December 2020

From Forest Fir to Festive Feature “The Christmas Tree”

Welcome to The Arts Society Harpenden Evening
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 19:30
Fowden Hall
Rothamsted Harpenden AL5 2JQ

A talk on the history of the Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree presents us with over five centuries of art and meaning. Vital to the imagery of both the pagan world and Christianity, its significance emerges in Norse yuletide, ancient Rome and with the early-medieval saints, before its diverse strands were drawn together to symbolize the modern Christmas. It is wrapped in legend, from the Icelandic sagas to St Boniface, from the Mystery Plays to Martin Luther. In art, the forest fir has made the transition from Viking rock carvings to German Romanticism and Scandinavian naturalism, on its way to finding its place as an icon of our modern festival. Decorated and shimmering with light, it has brought Christmas from outside the home into the heart of the family, it has drawn soldiers together across No-Man’s Land, and it continues to symbolize its essential, timeless message of Peace on Earth.  ON LINE ONLY



Dr Claire Walsh

MA V&A and RCA; PhD European University Institute, Florence. Having previously worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum and lectured for the University of Warwick, I now teach at the Open University. I have lectured widely in Britain; at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum and Museum of London amongst others, and to specialist groups including the NACF, the Ceramics Society, the Costume Society and the Ancient Monuments Society. I have also lectured in Europe, the USA (including Yale and the Huntington) and Canada and have numerous publications.