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Royal Oak Foundation Lectures, Fall 2017

The Oxford and Cambridge Society of New England is co-sponsoring the following Royal Oak Foundation Lectures, with Reception.

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Tuesday October 17, 2017

Lecture   No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money

New England Historic Genealogical Society    99-101 Newbury Street  |  6:00 PM

photo of the lecturer David Lough

David Lough read history at Oxford University, where he won first class honors. Mr. Lough then had a long and fruitful career in finance, starting in Asia and investment banking, before founding a private banking business in 1988.

Mr. Lough is a former member of the London Stock Exchange and Fellow of the Chartered Securities Institute.

He returned to history in his retirement and coupled it with his experience in finance to write his first book No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money.

No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money


The popular image of Winston Churchill—grandson of a duke, born at Blenheim Palace, drinking champagne and smoking a cigar—conjures up an image of a man of wealth and substance.

In truth, Britain's most celebrated modern statesman lived for most of his life on a financial cliff edge. He had to take risks, speculate wildly on shares, and write constantly to fund his lifestyle. Indeed in 1898 Churchill wrote, "The only thing that worries me in life is money."

With unprecedented access to Churchill's private records, historian and financier David Lough was able to create the first fully researched narrative of Churchill's private finances and business affairs. Mr. Lough will lecture and disclose the scale of Churchill's financial risk-taking, his ability to talk or write himself out of the tightest corners, and also expose the links between the private Churchill and the public figure.

Depicting Churchill's financial endeavors across his lifetime, Mr. Lough will also illustrate the cultural shift in Britain as aristocratic inheritances often waned and a new class of business entrepreneurs emerged. These new financiers forged fortunes in railways, mining, finance, and other industries.

Mr. Lough's remarkable tale of Churchill's success despite his monetary shortcomings only makes the story of one of the most successful political figures of the 20th century more fascinating.


Wednesday November 15, 2017

Lecture   House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

Boston Athenaeum    10 1/2 Beacon St  |  6:00 PM

photo of the lecturer Laura Cavendish, Countess of Burlington

Lady Burlington is a former model and editor at Harper's Bazaar.

She has worked as a fashion consultant for major stores and brands including Selfridges and has sat on the New Generation board of the British Fashion Council since 2010.

She currently lives and works in London and makes frequent visits to Chatsworth with her husband William Burlington, heir to the Duke of Devonshire, and their three children.

House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth

lecture photo

Lady Burlington's search for a christening gown eight years ago for her newborn son, James, led her to rummage through her family's collection.

Her search, with her mother-in-law the Duchess of Devonshire, not only resulted in her selection of Nancy Mitford's former christening gown for the occasion, but was also the impetus for a groundbreaking exhibition at Chatsworth showcasing five centuries of historic costumes and fashions worn by the Cavendish family.

Chatsworth has been home to the family, the hereditary dukes of Devonshire, since the original Elizabethan house was built on the site purchased in 1549 by Bess of Hardwick and Sir William Cavendish. Steeped in history and one of England's most famous country houses, Chatsworth is renowned as much for its unrivalled collection of art as its fashionable history.

From gowns owned by the stylish 18th-century fashion icon Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, to fashions worn by contemporary supermodel Stella Tennant, Chatsworth's textile archives are full of majestic dresses and tiaras, magnificent lace, splendid uniforms, and show-stopping ensembles created by the most celebrated designers of their day.

Lady Burlington will lead us through some of the family collection, showing images of drawings, paintings, and photographs in the Chatsworth collection, as well as archival examples of dresses and accessories—including costumes by Jean-Philippe Worth and Alexander McQueen.

Lady Burlington will also feature ceremonial and coronation dress, military jackets, fancy dress, and estate liveries, as well as clothing worn by members of the family to ride, hunt, shoot, and fish. From the 16th-century drawings of stage costumes to comical pieces, like the 11th Duke's jumper embroidered with "Never Marry A Mitford,"

Lady Burlington will offer a personal perspective, as well as discuss Chatsworth's well-known fashionable residents.


Monday December, 2017

Lecture   Sissinghurst: Re-vitalising Vita Sackville West's Garden

The College Club of Boston    44 Commonwealth Ave  |  6:00 PM

photo of the lecturer Troy Scott Smith
Head Gardener, Sissinghurst Castle

Landscape designer Troy Scott Smith's passion for the natural world developed during his childhood spent in the Yorkshire countryside.

He began his gardening career in 1987 creating gardens in both the United Kingdom and France and joined the National Trust in 1990. Apart from one year as the Curator for The Royal Horticultural Society, he has been caring for Trust gardens ever since.

Troy spent seven years as Head Gardener at The Courts in Wiltshire and another seven at Bodnant Garden in Wales, where he led a 3.4 million pound restoration.

Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle since 2013, Troy and his team of seven full-time gardeners have been working to revitalize and maintain the beauty and romance of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson's exquisite garden.

Troy has also worked with the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, co-designing the Floral Colour spectrum at the latter.

An avid photographer, Troy was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society garden photographer of the year in 2003. He also writes regularly for garden magazines and daily newspapers and presents on BBC's Gardeners' World.

Sissinghurst: Re-vitalising Vita Sackville West's Garden

lecture photo

The garden surrounding Sissinghurt Castle, Kent, which has been managed by the National Trust since 1967, is the epitome of an English garden.

The poet, novelist and garden writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, started planting the garden in 1930 and spent 30 years turning it into a refuge dedicated to natural beauty. When she first laid eyes on the empty plot, Vita wrote: "It caught instantly at my heart and my imagination. I fell in love; love at first sight..."

She designed the garden as a series of adjoining rooms, separated by walls of high clipped hedges enclosing beds of different colored flowers with, as she described, a strict "formality of design, with the maximum informality in planting."

For Vita, gardening was about romance, emotion and intimacy. In the famous White Garden she restricted colors to white, grey, green, and silver while Harold emphasized the structure and texture with yew and box wood.

Though many original details and plantings remain half a century after Vita's death, changes in planting, as well as visitors numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have led to an overall tone and look that differs from her original design.

Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith will discuss how he plans to revitalize the original plan and illustrate his implementation of a more relaxed approach to pruning and training—allowing for the looser, more natural look Vita so enjoyed. He will also talk about new discoveries, such as Vita's original metal rose labels, which indicate that her collection numbered over 300 varieties.