Day of Special Interest "New York, New York: A Time Travel Tour"
with Mary Alexander

Monday 27th November 2023

Join us at the Cirencester Baptist Church for a 'time-travel‘ tour with Mary Alexander in which we unashamedly cherry pick the art and design highlights of New York. Whether you know and love New York or maybe have never visited, join us and have fun discovering more about the personalities of the artists, designers, patrons and social climbers who shaped this extraordinary and ever-changing city. 

Through three talks over the course of the day we will create the sense of ‘being there’, capture the vibrancy, energy and ever-changing nature of the city; whether today, or travelling in the Vanderbilts' horse drawn carriage up Fifth Avenue in the Gilded Age. Maps will pinpoint our locations throughout. 

We will consider the influence of ‘new money’ on art patronage and track the relentless move of fashionable society uptown using the 'voices' of Henry James in Washington Square, Edith Wharton in Gramercy Park, or F Scott Fitzgerald exclaiming that 'New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world'.  

We will explore the people, ideas and fortunes that created the great art collections, buildings and visual environment of the city. Using a wide cross section of imagery, ranging from painting, design, architecture and interiors, fashion, photography and film, we will reflect on how the constantly changing city sees and re-imagines itself. 

Lecture 1:  'Keeping up with the Jones': climbing the social grid in the Gilded Age

Lecture 2: The Big Apple Takes a Lead: Jazz Age Manhattan

Lecture 3: Exploring the city today: From Central Park to the High Line and Reflecting Pools

'The fun of being a New York painter is that landmarks are torn down so rapidly that your canvases become historical records almost before the paint on them is dry'  (John Sloan 1909) 

Please advise of any allergies or dietary requirements when booking. 

Mary Alexander trained as an art historian and graduated with a BA Hons in History and History of Art and MA in History of Art.  Her background combines an unusual blend of academic, communciations skills and experiences, including lecturing to various arts organisations, working with design professionals on special events and publications and writing on various aspects of the history of art and design. Mary Alexander is an approved Arts Society lecturer.  She is a popular and enthusiastic speaker with 30 years experience. 

Images Credit: Wikimedia Commons: View from Empire State Building by  Dietmar Rabich, Central Park view of Bow Bridge by Jet Lowe (Public Domain), High Line by Mike Peel ( and Mary Alexander