7th to 23rd July 2017

A happy marriage of opera, music and books - 00 days to go!

Box Office: 01298 72190

Literary Lunch

Featuring Matthew Dennison, Marina Warner and Clare Hartwell
About the event


Matthew Dennison on The Life of Beatrix Potter

Marina Warner with A Short History of Fairy Tale

Clare Hartwell on Derbyshire. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England

Beatrix Potter is one of the world’s bestselling, most cherished authors, whose books have enchanted generations of children for over a hundred years. Yet how she achieved this legendary status is just one of several stories of Beatrix Potter’s remarkable and unexpected life. Inspired by the 23 ‘tales’, Matthew Dennison explores Beatrix Potter’s multi-faceted life and character: repressed Victorian daughter; thwarted lover; artistic genius; formidable countrywoman. He charts her transformation from a young girl with a love of animals and fairy tales into a bestselling author and canny businesswoman, so deeply unusual for the Victorian era in which she grew up.

Few forms of literature have greater power to enchant us and rekindle our imagination than a fairy tale. But what is a fairy tale? Where do they come from and what do they mean? What do they try and communicate to us about morality, sexuality, and society? The range of fairy tales stretches across great distances and time; their history is entangled with folklore and myth, and their inspiration draws on ideas about nature and the supernatural, imagination and fantasy, psychoanalysis, and feminism. Marina Warner has loved fairy tales over a long writing life, and she explores here a multitude of tales through the ages, their different manifestations on the page, the stage, and the screen.

Described as ‘county of contrasts’, home to an amazingly diverse assortment of landmarks, Derbyshire includes an array of distinguished country houses including Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall. 17th-century highlights include the adventurous architecture of Bolsover Castle and the Baroque splendours of Chatsworth, while the dazzling Neoclassical interiors of Kedleston Hall are the summit of the county’s many Georgian achievements. Numerous spa towns, pioneering industrial settlements, and parish churches from Anglo-Saxon to modern are also included. The settings range from the Trent valley to the sublime landscape of the Peak District, making Derbyshire one of England’s most visually arresting counties. Clare Hartwell give us an architectural insight into the county we love.

Pumpkin and Parmesan Soup
Confit of Duck Terrine with Spiced Fig
Spinach and Salmon Tartlet with Crisp Salad
Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Rich Roast Gravy
Fragrant Tomato and Courgette Curry with tomato Quinoa
Baked Cod Tapenade
All served with Roast Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables
Fruit Stuffed Baked Apple with Caramel and sauce Anglaise
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Crème Fresh
Plum and Apple Crumble with Vanilla ice cream
Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours


Sunday 20 November


12 noon

Price Range



Old Hall Hotel

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