Due to continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty around travel arrangements, following consultation with our hosts and our volunteers we took the difficult decision to cancel The Friends' programme of working parties for 2020.

However, all the working weeks have been rolled over to the equivalent weeks in 2021. Most of the 2020 participants have transferred their bookings to those dates. The dates for 2021 are:

Červený Dvůr
22nd - 29th May, 29th May - 5th June 2021

Žďár nad Sázavou
5th - 12th June 2021

Teplice nad Metuji
4th - 11th September 2021

Krásný Dvůr
11th - 18th September 2021

If you are interested in being involved in a working party, please do contact us.

A Talk by Caroline Cannon-Brookes on Tuesday 5th November 2019 at 6.30pm in the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY

Spranger Minervas victory over IgnoranceUnder Rudolf II, Prague again became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the example of his Habsburg ancestors, he assembled an exceptional collection of works of art for which the imperial palace on Hradčany was adapted. He patronised painters, sculptors, goldsmiths who flocked to Prague, and also men of learning including Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. For a brief period Prague became the most important cultural centre in Europe.

Caroline Cannon-Brookes, art historian, was trained at the Courtauld and teaches at the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education. She has led many tours to the Czech Republic to which she is a regular visitor


Image: Spranger ;Minerva's Victory over Ignorance' from Rudolf II's collections

An Illustrated Talk by Jana Buresova on Tuesday 9th October 2018 at 6.30pm in the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY

Czechoslovakia was headline news in 1938/39, yet little was known about its cultural heritage. Patriotic exiles in Britain determined to remedy this through multi-faceted entities such as the Czechoslovak Institute, graced by Queen Elizabeth, Queen consort, who attended an exhibition of Wenceslaus Hollar’s engravings. It also hosted contemporary artists such as Friedrich Feigl, Marie-Louise von Motieczky and sculptor Mary Duras, musicians including Vilém Tauský. But the Communist-inspired Czechoslovak-British Friendship Club, the Czechoslovak Army’s SOKOL branch, and regional clubs played a vital role too.

Dr Jana Barbora Buresova is a committee member of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies at the University of London. In addition to post-doctoral research, she is actively involved in the Association of Jewish Refugees Audio-Visual Testimony Archive project. Her key areas of interest are political exiles past and present, particularly Czechoslovak women in exile, on which she has spoken and contributed to a number of publications



A Talk by Sir Jonathan Marsden on Tuesday 14th May 2019 at 6.30pm in the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY.


The talk will present some of the lessons learned from working on a catalogue raisonné of European sculpture in the Royal Collection, which will be published by Royal Collection Trust in 2020. The catalogue will embrace some 1500 works, ranging in date from around 1500 to the present day, in marble, bronze, terracotta, plaster and other materials. The collection contains great masterpieces by Cellini, Adriaen de Vries, Canova and others, but although it is extremely well documented it has never been fully published.

The catalogue will throw new light on the tastes of successive monarchs, their dealings with artists, and their varying approaches to the art of sculpture. The creation of sculpture takes longer than work in other media, and there is more scope for mishaps and misunder-standings along the way.

The talk will also present discoveries, re-attributions and new identifications that have arisen in the course of the author’s work.

Sir Jonathan Marsden is a Former Director of the Royal Collection.

Price £15 including a glass of wine. Online booking: www.czechfriends.net

To pay at the door please notify us:

17th September 2012

Martin Škampa cello and Michal Rezek piano performed works by J.S.Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann and Debussy in the Embassy of Slovakia, London.

27th June 2012

'From revelation to resistance: Czech Surrealism and the Second World War', a Lecture by Dr Karolina Watras in the Embassy of Slovakia, London. Dr Karolina Watras uncovered the motivations and tribulations of the Czech Surrealist movement, which was influential in the formation of the Surrealist movement in Europe: Prague became as important a centre of surrealism as Paris.

26th April 2012

'Rough Seas Around Bohemia' Dr Mary Heimann, the author of the book 'Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed' (Yale University Press, 2011), talked about the controversy surrounding her recent history of the Czechoslovak state and considered the role of the historian in confronting and making sense of the recent past. Event in the Embassy of Slovakia, London.

10th October 2011

Martin Škampa cello and Michal Rezek piano performed works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Fauré and Martinů in the Embassy of Slovakia, London. The Škampa-Rezek Duo was founded in 1992 and has already given more than 450 concerts. Their repertoire covers works from the Baroque period to the present day.

7th July 2011

Summer Outing - The visit included Great Coxwell Tithe Barn, which was admired by William Morris, Kelmscott Manor, where he lived, and Buscot Park. Participants made their own way to Great Coxwell by car. The party moved on to Kelmscott for coffee, a guided tour of the house and lunch. At Buscot Park there was a guided tour of the gardens, followed by an optional visit to the house.

4th May 2011

'Prague Castle - Our Slav Acropolis’, a lecture by Dr Irena Murray-Žantovská. Sir Banister Fletcher Director, British Architectural Library, RIBA. The lecture took as its focus Prague Castle at the end of World War I and the efforts of Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, Czechoslovakia’s first president, to ‘democratise’ the vast complex of historic structures that formed it.  

5th April 2011

'Renaissance Princely Residences in the Czech Lands' A lecture by Caroline Cannon-Brookes, art historian, former lecturer at Leeds University in St. George's German Lutheran Church, London. Bohemia and Moravia are remarkably rich in Late Renaissance secular architecture: many superb residences have arcaded courtyards and fine interior decoration.

15th November 2010

'Historic Gardens and Parks in the Czech Republic - Their Restoration and Management' by Inka Truxová, a specialist in the conservation and protection of historic gardens, works for the National Monuments Institute in Prague and is in charge of conservation work on sites designated as national landmarks.

6th May 2010

'Czech Masters - a night of Czech Piano Music'. Lada Valešová, an outstanding concert pianist, graduated from the Prague Conservatoire and Prague Music Academy. Awarded a full scholarship, she continued her studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she is now a professor. Winner of several prizes, including two awards at the International Smetana Piano Competition, she has played recitals around Europe and New Zealand. Her debut CD, Intimate Studies, was released in 2009

19th May 2010

Guided visit to Boughton House, the Northamptonshire home of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensbury. It was Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, who married into the Montagu Family, the original owners of the estate, and whose wife inherited the exceptionally rich art and furniture collections.

27th January 2010

A lecture by the patron of The Frineds, Eva Jiřičná, talking about her work and showing slides. Eva Jiřičná formed her own practice in 1985, having lived and worked in London since 1968. She has achieved an international reputation for a broad scope of work including prestigious retail and commercial projects, product and exhibition design.

14th October 2009

Lecture and music recital with particular reference to medieval Bohemia. Dr Mary Remnant FSA, an authority on medieval music, showed slides of minstrels, accompanied them on reconstructed instruments of the period and included a recording by the celebrated Czech Group Ars Cameralis.

27th April 2008

'Golden Prague - Prague under the Emperor Charles V' A lecture by Prof. Paul Crossley of the Courtauld Institute in the Swedenborg Society's main lecture hall. This lecture looked at the medieval heyday of Prague during the reign of the Bohemian King and German Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg. When he arrived in the city from Paris in 1333, he found it a place of desolation. By the time of his death in 1378, he and his architects and cultural advisors had transformed it into Golden Prague - a city half eastern (Slav) and half Western.