Somerset Day 2021: A Celebration of our County, its History and People


Day course

Joanna Cobb

11 May 2021


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Timed to coincide exactly with Somerset Day on 11th May, this course aims to bring into focus the rich history, culture and people associated with the county, and to place them within the broader context of national and international events and developments.

Although by necessity a digest, this course takes a broad sweep through the history of Somerset and its people, from the ancient Sweet Track to Glastonbury through to the 21st century. Our journey is intersected by and woven into some of the most significant events in national and world history, including Roman occupation, Arthurian legend, Alfred the Great and the birth of the nation, civil and world war, Reformation, as well as revolutions aplenty.

Joanna will also take us on a virtual tour of her imaginary self-curated exhibition of works of art on view in Somerset, chosen not only from major galleries such as the Holburne in Bath but also lesser known public spaces including Art for Life at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton.

Tutor information

Joanna is an independent art historian, researcher, lecturer, and retired history teacher with over 20 years’ experience up to A level and Oxbridge entrance. She holds a B.Ed. degree and an MA in History of Art with Distinction from Birkbeck, University of London, which included modules on the Northern and Venetian Renaissance, and 18th century British art. Subsequent research towards a PhD has centred on the 18th century London art world. Her article, ‘From Parrots to Princes: Exhibitions of Contemporary Stained Glass in Late Eighteenth-century London’. appeared in the online journal Vidimus, Issue 53, July/August 2011. In keeping with her support for lifelong learning in its fullest sense, she presents her independent series of art history lectures across a range of venues in Somerset and has also taught U3A groups in Glastonbury and Wells, as well lectured sixth formers, parents and teachers at Wells Cathedral School. Future projects include short courses for several branches of the WEA, a special presentation for the Western Front Association to coincide with commemorations of the Armistice in 1918, additional lectures at Wells Cathedral School and a collaboration with Wells Film Centre. Her art historical interests include patronage, display, spectatorship, the changing status of art and artists, and the roles and achievement of women as artists. Central to her approach is an understanding of the context in which works of art were produced and experienced, in order to allow the ‘bigger picture’ surrounding them to emerge and in so doing enrich and enlarge the encounter.

Covid information

Dillington House wishes to reassure everyone that we are working closely with Somerset County Council to ensure every measure is being taken to make Dillington House a safe place for everyone.

All course participants will be sent further guidance prior to the course date.

Dillington House is following Government guidelines and adhering to new guidance including local or national lockdowns.

All places booked can be transferred or refunded in the event this course is cancelled. Individuals who are affected by local lockdowns will be able to transfer to an alternative course. All other terms and conditions apply.