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Delta Lecture: ‘The Ambassadors’

Spring, 1998

IT is the turn of the Museum (among its co-sponsors, the Whipple Museum and the South Kensington Institute for the History of Technology) to host the next Delta Lecture. The lecture will be held on Friday 22nd May at 6 p.m.

The lecturer will be the former member of the Museum staff and distinguished historian of astronomy, John North, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Groningen. His title will be “The Ambassadors’ Secret: a new study of Holbein’s painting”. Professor North will elaborate on his new interpretation of the famous double portrait.

Following the recent exhibition at the National Gallery, to which the Museum contributed most of the instruments displayed, there has been great interest in The Ambassadors. Although generally considered the artist’s masterpiece, the painting remains enigmatic. Professor North’s new interpretation promises to go a long way in unpacking the composition, especially as concerns the significance of the instruments portrayed.

The Museum expects this to be the most popular lecture it has ever mounted. Admission will be free but, since accommodation in the basement is limited, a ticketing arrangement will operate. A seat will be guaranteed to anyone who writes to the Museum by the 18th May, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, and who presents their ticket by 5.50 p.m. on the day of the lecture. After this time, admission will be open to all-comers.