Experience the cult of beauty at first hand.

At a Glance

  • Held at Leighton House
  • Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:30
  • 7 weeks: October to December
  • Tutors: various
  • Fees: £70 or £77
  • Friends of Leighton House: £70
  • This is a series of talks - it is not possible to sign up for single sessions or less than the full 7 sessions
Booking link

This class is organised in association with the Leighton House, London (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)

 With the reopening of Leighton House to visitors we are delighted to be teaming up with Leighton House on a new seven week adult education class looking at the Pre-Raphaelites and Aesthetic Movement, whose influence can be seen all over this lovely museum in the heart of London's Kensington.

From the emergence of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the 1840s, arguably as an offshot of the Gothic Revival Movement, through the development of the 'cult of beauty' in the work of artists such as Frederic Leighton, Albert Moore and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and on to William Morris, the Arts and Crafts, we will discover some of the most beautiful works of art and design ever made, learn about the people who made them and their motivations and find out how these seemingly quintessential British art and design movements changed the world in ways that are still apparent today. We will also look at the connections between these movements and broader culture, including in modernist architecture and design, late nineteenth-century music, and so-called 'arts and crafts' garden design.

In classes that will be a lovely lead in to Christmas, the sessions are held at the stunning Leighton House in London, and the course is open to all - no previous experience of art history is necessary.

Attendance Certificate


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate


Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment

Course Information

Course Programme and Additional Reading

Provisional Course Programme (may be subject to change)

  • 1 November 2022 - Pre-Raphaelite Painting (Leslie Primo)
  • 8 November 2022 - Arts and Crafts Design (Viv Lawes) 
  • 15 November 2022 - Aesthetic Movement Painting (Michael Paraskos) 
  • 22 November 2022 - Werkbund and Bauhaus Legacies (David McKinstry)
  • 29 November 2022  - William Morris Wallpapers (Emma Hardy) 
  • 6 December 2022 - Music in Late C19th Britain (Bruno Bower)
  • 13 December 2022 - The Myth of Miss Jekyll - Painting and Planting (Deborah Trentham)

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course.

Your Tutors

Bruno Bower is a lively and enthusiastic tutor whose love of music is infectious. He is a musicologist, performer, composer, and music editor, as well as a highly experienced teacher. He has taught at Cambridge University, University of Surrey, Brunel University, and the Royal College of Music, and his innovative teaching methods have been recognised by Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Alongside his courses at Imperial, he currently teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Bruno also teaches our music appreciation courses at Imperial College.


Emma Hardy is a former curator at the V&A, and Senior Curator at the Museum of the Home (formerly known as the Geffrye Museum). She is a formidable researcher, and was one of the researchers, writers and co-editors of the extremely important publication, A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851, published by Yale. Emma is currently in the final stages of writing up her doctorate research project looking at the wallpapers of William Morris.


Viv Lawes is an art historian, art market analyst and curator/ writer who combines a hands-on career in the art business with academic research and teaching in Higher Education. She is UK Consultant to Larasati Auctioneers (Jakarta/ Singapore) and One East Asia gallery, Singapore, and has curated numerous exhibitions of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art in London and Singapore and was art market journalist at The Art Newspaper. Her articles, essays and reports have been published in numerous arts journals, newspapers, catalogues, handbooks and websites, aimed at both the academic and general readership. Viv also teaches our fine and decorative arts courses at Imperial College.

David McKinstry is a renowned specialist in design history, formerly secretary to the Georgian Society and adviser to London local government on development applications for historical buildings in the city. He works as a freelance urban design and conservation professional within local government and recently completed a DPhil on metropolitan Italianate architecture at the University of Oxford. His research interests are mainly in urban design and civic and commercial architecture, particularity in relation to 19th-century Europe.


Photograph of Michael Paraskos

Dr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to undergraduate students at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, The Guardian newspaper and The Spectator magazine. His first novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016. Michael also teaches our art history courses at Imperial College.


Leslie Primo is a highly experienced and well-known art historian, who has appeared on television and radio, as well as lecturing at organisations including the National Gallery in London and Wallace Collection. He recently presented a television programme on BBC2 television looking at J.M.W. Turner, and he is a regular speaker at the Art Society. Leslie also teaches our art history courses at Imperial College.


Deborah Trentham, was trained in the history of art, architecture and garden history. She has been teaching garden history for fifteen years including at Birkbeck (University of London) and Capel Manor College where she also taught the history of architecture. She currently teaches garden design students for KLC School of Design at Chelsea Harbour and Hampton Court Palace. Deborah has also been a judge for the Society of Garden Designers Awards and has published articles in magazines and periodicals such as Art Quarterly and Homes & Gardens, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 5 Television (UK). Debbie also teaches our garden history courses at Imperial College.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

LecturesStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 7 £77
£70 £70
All fee rates quoted are for seven lectures. Friends of Leighton House and Sambourne House should select Associate Rate unless they are also students or staff at Imperial College London. If you would like to join the Friends of Leighton House click here.

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Term Dates

LecturesAutumn termSpring termSummer term
7 1 November 2022 until 13 December 2022* n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August 2022

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:

  • Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
  • If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.

When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:

What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the Programme Manager for adult education, Dr Michael Paraskosm.paraskos@imperial.ac.uk

If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk