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25 April 2018A Load of Old Balls
23 May 2018Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion
27 June 2018Same Old, Same New
18 July 2018Going Potty about Commodes
26 September 2018Two Gustavs: Mahler and Klint
24 October 2018Gold in Japanese Art: Sacred & Profane
28 November 2018Santa Claus – the art that turns him from St Nicholas into Father Christmas

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A Load of Old Balls Simon Inglis Wednesday 25 April 2018

According to historian Barbara Tuchman, the invention of the ball ranks as highly as the invention of the wheel. Simon Inglis agrees, especially after spending years delving into cubbyholes at pavilions and museums, in workshops and factories, finding out how these apparently simple objects came into being and how their design and manufacture has evolved. He asks, why are marbles glass? Why did the discovery of gutta percha transform golf? Why were games such as lawn tennis and ping pong made possible only in the mid 19th century? Why did some billiard balls explode, and why are rugby balls such an odd shape? In 1853 the ingredients of one manufacturer's cricket balls were listed as cork, worsted, hemp, brown oats, suet, lard, alum, stale ale and dragon's blood. Can this really be true, or is it, perhaps, just a load of old balls?

Note: Simon will bring along examples of old balls for passing round.