Afternoon talk: Johannes Vermeer – Master of Light

Date(s) - 26th Jun 2023

St Matthew's Church


The Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-75) is best known for capturing life between middle-class walls during the Dutch Golden Age. Specialising in domestic interior scenes, his work is synonymous with a distinctive sense of quiescence, whereby time has somehow been suspended or frozen. Born in Delft, Vermeer fathered 15 children and lived a sedentary life, completing approximately 30 works only during his lifetime. His modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death, and he left his family in a certain amount of debt, only to realise considerable fame more contemporaneously. Undisputed master of light, Vermeer’s veristic technique enjoyed a renaissance in the nineteenth century; most notably through his use of limpid atmospheres, possibly aided by the camera obscura. His stage-like mise en scène have been the inspiration behind several books, musical compositions, and film scripts. Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. This sets the tone for how the viewer should experience his meticulous images; we should pore over the haptic surface details with care and attention, drinking in the sparkling array of colours and textures accordingly.

Nick Nelson BA,MA,PGCE,DipEd

Nick has been working in education since 1995, mostly in History of Art, yet he has taught seven subjects to GCSE and A Level at Cheltenham College. Nick lectures for Soho House Group in venues around the world and runs courses for students and adults on topics ranging from Shakespeare to Synaesthesia at Barnsley House and Marlborough College Summer School. He founded Arcadia Education in 2014 with his wife, offering courses, tours and tutoring to a wide audience. Nick is no stranger to The Friends of the Wilson, having spoken previously on Leonardo da Vinci, Klimt and Schiele, and none other than Edward Wilson himself in 2022, in order to commemorate the 150-year mark since Wilson’s birth in 1872.



Cost per person: £11, to include tea/coffee

Non-members welcome.

If you have any questions please phone Alison on 01242 519413.

Please book using one of the following options:

  • On-line bookings with a debit or credit card can be made using the form below. Alternatively you may reserve your place, select the ‘off-line’ payment option and pay by bank transfer or cheque.
  • Bank transfer – please email and wait for confirmation that places are available before arranging your bank transfer.
  • Cheque – please complete a booking form (download here ) and post it with your cheque.

Places are not confirmed until payment is received.

Bank transfers should be made to Friends of The Wilson (or as much of that as the bank will accept) Sort Code 30-91-87 Account 00005816. The reference must include your surname plus as much of the event title as will fit, for example SMITH Vermeer.

Please make cheques payable to Friends of The Wilson and send with a SAE or clearly written email address to Mrs Alison Pascoe, 77 Naunton Lane, Cheltenham, GL53 7AZ.


Bookings are now closed for this event.