Zoom talk by Douglas Skeggs on Catherine The Great

September 24, 2021 @ 7:00 pm

Grateful thanks to Hellards of Alresford for hosting our online talk

 Fundraising for the rebuilding of Ropley church has reached a peak this summer with an amazing offer of matched funding up to £50,000 for everything we raise between July and September, 2021. This fascinating talk by Douglas Skeggs completes a summer of highly varied fund-raising events.

 About the talk: This live Zoom talk, including time for some questions and answers at the end, will last for about an hour.

Why not buy a ticket, pour yourself a drink, sit back in the comfort of your own home and prepare to be enthralled?

Douglas introduces his talk: Catherine the Great  1729-1796

“Catherine had no right to rule Russia. A minor princess from a small German state, she had been singled out as bride to the dull witted heir to the Russian throne for no other reason than she’d known him as a child. The marriage was a disaster and it was only a matter of time before she had her husband deposed and thrown into jail. Crowning herself as Empress of Russia she went on to dominate European politics, partitioning Poland, taking on the Ottoman Turks and attempting to rebuild the ancient Empire of Byzantium.

Powerful, determined and passionate, her private life was as colourful as her court. She worked her way through a bewildering list of lovers the most famous of whom, Potemkin, went on to mastermind her politics, her private life, her grandiose building projects and love of art. It was only when Catherine died and her disturbed and paranoid son took over the reins of power did the Russians look back and see that this had been their golden age.

This lecture looks into the turbulent reign of this ambitious, often vindictive, and yet strangely endearing monarch.”

About Douglas Skeggs:

Douglas needs no introduction to those of us who have heard him speak locally on a wide range of artists and about different periods in history. For those of you listening from further away, you are in for a treat! His talks are always a sell-out.

Douglas Skeggs read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980. In that time, he has given over 4000 lectures to universities, colleges and art societies.

He was the director of ‘The New Academy of Art Studies’ for three years and is presently a regular lecturer at ‘The Study Center‘, ‘Christie’s’ course ‘The History of Art Studies’ and other London courses.

Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, MI5 headquarters, the Captain’s Room at Lloyds, and an aircraft hangar in a German NATO base. Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and has taken numerous tours around Europe. Douglas helped set up the Abercrombie & Kent “Private Label tours” and is presently cultural adviser to Ultimate Travel.

Douglas has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on ‘Whistler’ and the exhibition video on ‘William Morris.’

Three one-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland.

He has published five novels, which have been translated into 8 foreign languages, and his book on Monet, ‘River of Light’, has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France. 

Rebuilding St Peter’s Church, Ropley:

The devastating fire in 2014 left us with a major rebuilding task – but it also gave us an opportunity to remodel and extend our church to make it fit for 21st century use, for both church and community activities.

With the Covid-19 pandemic and delays in getting building materials, work on the rebuilding slowed down during 2020 and 2021, whilst in person fundraising activities had to stop until late Summer, 2021. We are now months away from completing Phase 1 of the rebuilding work, which will give us a usable building.

If you can help us with fundraising, please make your donation:

– online via stpetersropley.org.uk or

– send a cheque made out to ‘PCC St Peter, Ropley – Ropley Church Appeal’ to our Vicar, the Rev, Clare Welham, at The Vicarage, Lyeway Lane, Ropley, Alresford, Hants SO24 0DW

Thank you!