WE have all heard of the Empress Josephine of France, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, but how much do we really know about this remarkable woman?
The Empress Joséphine Bonaparte (1763-1814) is best known in this country as the first wife and consort of Napoleon, and is thus overshadowed by one of the most important figures in European Modern history.
During the French Revolution, Josephine and her first husband were imprisoned and he was guillotined. Fortunately she was later freed.
She became a highly significant figure in her own right in the world of post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic France for her skilful behind the scenes political influence, and more importantly for her extensive patronage of the arts and fashion.
She was also internationally recognised for her interest in, and knowledge of, horticulture, which she developed at her personal residence, the Château de Malmaison near Paris.
It was there that she kept her large, high-quality collection of old masters, contemporary art and antique sculpture, and where the lake in the parkland was graced by the first black swans from Australia in Europe.
On Saturday, September 24, the Rockhampton Branch of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS) will be holding its annual lecture at the Coast at the B. Griffin Cultural Centre at St Ursula's College, commencing precisely at 10.30 am.
These slide presentations by professional speakers are invariably excellent. The talk will be followed by a very generous morning tea/lunch. Cost is $25 including refreshments.
The presenter is Martin Heard who studied History of Art at Manchester University and afterwards spent three years in the editorial department of a fine art publishing company.
His later career took a detour into the world of information technology, during which time he had the opportunity to work and live for several decades in both continental Europe and North America.
Martin says "I am now 'retired' from this field of endeavour and for the past ten years have devoted my time to researching Art Historical periods and subjects that have garnered my interest over the years.
"Travelling, whenever I can, I focus on visiting art galleries and places of historical interest the experiences of which, I hope, have increased my knowledge and perception of the subjects in which I specialise.
"My aim is to communicate my enthusiasm for art history and share it with every type of audience.”
ADFAS Rockhampton hosts nine lectures each year with six lectures by overseas speakers and 2 by Australian lecturers.
Each year finishes with a presentation by a local speaker.
The 2017 programme will be available in October and new members and visitors are always welcome.
This year's topics have included art fakes and forgeries, romance of the railways in literature, blue and white ceramics, Vincent van Gogh, sundials, and early women travellers in the Middle East.
The October lecture which will be at the Rockhampton Regional Library is entitled: 300 years of 'Capability' Brown and is presented by UK expert Steven Desmond.
Further information at www.adfas.org.au or find ADFAS Rockhampton on Facebook
IF YOU GO
What: ADFAS Rockhampton annual lecture
When: Saturday, September 24
Where: B. Griffin Cultural Centre, St Ursulas College
For more information visit: www.adfas.org.au.