Presented by Connie Gray (Accredited lecturer for The Arts Society)

Fashion Illustration Lecture Titles Include:

  • The Golden Age of Fashion Illustration 1909 – 1945
  • Post War Fashion Illustration & the Artists of Today
  • René Gruau & The Art of Dior
  • ‘Call for the Sketcher’: Fashion Artists in Vogue

With a background in fashion and broadcasting, Connie is a specialist in the history of 20th century fashion illustration and its powerful legacy with both the most influential fashion publications internationally and the great couture houses of Paris, London and New York. She is regularly invited to lecture in the UK and US and sits on advisory boards at The Coutauld Institute of Art, London and Special Collections at FIT, New York. As a curator and archivist, she works closely with institutions and foundations on acquisitions, conservation and exhibition projects. She has been invited to curate specialist exhibitions including Legends Only at Claridge’s Hotel, London in 2022, and 100 Years of Fashion Illustration at The Society of Illustrators, New York. Other specialist exhibitions have included Cunard’s Transatlantic Fashion Cruise on their flagship ship QM2. As the lead curator for Gray M.C.A, she curates the acclaimed exhibition Drawing on Style each year that celebrates the masters of fashion illustration alongside running comprehensive lecture programmes that accompany the exhibitions in London and New York. She also presents a series of on-line masterclasses, talks and short films on fashion illustration.

“Connie Gray’s knowledge of fashion illustration is peerless. Through her curation, related events, and her own lectures, she is changing the ways we understand and appreciate these often-overlooked artists and asserting their place within art history”.

Dr Rebecca Arnold FHEA, Senior Lecturer in History of Dress, The Courtauld, London

‘Connie gave us a wonderful insight into the work of the fashion illustrators of the 20th century – especially as at the last minute we had to convert to zoom – which she delivered with aplomb. Her natural charm and of course her extensive knowledge of her subject was exceptional”.

Angela Bailey, Chair, West of England Costume Society

Presented by Ashley Gray (Director of Gray M.C.A and Accredited lecturer for The Arts Society)

Artist Textiles – Lecture Titles Include:

1. Textile Revolution: Post War Female Designers
The history of Britain is intricately woven with the history of textiles. Following World War II there was a desire for change, colour, and inspiration in the home. This energy and innovation was led by female textile designers destined to revolutionise design internationally for decades to come. This lecture celebrates their vision, their influences and their determination that successfully brought modern and contemporary art into the home through their designs and thereby democratising modern art for the first time by making it literally a part of the furniture.

2. The Post War Textile Visionaries of Modern Art 1: Ascher, Modernism, Textiles, Art and Fashion
Czech emigrees Zika and Lida Ascher left Prague on Honeymoon in 1939 never to return. Fleeing to London they were initially under the wing of designer Edward Molyneux. Post War, the Aschers modernist aesthetic was set to take London by storm. From Henry Moore to Felix Topolsky, from Andres Derain to Henri Matisse, Asher was at the cutting edge of Modern Artist Textiles. The famous Asher Squares became a modernist and fashion phenomenon and were exhibited in both luxury stores and prestigious galleries word wide. Through Ascher, Modern Art was literally stepping out into the street.

3. The Post War Textile Visionaries of Modern Art 2: Edinburgh Weavers, Design, Textiles and Modernism in the home
Tells the story of a small department established within Carlisle textile giants Morton Sundour, under the direction of Alastair Morton. It became the catalyst for the fusion of modern art and textiles that would see Ben Nicholson, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Alan Reynolds, William Scott & more brought into the home through there powerful textile designs. Morton understood how to translate their work into vibrant and exciting textiles that truly democratised modern art by making it literally a part of the furniture.

4. The Coventry Tapestry – Graham Sutherland, Basil Spence, Modernism and the Phoenix of Coventry
A clash of traditionalists and progressives that produced one of the world’s most stunning jewellery boxes of modem art and design and Modern British Art’s most impressive tapestry. From the tragic night of 14th November 1940 to the the Consecration Ceremony of 1962 this lecture will introduce the Modernist artists and sculptors and celebrate the Vast Coventry Tapestry by Sutherland ‘Christ in Glory.

5. A Yorkshire Textile Renaissance: Tom Heron, Cryséde and Cresta at the birth of Modernism
A dramatic story unfolds, beginning in the early 1900s, taking us from the textile heartlands of West Yorkshire via Alfred Orage’s influential Leeds Arts Club to the rugged coasts and artistic communities of West Cornwall. From the influence of the fauvists to the evolution of block printing. From fashion between the wars to the utility clothing scheme and the rise of the Garden City’s. This is a dramatic and truly epic story of a textile visionary – Tom Heron, father of the St Ives artist Patrick Heron. A story that combines the grit of D H Lawrence with the romance of Ross Poldark. This lecture tells the story of creativity, determination, passion, and resilience of a true textile Maverik.

6. Textiles of the W.P.A. & The New Deal 1935-1943
The inspirational project launched in Wisconsin during the Great Depression by Elsa Ulbricht a Director of the Milwaukee Art Institute . Through textiles, sewing, weaving and block printing, over 9,000 unskilled women desperate for work were able to put food on the table for their families in the age of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Funded under President Franklin Roosevelt’s W.P.A. the Milwaukee project was revolutionary for its time This lecture looks at the history of this inspirational arts project that through textiles, literally put food on the table at the depths of the great American Depression.

“Ashley Gray of Gray MCA’s 2016 BADA Lecture “The Post War Textile Visionaries of Modern Art” was a tour de force! It was the most anticipated and best attended lecture. His vivid depiction of the importance of the 1950’s & 60’s commissions from Edinburgh Weavers and Ascher from the giants of Modernism was a revelation. No wonder collectors world wide are hunting down these rare and stunning gems of the era.”

Marco Forgione, Chief Executive, BADA

Vetting, Judging & Advisory Roles:

Gray M.C.A is regularly represented on Vetting Committees and Judging panels.
Gray M.C.A sits on the Advisory Board of the Frances Neady Collection at FIT, New York and The Documenting Fashion Research Forum at The Courtuald Institute of Art.

For enquires regarding lecture bookings please email gallery@graymca.com.