Special Gallery Events

Picture this:
Writers' talks in the Courtauld Gallery

Ruth Padel, Somerset House Writer in Residence, invited six eminent writers from different genres to give a series of exclusive talks about their favourite painting in The Courtauld Gallery.

Thu 20 Nov


Philip Pullman
on Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Wed 26 Nov

Hisham Matar
on Cranach's Adam and Eve

Thu 4 Dec


Julia Neuberger
on Pissarro's Lordship Lane Station

Wed 10 Dec


Colm Tóibín
on Cézanne's Route Tournante


Thu 15 Jan

Jackie Kay
on Degas's Woman at a Window and Lady with a Parasol

Wed 21 Jan

Gillian Beer
on Vanessa Bell's Conversation

Vanessa Bell - Edouard Manet - Edgar Degas

Each writer was asked to choose a work that particularly engages, challenges, provokes or delights them, and they presented their personal reflections during a talk for a small audience, directly in front of the painting.

To here podcasts of the talks click here.

“I wanted to hear other writers, people whose professional life depends on listening to their own imagination, responding to these paintings. Not in art historical ways but personally and imaginatively. I wondered if discovering how one painting matters to one person might shed interesting light on what a great art gallery is for. What does a painting do to us? Where can it take us?

Ruth Padel, Writer in Residence at Somerset House