lecture-postSample Lectures by Canon Dr Anne Davison
Accredited Lecturer, National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS)
Talks are available with or without Powerpoint and can be tailored to suit the particular needs of the audience.  It is also possible to cover some of these topics in greater depth in the form of a Study Day.  If you would like to discuss the possibility of a one off talk or a Study Day please get in touch using the Contact Form.


CARAVAGGIO:  Rogue and Genius

Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, better known as Caravaggio, was born in Northern Italy in 1571.  After studying art in Milan he travelled to Rome where he became a renowned Baroque painter receiving commissions from the Papal court and Roman aristocracy.

There was, however, a darker side to his life that resulted in him becoming a fugitive. While still on the run from the police and Papal authorities, he died mysteriously on a deserted beach at the age of 39. This talk tells his story.


THE CRUSADES:  A Holy War for a Holy Land

In 1095 the Pope called on the Kings and people of Western Europe to join a Crusade aimed at liberating the city of Jerusalem from the ‘barbaric Turks’. Between 1096 and 1204 four crusading armies travelled across Europe, through Anatolia, towards the Holy Land.

This talk begins by looking at the context of the Middle East at the time. It then goes on to tell of the people who joined the Crusades and why they went. The final part looks at the repercussions of the Crusades for Christian/Muslim relations today


THE MILITARY KNIGHTS: The Military Order of St John and the Knights Templar

At the time of the First Crusade in 1099, two powerful military orders were founded in Jerusalem. The Knights of St John, originally known as the Knights Hospitaller, were established in order to care for the sick and injured. The Knights Templar were given the role of protecting Christian pilgrims and the people of the Crusader States from the Muslims.

The Knights Templar were disbanded in the early 14th Century while the Knights of St John are still a world-wide organisation. This talk traces the history of the two Orders.



We look at the story of Abraham, who is said to have lived around 1800 BCE. He is considered by Jews, Christians and Muslims to be the first Patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; hence these Faiths are often referred to as the ‘Abrahamic Faiths’.

Whether or not Abraham really did exist, his legacy through literature and painting has survived down the centuries. This talk illustrates some of the greatest works of art depicting the life of Abraham.

Lecture: The Legacy of Martin Luther


When Martin Luther, a German monk, priest and theologian pinned his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of Wittenberg Church in 1517, he little knew what he was unleashing.

The act eventually led to the Protestant Reformation, which would split the Western Church in two, lead to widespread social upheaval and eventually war. It also changed the face of central Europe forever.

Lecture: The Copts of Egypt

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According to tradition, St Mark the Evangelist travelled to Egypt where he founded the Coptic Church in the First Century.

At this time the Church came under severe persecution from the Roman Empire and it is in this context that the first monasteries were founded in the deserts of Egypt.

This talk traces the history of the Coptic Church, monasticism and the life of the desert fathers, all brought to life with the aid of paintings, icons and frescoes.


Paul of Tarsus: a First Century Radical


It is often said that without Paul the Apostle there would have been no Christian Church.

Certainly it was Paul who took the message of Christ beyond the region of Palestine to the Gentiles of Asia Minor and it was Paul who established the first Churches across Anatolia and beyond into the Greek Peninsula. It is arguable that if it had not been for Paul, the Church would not have become the worldwide Faith that it is today.

From the Sands of Saudi Arabia to the Glory of the Gulf: a History of Islam

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Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity and large Muslim communities now live in Europe and North America.

 We frequently hear of Christian/Muslim tensions and even a ‘clash of civilisations’.

Jerusalem, the Eternal City

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Most people, even if they have never visited Jerusalem, will probably have some sort of image of the city in their minds.

 Certainly this is likely to be the case for anyone from a Jewish, Christian or Muslim background.   This is because for all three Faiths, often referred to as the Abrahamic Faiths, Jerusalem is a sacred city. But for millennia the city has been a centre of conflict, right up until the present day.

The Rise and Fall of the Byzantine Empire

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In the fourth century AD the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great decided to make the Greek city of Byzantion, which stood on the Bosphorus, his new capital city and he named it Constantinople.


The Path of the Buddha

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Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, was born in Northern India sometime between 600 and 400 BCE.

He was born into a Hindu family but felt a strong inner dissatisfaction that eventually led him to follow the life of the ascetic and contemplative.

The Many Faces of Hinduism

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Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world and probably the most diverse.

It manifests itself in hundreds of different forms with as many different deities and incarnations.

Caravaggio and the Knights of St John: A Strange Relationship

Caravaggio and the Knights of St John

In July AD 1607, at the age of 38, Michaelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, was invested as a Knight of the Order of St John of Malta.

At the time he was on the run from the Italian authorities, having committed murder.  It might seem strange that he should join a Religious Order that was dedicated to Holiness, celibacy and unquestioned obedience to the Grand Master.

The Magnificence of the Mughals

TAJ Mahal India

For almost 300 years, between 1526 and 1858, the Mughals, a Muslim dynasty, ruled most of the Indian subcontinent.

Their leaders came from Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Holy Roman Empire: Power, Politics and the Papacy

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Voltaire famously said that ‘the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire’.

In this he was right. How then did this ‘federation’ of European principalities and kingdoms with no imperial city and constantly shifting alliances and boundaries, come to be described as such?  Furthermore, how did it manage to survive for some 1,000 years?

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

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The Ottoman Empire lasted from AD 1299 until AD 1923; a period of over six hundred years.

For much of this time the entire region of the Eastern Mediterranean came under Ottoman Muslim rule. The first three centuries were a time of energy and expansion.

From the Medes to the Mullahs: a History of Iran

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The history of Iran, or Persia, is rich and complex.

 It is a history that is perhaps unknown, forgotten or ignored by many people who look at today’s Islamic Republic of Iran.