The Artistic Feast

The sustenance provided by food and drink is a cornerstone of human existence. However, within the context of painting, food and drink depicted in art has always meant more than just a meal. Depictions of food, tableware and glassware and even table linens may convey societal observation about the owner’s prosperity; the happiness of their marital relationships; the quality of their parenting; as well as whether the patron had a simple fondness for cake.

In this lecture, Angus Haldane will illustrate paintings of food and drink from the ancient world through to the 20th century. From Vermeer’s depiction of milk and bread to Velasquez’s vision of fried eggs, Angus will explore still life paintings the messages portrayed through eating. He will examine the language of food and discuss the vernacular of feasting in art with its hidden imagery of cheese, oysters, wine, beer and gin. Whether it is Van Gogh’s depiction Potato Eaters in a humble cottage to Wayne Thiebaud’s almost edible depictions of sweet treats and milkshakes, we will discover who was eating what, with whom and for what reason. We will enter the kitchens of the poor, the dining rooms of the rich and interrogate the changing tastes of the centuries. Join him on this journey from the coffee house to the pub and follow the gradual movement from virtuous mid-morning snack to late evening delicacies, inebriation, and decadence.

Oil painting on three joined oak panels, A Maid in a Kitchen with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary in the background by Joachim Beuckelaer (Antwerp c.1533 ? Antwerp 1574), circa 1565.

Angus Haldane, Art Consultant

Angus is the Director of Haldane Fine Art, an art dealership and consultancy based in London. He is also an independent curator and art historian. Angus studied classics at Oxford University, specializing in history, literature and antique sculpture and graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Fine Arts with an MA in Byzantine and early Renaissance art. He worked for many years as a senior specialist in paintings at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

In addition to art dealing, he has catalogued museum collections and regularly serves as an Expert Advisor to the British Government. Angus has appeared as an art commentator on the BBC and CNN. His first book is Face of War: Portraits of the English Civil Wars and a second volume on the Portraiture of the American War of Revolution is soon to be forthcoming. He is a frequent and popular lecturer for Royal Oak.


Tuesday, December 7 at 6:15 p.m.

The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesman Library

2o West 44th Street (Between 5th and 6th Ave.)

 $30 Members ; $35 Non-Members and Guests

Register for In-Person

When hosting in-person events, Royal Oak must comply with all state and local laws. All attendees must show proof of vaccination via their vaccination card, a legible copy of vaccination card, or Excelsior pass (where applicable) to gain admittance. Royal Oak is not responsible for venue policies or requirements.
If you are unable to attend in person, a recording of this lecture will be available for RENT December 8th for 5 days.


Between Wednesday, December 8 to Tuesday, December 21

Rent the recorded lecture to watch at your leisure

$15 Members ; $20 Non-Members

Register to Rent

The Zoom video link will be sent to you on Wednesday, December 8 at 12:00 p.m. noon (eastern).
Please check your spam or junk folder if you do not receive the link in your inbox. If it is not there by 1:30 p.m. (eastern), contact us right away at
The rental video will be hosted on the Zoom website and only available for streaming until Monday, December 13 at 11:59 p.m. (eastern).  The video will not be available after that date and time. It cannot be downloaded.
*If you are a Royal Oak member, you must be signed into the website to register as a member. Click the sign in button at the top right of the shopping cart. Add the standard ticket to the cart and the discount will apply at check out.