The Golden Age of Dutch Art

10 week course: 10th January - 27th March 2020

Dutch painting of the seventeenth-century is almost always referred to as the Golden Age, a period which encompasses some of the world's greatest and most popular Old Masters including Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and Vermeer. Their paintings demonstrate a hitherto unparalleled degree of finish and technical virtuosity, as well as great diversity in terms of theme, genre and scale. Explore their life and works in this new course led by Siân Walters, with a special guest lecture by the Head of the National Trust's Painting and Sculpture Collections, David Taylor. A study day at the Wallace Collection including refreshments is included.

The remarkable industrial and commercial activity that followed the creation of a united and independent Dutch Republic turned the country into one of the most powerful nations of the world during the 1600s. Trade and commerce flourished and the prosperity of the country was now controlled by the newly emerging regent and merchant classes, keen to record their achievements through the acquisition of art.  A vast range of genres appeared at this time with subjects to suit all tastes and pockets, from majestic marine scenes and landscapes to exquisite flower paintings, portraits and genre scenes. The course will cover Dutch masterpieces thematically within their political, religious, social and economic context. Discover the secrets of The Night Watch by Rembrandt, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals and many more.

We are delighted to welcome a special guest lecturer David Taylor, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture for the National Trust. David took on this important role in 2012 and is responsible for over 13,500 paintings. He is an expert on 16th and 17th century portraiture and has recently been responsible for a major exhibition of works in the National Trust at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. He will discuss Dutch art in the context of the Trust’s rich and varied collections, making mention of a recent Rembrandt discovery at Buckland Abbey in Devon as well as the forthcoming Ashmolean exhibition, The Young Rembrandt, which opens in February 2020.

Art History in Focus’s courses are characterised by a relaxed and entertaining learning environment, which often allows for lively discussion. Lectures last two hours with a break for refreshments, and the talks are illustrated by high quality digital images. A study day at the Wallace Collection is included.

Lectures are on Friday mornings and run from 11.15-1.15; doors open at 11.00

Please note, January 17th and February 21st will be afternoon sessions from 2.30-4.30. There are no lectures on February 14th or March 20th.


Further Information

Location and Directions
Churchgate House Centre
Downside Bridge Rd
Cobham, Surrey, KT11 3EJ.

To view a map of the Churchgate House Centre location click here

There is free parking at the centre, although if you are unable to find a space you can park in one of the nearby roads or in the pay and display car park on Hollyhedge Road. There is further free parking on the left just over the bridge on Downside Bridge Road.

The course is open for all to join. If you would like to attend please fill in the online booking form. If you would prefer to send a booking form by post please download a copy here.

Once your booking has been accepted, we will notify you by email. If you have not received an email confirmation, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders. If you have not received a confirmation please do contact us to ensure that we have received your booking.

If you are unable to make a session you are welcome to invite a friend or relative who can replace you, just let us know a few days in advance.

We regret we are unable to offer refunds on unused course subscriptions, but your place may be transferred to someone else if you are unable to attend (please provide their name in advance, thank you)

A detailed lesson plan will be emailed to all participants approximately one week before the course begins.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event


  • Discover masterpieces from Rembrandt to Vermeer
  • Guest Lecture by Head of National Trust Art Collections
  • Tour of Dutch Art at the Wallace Collection included
  • Meet people with similar interests
  • Refreshments included



To book, please complete our online booking form.

Book this course / event

If you have any questions regarding the course or booking please send us an email or
call on +44 (0)1932 267322

Recommended Reading

Visit the AHF bookstore for a list of recommended books and products to accompany this course/event.


Print details

Email details to a friend

Become a Friend of AHF

Enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including prize draws, special events and priority booking

More Info

Loyalty Scheme

Enjoy a gift selection of fine wines for every 4 tours you book with us

More Info

ahf on facebook

Discuss AHF events online and get to know other members

More Info