Ancient Athens and Old Aberdeen brought together in new public lecture series

Ancient Athens and Old Aberdeen brought together in new public lecture series

A leading scholar of the classics and award winning author will bring a modern perspective to art and antiques in a series of public talks.

Cambridgeprofessor, Mary Beard, will present From Ancient Athens to Old Aberdeen: artists and archaeologists, travellers and tourists in the nineteenth century beginning on November 10.

She will explore the changing engagement with classical archaeology and art of different social groups and classes of nineteenth century society. 

Professor Beard is in the Granite City in her capacity as 2009 Geddes-Harrower Chair of Greek Art and Archaeology, a visiting professorship at the University of Aberdeen.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts as well as the Society of Antiquaries and has curated several exhibitions, most recently "From Ancient Art to Post-Impressionism" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. 

Professor Beard is the author or co-author of over 60 articles and nine books on topics ranging from Greek and Roman religion, epigraphy, art history, social history, and literature, to the history of the museum and the reception of Classics in the modern world. 

Her most recent book Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (2008) won the Wolfson History Prize.  She is also Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement and author of the immensely popular Times Online blog 'A Don's Life'.

The Geddes-Harrower Chair was established in 1960 with funds bequeathed by John Harrow, Regius Professor of Greek from 1886 to 1931, whose wish it was that the Chair should commemorate not only himself but also his predecessor in the Chair, Sir William Geddes, later Principal of the University.

It is a visiting professorship and each person appointed is invited to spend from six to ten weeks in Aberdeen. During this time the holder is expected to deliver a series of public lectures and to undertake teaching on Greek art and archaeology.

Professor Chris Gane, Head of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Aberdeen, said: “The Geddes-Harrower Chair has attracted the world’s foremost scholars to the University of Aberdeen and we are delighted that Professor Beard will now take her place among them.

“This year the lectures have a local flavour and promise to provide a fascinating insight into society’s changing engagement with art and archaeology.

“The University has an excellent collection of books and periodicals in the field of Greek art and archaeology in the library and the Museum in Marischal College has some fine Greek vases, coins and other antiquities.

“I’m sure the 2009 Geddes-Harrower lectures will appeal to members of the public and the academic community alike.”

Professor Beard will deliver public lectures at the King’s College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen, at 6pm on Tuesday November 10, Thursday November 12, Tuesday November 17, Thursday November 19 and Tuesday November 24.

The final lecture on Tuesday November 24 will be followed by a reception in the James MacKay Hall, King's College Conference Centre.

To reserve your free place please call 01224 272084, or email