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Lecturing with P&O Cruises

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  The Aurora

November 2010 - John Sherlock has returned from a second lecturing tour - this time aboard P&O Cruises' ship Aurora. His lectures series "Europe's Greatest Architects" features many British buildings, and the series promotes Friends membership of the UK's Historic Houses Association.

Here are some of the comments fed back:

"Many thanks for ... your entertaining and informative talks whilst on board Aurora. ... I was hooked from the start ... Your excellent timeline gave the historical dimension ... "

"Can I also add how much I enjoyed your lectures - they went deep enough to encourage the need to know more, but were not too technical, which would have scared off a novice. It was good to see your audiences increasing each time."

"Thanks ... for the lectures on the cruise. You have definitely changed me, I now cannot help reading building facades on the television or when I am travelling... and this has prompted me to understand more about architecture."

Commenting on the lecture series, John says "The history of architecture is an aspirational subject - something that most people wish they knew more about, if only they had the time to learn. Indeed many people feel a slight (usually undisclosed) embarrassment that, on entering a great cathedral or palace, they are not able to read the rudimentary architectural language of the building. In fact the 'language of architecture' has a vocabulary that can be easily learnt. Once learnt, there is great satisfaction in recognising key elements (such as a Greek column or a Roman arch) and identifying how these elements have been integrated into building design across the centuries and across the continent."

It's a topic that links distant destinations with home-sweet-home. P&O's destinations - especially in the Mediterranean - are rich with examples of fine historic architecture and the lectures pick out iconic examples to illustrate key patterns and techniques. But the audience soon find that theses same patterns are equally identifiable in the major historic buildings of the UK - be they cathedrals, country houses or public buildings. So the lectures help people to trace the links by which architectural elements conceived by the ancient Greeks - centuries before Christ - have been copied, modified, enhanced, forgotten, revived and reworked to produce a Venetian church fašade, a Moorish palace in Spain, an English country house or a French cathedral.

John Sherlock is an unbridled enthusiast for his subject. His work with JDD specialises in heritage visitor destinations. He has completed in-depth projects for The National Trust, The Crown Estate and individual member houses of The Historic Houses Association. In each case, his work is focused on how the building and landscape can be better understood and 'read' by the visitor.