on to anyone you think may be interested, but please make sure they understand that I’m new to this game, so I won’t be so embarrassed.  This link is also on my website  in links.
It’s beginning to seem that we might not be able to start the classes again in September, even though schools are getting back to functioning.  I feel that the virus is not settling down particularly quickly, and I don’t like the risk to us all, sitting together in an enclosed room where we can’t distance ourselves from one another adequately.  I don’t even know when the village halls will start to function again.
My dicky ticker seems to be fine, and I’m on the meds and well, going for walks and doing some exercises.  One of the meds has given me a cough, which is why I’m struggling a little talking about the last slide in the video, but I feel pretty good.  My body is telling me that it’s getting older and I might cut the classes back a little bit more when eventually we do start back again, but I haven’t decided yet.  I’ll see how I feel nearer the time, as I want to keep going with the art history as long as possible.
So, what about other things to read, connected with my video.  The following is an excellent academic article from the Smithsonian, which gives a brilliant background to Palaeolithic art, as well as talking about new discoveries.
For the Egyptians, this is short but informative:
Here is a link to the Metropolitan Museum, NY, which will give you articles and information if you are interested in this period of art history.
I hope you enjoy these links, and I look forward to trying out a next video which will be about Greece and Rome, and I will try and make a better job of it.  If these periods are not of interest to you, don’t bother to watch, but keep an eye out for your favourite areas, as it is my intention to witter my way up to the present day, eventually.
Bye for now,
Stay safe and best wishes,

Hello Art Historians,      25/04/20
I have completed the second of the Gothic architecture documents for you to look at if you are interested.  It may be the last one, or not, depending on how much longer lockdown lasts for, and also depending a bit on the weather, as it’s hard to sit at the computer when the sun is shining.  You have enough information to analyse photos of architecture on line.  Also, I think that’s probably enough architecture for the time being.  Possibly!!?  I will of course continue to keep in touch with you all and will think of something else for us to do.
Apart from history of art and architecture, lots of reading, jigsaws and baking go on a pace in our house.  I’ve finished the last of the flour though, so it’s oat cookies and flapjacks until I can get some more.  Weeding the garden will have to wait, as it’s too much like housework in that you’ve no sooner done it than it needs doing again, and I don’t find that much fun.
I would like to thank those of you who have been in touch with ideas and videos; they are very much appreciated. 
This Getty Museum challenge is doing the rounds, and if any of you want to join in you can email your photos to me and I will at some point show them to the others.
And there are some different ones here on the wonderful Bored Panda website.
Jenny from the Wednesday group alerted me to a fascinating collection of videos about art, just Google The Stay at Home Museum, and you will find some short tours around important exhibitions which have had to close.
Some other interesting sites:
I hope you are all still well, in your heads as well as in your bodies, as the lock down is becoming a bit of a drag.  If any of you are finding it really hard, send me an email and let me know how you’re feeling, and I’ll write back.  I know how lucky I am as I have family living here, and a garden too, but I also have friends without either, and for whom the enforced isolation is becoming a real pain.
Here’s wishing you well, and hoping we can soon get out and about even just a little bit more.
Stay safe and best wishes,

Hello Art Historians,    10/04/20
I have prepared another little document on architecture for you.  This time we have moved away from the roots of Classicism to Gothic architecture, and I have focussed on the arches and the vaults.
I’ve just got back home from my usual walk along the lane, and it’s chile con carne for dinner tonight, so all is well.  I hope you are all coping with the lockdown, and are managing to talk to family and friends on the phone, and to get your shopping in, and to get out for a little bit of exercise.  I hope it’s not getting you down too much.
Here’s some exercise for the brain.  It’s a jigsaw puzzle site and is very addictive.  Have fun.
If you’re into short art history videos have a look at some of these from the Kahn Academy.  A couple of you have emailed me and reminded me of its existence again, so thank you for that. They cover other subjects too, and I’ve played them occasionally in the lectures.
And finally, my brass band have got together (not physically of course) with our metronomes and each played all on our own, our part for a hymn, which one of the lads in the band mixed for us. We did it on WhatsApp and I’m quite proud of how it turned out, so here is the link.
Best wishes and continue to stay safe.
XX Fran.


Hello Art Historians,
Dear me.  Here we are in lockdown still, and I’ve never read so many trashy novels before although actually, those which are well written do transport you to a different world. A friend gave me one by Lucinda Riley which did that for me.  I’m trying to cook interesting food with what we’ve got in stock, and going for walks from home, in which we are lucky as we have a fairly nice lane opposite.  And I’m not even missing my occasional fix of shoe shopping.  Our days are idle and laid back, but still seem to go past fairly quickly.  But so far so good because we seem to be still well, and I hope you are too.
As you know, I’ve been thinking about architecture, and I found this rather nice link that shows you around a few stately homes.  Just click the link, click on the house, and click ‘launch project’.
This next one of Chiswick is also excellent, and I’ve browsed it as it’s a place I’ve never been to, and it almost feels as if you are there in person.  There are many others on-line as well.
I have finished the next mini chapter of my guide to analysing architecture, which is about the innovations and influence of Rome, see the link.  It can be found on my website under the heading ‘The Classes’, at the very bottom with the Info. Sheets. .
I’m hoping it will be of interest, but don’t bother with it if architecture is not your thing. If you go to Google maps and drop the little blue man onto the Promenade in Cheltenham you can wander down the road and look at the classical buildings.  Check out Boots, and the big banks, the Queens Hotel, and the Ivy restaurant, which used to be Lloyds bank.  You can try out other towns that you know, and hopefully look with new eyes at the buildings rather than shop interiors.
Continue to stay safe, all.
XX Fran

I hope you enjoy it, and I will do others.

I came across the next link to San Diego Zoo and I think it’s excellent.  You can draw the animals from life, or just enjoy watching them.  They’re live webcams and it’s America so they’re 7 hours behind us, so it might be dark.  It’s a safe site and it’s fun.

And one last thing.  Best wishes to all the doctors and nurses and other health care workers who come to the classes, including those who are retired and have volunteered to go back to help out.  A big thank you, and stay safe.

XX Fran.

Hello again to all my art historians.

All the classes are now cancelled.  What with my health and the health of the nation (and the world) it’s been a dodgy start to our art history courses in 2020.  I’m hoping we will be able to start again in September, but check my website occasionally as I might post the odd update or art historical thought.  We may have to wait for October.  If I owe any of you money, I will sort it out when we start back again in the Autumn, and if any of you are not continuing with the courses, please drop me an email with your address or bank details, and I will deal with it.

In the meantime, do your best to stay well as long as possible, as are we.  If anyone finds themselves alone and unable to get out for food and essentials, email me and leave your phone number and I will get back to you to see what can be done.  And the same if you feel ill and can’t get help.  We’re all in this together.

Many of the things I do are now cancelled too, such as music groups and exhibitions.  The joys of life this summer are going to be reading, gardening (though I’ve never really got into it much), and perhaps getting back to a bit of painting and drawing.  And there are no baked beans in Morrisons, so how am I going to get by?

I hope everything goes well for you, and I will keep in touch with the odd (??) email.

Best wishes,


The Rendcomb Group.       Postponed till further notice

The Bisley Group .               Postponed till further notice

The Shurdington Lectures. Postponed till further notice



Dates for Terms Go to the Classes link.

The Rendcomb Group

(Places available). Mondays: 2:00pm till 4:30pm.

Payment on the 1st day of each term

The Bisley Group

Tuesdays (Class full) 2.00 pm till 4.30 pm

Payment on the 1st day of each term

The Barn Lectures

Wednesdays:10am till 12:30pm

Wednesdays: 2pm to 4:40pm

Payment on the 1st day of each term


To contact us-
Tel: (01242) 862818