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Guest Speakers

Our celebrated speakers have been carefully selected for their knowledge of the art, history, archaeology, architecture, wine and cuisine of the areas we visit. Their informative and enlightening talks will entertain you and bring to life the history of the remarkable civilisations and cultures of the Mediterranean and the Far East.

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    • Professor Stefan Buczacki

      Professor Stefan Buczacki

      Biologist and biographer

      Cruises:

      Dalmatia & Ancient Greece - 2019-09-18 Grand Italy, Dalmatia & Greece - 2019-09-04 Grand Adriatic & Aegean Experience - 2019-09-18
      Stefan is currently celebrating thirty years as a cruise ship lecturer to all parts of the world but says that of his many achievements the one of which he is proudest is to have been voted among the one hundred people of Polish descent who have contributed most to the life and culture of Britain -  a list on which he appears, alphabetically, between Bonnie Prince Charlie and King Cnut!

      Stefan is currently celebrating thirty years as a cruise ship lecturer to all parts of the world but says that of his many achievements the one of which he is proudest is to have been voted among the one hundred people of Polish descent who have contributed most to the life and culture of Britain -  a list on which he appears, alphabetically, between Bonnie Prince Charlie and King Cnut!

      Stefan was educated at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford and is a Chartered Biologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Chartered Horticulturist, a founder Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. He holds an honorary chair in Biological Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, honorary doctorates from the Universities of Southampton and Derby and is an honorary fellow of CABI Biosciences International and of Warwickshire College. He is double past-president of the British Mycological Society and holds the Veitch Memorial Medal in gold of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Benefactors' Medal of the British Mycological Society and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Garden Media Guild.

      Stefan is probably Britain's most experienced media gardening expert and has published over sixty books on natural history and gardening, many of them standard reference works and most translated into several languages. He is believed to be Britain's second biggest selling gardening author and has also written for most national newspapers and leading magazines. Stefan has used his special expertise in fungi to write the most comprehensive field guide to British fungi ever published. His major natural history book, the encyclopaedic Fauna Britannica described the entire wild animal life of the British Isles and its role in British culture.  HRH The Prince of Wales wrote the Foreword and the book was short listed for British Illustrated Book of the Year.

      Among his numerous broadcasting achievements, Stefan appeared most famously on BBC Radio's 'Gardeners' Question Time' as panellist and chairman for a unique unbroken run of over 600 broadcasts in twelve years, just part of a portfolio of well over 1,000 radio programmes.  For three years he presented 'Classic Gardening Forum' on Classic FM and devised, wrote and presented six series of the hugely successful programme 'The Gardening Quiz' on Radio 4.  He has also appeared on or presented around 1,000 television programmes, many featuring his own garden, on every British terrestrial television channel and has presented several series on satellite stations.  He is Patron or Trustee of numerous gardening and science-related bodies including the North of England Zoological Society, owners of award winning Chester Zoo and also has over thirty years experience as an expert witness in matters of litigation involving plants.

      Stefan has a long-standing interest in modern British political history and is recognised internationally as an authority on Winston Churchill and his social circle. His book 'Churchill and Chartwell' was described by the International Churchill Center in Washington DC as '…a thoroughly indispensable standard work, as important for the library of any serious Churchill student as the memoirs of close associates'.  His latest work, a biography of the Hon Venetia Stanley, confidante of prime minister H H Asquith, has already been hailed as 'a masterpiece'.

      Website:  www.stefanbuczacki.co.uk

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    • Hugh Ellwood

      Hugh Ellwood

      Architect and Artist, Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-02
      Hugh Ellwood was educated in the classics and went to university in Rome to study philosophy. It was here that art and history became a reality and after four years he returned to Manchester to study architecture. After graduation, he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He pursued a career as an architect with Building Design Partnership, the largest multi-discipline design organisation in the UK. For 21 years he was a partner in the practice, working on housing, school and hospital projects such as the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and the New General Infirmary at Leeds.

      Hugh Ellwood was educated in the classics and went to university in Rome to study philosophy. It was here that art and history became a reality and after four years he returned to Manchester to study architecture. After graduation, he became a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He pursued a career as an architect with Building Design Partnership, the largest multi-discipline design organisation in the UK. For 21 years he was a partner in the practice, working on housing, school and hospital projects such as the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and the New General Infirmary at Leeds.

      For some years Hugh was an external examiner in Architecture at the University of Manchester as well as a visiting lecturer in the history of art and architecture at the University of Central Lancashire. He has also lectured extensively to various societies and organisations on art and architecture and is a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society.

      During the 1980s he began to sketch with watercolour as a complement to the pursuit of architecture. He prefers to work in watercolour, ink, pencil and pastel. His subjects are mainly buildings, the landscape and the relationship between the two. He prefers to work outdoors, rather than in the studio.

      During the year he spends at least three months with his wife in Switzerland and Italy as well as visiting other places of interest abroad to study, photograph and sketch. The areas of the Italian lakes, Rome and Venice are particular favourites.

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    • Caroline Holmes

      Caroline Holmes

      Garden Historian

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-02
      Caroline Holmes is a Garden Historian of places, people and plants who sifts humour from humus worldwide as a lecturer, broadcaster and an author of 11 books.

      Caroline Holmes is a Garden Historian of places, people and plants who sifts humour from humus worldwide as a lecturer, broadcaster and an author of 11 books. A consultant designer specialising in evoking historical, artistic and symbolic references ranging from the gardens surrounding Notre Dame-de-Calais to devising the planting for The Alnwick Garden’s Poison Garden, Caroline lectures for The Art Society in both the UK and overseas; the RHS, Road Scholar, Martin Randall Travel, and the Plant School.  

      She is Course Director for University of Cambridge’s ICE International Summer Programmes. Her latest television appearance was on TeleFrance 1 on the Field of the Cloth of Gold (2017). She was the presenter of Telling the Stories of England (2016) and has appeared on many BBC Gardening programmes, co-presenting Glorious Gardens, a design and history series in 2004. Caroline has also toured Australia and presented A Sunparched Country for BBC Radio Four in 2008.

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    • Dr David Price-Williams

      Dr David Price-Williams

      University of London

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-10-02
      David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic etc.), with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His post-graduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970’s.

      David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic etc.), with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His post-graduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970’s.

      David has spent many years working in the countries of Africa south of the Zambesi. From 1976 to 1989 he was the director of a multi-disciplinary team of up to twenty scientists from several universities researching the effects of climatic change on human evolution in Africa. He was based in Swaziland, during which time he also oversaw the building of the Swaziland National Museum and where he eventually became Director of Antiquities. 

      David has been associated with the eastern Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey, Jordan and the Near East for more than 40 years. He is deeply involved with all aspects of Near Eastern culture, history and archaeology. 

      David has just retired after thirty seven years lecturing on the Archaeology of Western Asia (Eastern Mediterranean) at the Institute of Archaeology for the University of London Extra Mural Department. He is the author and co-author of numerous academic papers on the area. David has designed and lectured on many tours to Greece, Turkey and the Near East and is very familiar with the archaeological sites in the area. David is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an elected member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, and a life member of the Southern African Quaternary Research Association. He speaks Turkish and reads Classical Greek

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    • Ernest Rea

      Ernest Rea

      Broadcaster

      Cruises:

      Dalmatia & Ancient Greece - 2019-09-18 Grand Italy, Dalmatia & Greece - 2019-09-04 Grand Adriatic & Aegean Experience - 2019-09-18
      Ernie Rea is a celebrated broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the best Speech Programme on British Radio. He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles.

      Ernie Rea is a celebrated broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the best Speech Programme on British Radio. He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles. From 1989 -2001 he was Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC responsible for all their television and radio programmes nationally and locally. During this time, he spent much time in the United States, brokering co-production television deals with leading American broadcasters. He was closely involved in a variety of key national events, including the Funeral Service for Diana, Princess of Wales. He is in wide demand as a speaker at a wide variety of events, including international inter faith conferences, literary festivals, and academic symposia. 

      In 1997 he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council for Christians and Jews for his contribution to Inter Faith understanding. He has First Class Degrees in Theology and in History and Politics which helped fuel his passion for the study of world religions and the way in which they impact on the ancient and modern worlds. He was one time Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Education at Manchester University.

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    • John Sherlock

      John Sherlock

      Winchester College and Oxford University

      Cruises:

      Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-09-24 Grand Adriatic & Aegean Experience - 2019-09-18
      John Sherlock was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University. He runs a specialist consultancy advising the owners of the UK’s great houses, gardens and landscapes on how to better engage and inspire the visiting public. He has completed projects for the National Trust, The Crown Estate and the Historic Houses Association.

      John Sherlock was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University. He runs a specialist consultancy advising the owners of the UK’s great houses, gardens and landscapes on how to better engage and inspire the visiting public. He has completed projects for the National Trust, The Crown Estate and the Historic Houses Association.

      John has been accredited as a lecturer by the Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) and has lectured on various ships. An audience member said he was "Clear, concise, inspirational and very entertaining". Another commented "The best lectures I have ever attended on a cruise."

      John has the knack of making his talks fun, even though there's a lot of content! When working at Windsor Great Park, he was selected to make a presentation to HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle.

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    • Lars Tharp

      Lars Tharp

      Ceramics and Oriental Art Specialist and Broadcaster

      Cruises:

      Italian & Adriatic Highlights - 2019-09-04 Grand Italy, Dalmatia & Greece - 2019-09-04
      Born in 1954 in Copenhagen and educated in England Lars was influenced from an early age by his Danish grandfather - a classical philologist, archaeologist and museum curator. As a freelance broadcaster he worked regularly with the BBC: from 1986 to 2018 a familiar face  as the ceramics expert on the Antiques Roadshow.

      Born in 1954 in Copenhagen and educated in England Lars was influenced from an early age by his Danish grandfather - a classical philologist, archaeologist and museum curator. In the 1970s he read archaeology ('Arch and Anth') at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University. The Master of his college was the legendary Joseph Needham, genius of the multi-volume History of Chinese Science and Civilization (CUP).  Influenced by Professor Needham Lars worked at Sotheby’s specialising in Chinese Ceramics under the late Julian Thompson,  becoming director and auctioneer, and representing the company throughout its European offices.  

       As a freelance broadcaster he works regularly with the BBC: from 1986 to today Lars has remained a familiar face as the ceramics expert on the Antiques Roadshow, plus dozens of TV and Radio programmes including his own series, Inside Antiques (BBC2), Hidden Treasures (chairman and writer, Radio 4), and on the Art of the Baroque (Radio 2), not to mention the occasional contribution to Woman's Hour  - on Scandinavian knitwear and on Archive on Four with Men in Bow Ties.  In 2011 and 2013 Lars filmed two documentaries on the China Trade shown on the BBC that are still syndicated throughout the world: Treasures of Chinese Porcelain and China in Six Easy Pieces.  He also filmed One Man and his Pug - a journey with William Hogarth and his pet dogs, in the hope of re-discovering the long-missing terracotta model by L-F Roubiliac.

      Before two recent series of Griff Rys Jones's Quizeum he has appeared in several light-hearted programmes including Call My Bluff and was on the victorious team of University Challenge Christmas 2013 (Gonville and Caius Alumni)

      Lars is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and serves on the Court of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, London’s oldest recorded guild dating from 1130.

      Today he lives with his family in Leicestershire from where he runs the Lars Tharp business.

      Bibliography:

      Hogarth’s China (1997); the Little Brown Encyclopaedia of Antiques (with Paul Atterbury); Treasures in your Home (Reader’s Digest, with editor David Battie); and two books for the BBC under the Roadshow banner, one on Fakes, the other on 20th Century Antiques.
       

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    • Prof NANCY WILKIE

      Prof NANCY WILKIE

      Carleton College, Northfield

      Cruises:

      Dalmatia & Ancient Greece - 2019-09-18 Classical Greece & Islands of the Aegean - 2019-09-24 Grand Italy, Dalmatia & Greece - 2019-09-04 Grand Adriatic & Aegean Experience - 2019-09-18
      Nancy Wilkie, lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota), is a distinguished archaeologist and professor who has lectured to acclaim on numerous educational tours and cruises throughout the Mediterranean. She is William H. Laird Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and the Liberal Arts, Emerita, at Carleton College, where she was co-coordinator of the Archaeology Concentration.

      Nancy Wilkie, lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota), is a distinguished archaeologist and professor who has lectured to acclaim on numerous educational tours and cruises throughout the Mediterranean. She is William H. Laird Professor of Classics, Anthropology, and the Liberal Arts, Emerita, at Carleton College, where she was co-coordinator of the Archaeology Concentration.

      Nancy has worked on archaeological projects in Greece, Egypt, and Nepal, authored more than 30 articles, and co-edited three books on archaeology. From 1998-2002 she served as President of the AIA, and in 2009-10 she was the AIA’s Charles Eliot Norton lecturer, one of the highest honors that the Institute bestows. In April 2003 the President appointed Nancy to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee of the U.S. State Department, on which she continues to serve. In April 2013 she was elected President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, an organization dedicated to the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict.

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    • Christopher Walton

      Christopher Walton

      Author and Journalist

      Cruises:

      Italian & Adriatic Highlights - 2019-09-04 Grand Italy, Dalmatia & Greece - 2019-09-04
      Chris has lived and worked in Cape Town and London, with stints in New York, Hong Kong, Europe and Australia. He worked as a journalist in Cape Town during the apartheid era before a moving to one of the world’s largest publishing companies in 1981, becoming South African Editor-in-Chief three years later. In 1997 he transferred with the company to London as International Editor General Books, responsible for editorial content worldwide.

      Chris has lived and worked in Cape Town and London, with stints in New York, Hong Kong, Europe and Australia. He worked as a journalist in Cape Town during the apartheid era before a moving to one of the world’s largest publishing companies in 1981, becoming South African Editor-in-Chief three years later. In 1997 he transferred with the company to London as International Editor General Books, responsible for editorial content worldwide.

      He has travelled to more than 140 countries, edited and published books on subjects as diverse as travel, law, medicine, history and cookery. He helped open new markets for books in Eastern Europe, and spearheaded the drive into teaching English as a foreign language.

      Since his retirement, he has been a lecturer on board cruise ships, specialising in Italian and South African history, food and culture. To date he has given over 160 lectures on 80 different subjects and destinations - from South America and the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Middle and Far East.

      Chris’s very close knowledge of the Mediterranean area stems from his marriage in 1986 to his Italian-born wife, Daniela, and is fluent in Italian. He spends part of every year in Italy.

      When not working, Chris is passionate about photography and music - and collects hand-made acoustic guitars. 

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