The Friends of Czech Heritage: keeping you informed about our activities

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Please note that the working holidays are booked by emailing the Friends' Chairman on and are paid for by Paypal. The one-off events such as lectures and concert are fully bookable on the website, which is done by clicking here.

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Working Holidays for 2017

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The Friends are organising three working holidays in 2017: Saturday 3rd to Saturday 10th June 2017. The Seventh Year of Restoration at Červený Dvůr, an estate that was once the summer residence of the Schwarzenberg family and is now a sanatorium. Participants will work on the restoration of an 18th-century gardener’s cottage on the estate and help ...
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Lecture: The Revitalisation of British Portrait Sculpture: The Role of Franta Bělský and Irena Sedlecka

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On 10 November 2016 Dr. Peter Cannon-Brookes, who knew Franta Bělský (who died in 2000) and Irena Sedlecká over a long period of time, gave a talk at the Slovak Embassy on the work of these two portrait sculptors of Czech origin, who came to England in 1948 and 1967 respectively and married each other in 1997. Both were trained in the Central Europ...
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Lecture: The Battle of White Mountain (1620) and the Political and Religious Transformation of Bohemia


On 27th September 2016 Dr. Mark Whelan, a Teaching Fellow at Royal Holloway, part of the University of London, gave a very lively lecture at the Slovak Embassy London about the context and consequences of the 1620 Battle of the White Mountain (a hill outside Prague) in which the forces of the Catholic Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand the Second routed th...
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Autumn Outing to the Arcadian Thames, September 2016

Autumn Outing to the Arcadian Thames

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Wednesday 21st September 2016

In fine late summer sunshine a group of some twenty Friends and supporters gathered at Ham House near Richmond for a leisurely walk along the banks of the 'Arcadian' Thames. Ham House with its formal gardens and vistas rolling out into the surrounding suburban countryside gave us a sense of the contrived rural idyll that inspired the builders of the house.

From Ham we crossed the Thames by ferry to Marble Hill house and then enjoyed a stroll by way of shaded lanes passing through the secluded gardens of Orleans House and York House. Close by was Eel Pie Island and various waterside pubs mingled with the recently opened Alexander Pope memorial garden and other public gardens, once the site of Pope's villa and grotto:  a uniquely British conglomeration of unintended experiences.

GroupStrawberryHillOur final destination was Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House and the remarkable splendours of Walpole's Neo-Gothic creation, see photograph, left. With the sun lighting up the stained glass and glinting on the guilt ornamentation, the original power and novelty of Walpole's creation was forcefully apparent. Our thanks are due to Chris Sumner for his absorbing commentary as we passed along.

Images: top right, clockwise from top: © Chiswick Chap, © Duncan Harris, © Smdjkd001, public domain. Bottom left: the group outside Walpole's Strawberry Hill House                                                             

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Music Recital by the Trio Soane

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MUSIC RECITAL BY THE TRIO SOANE IN LONDON Thursday 19th May 2016 at 6.30pm in the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, 25 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY. Event organised with the cooperation of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic Programme: Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trio in E flat major No. 2, Opus 70 Antonín Dvořák - Mazurek in E minor, Opu...
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The Sixth Year of Restoration at Červený Dvůr in the Czech Republic


The holiday: situated in Southern Bohemia, Červený Dvůr is an estate that was once the summer residence of the Schwarzenberg family and is now a sanatorium. Participants worked on the restoration of an 18th-century gardener's cottage on the estate and helped to recreate the formal gardens of the château. Tasks involved simple building work and no p...
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Working Holiday at Žďár nad Sázavou in Moravia

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Saturday 11th June to Saturday 18th June 2016 Participants worked on maintenance works of the Lower Cemetery (which was in fact never used for burials), built by a famous Baroque architect J. B. Santini-Aichel, so that it can be opened to the public. Tasks involved simple building work, some clearance and preservation work and simple terrain. No pr...
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Restoration of the renowned landscape garden at Krásný Dvůr

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Friday 9th to Friday 16th September 2016 Participants made their own travel arrangements to Prague. There was a day-excursion to Karlovy Vary Meeting point: Participants were picked up at Prague Airport and travelled by minibus to Krásný Dvůr. Accommodation: in the local self-catering municipal hostel in the village - shared bedrooms, cost includin...
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March 2016 - Lecture: 'Reuniting Fourteenth-century Prague: Charles IV and his Gothic Bridge.

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Dr. Jana Gajdošová of the History of Art Department at the University of Cambridge gave a comprehensive lecture, copiously illustrated by photographs and plans, on the building of what is now called the Charles Bridge after the King of Bohemia (and Holy Roman Emperor) Charles IV, who commissioned the building of the bridge in 1357 to replace the ea...
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Memories of Jan Kaplický

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The Friends held a lecture 'Memories of Jan Kaplický' given by Ivan Margolius, architect and friend, in the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, London. Mr Ivan Margolius presented an intimate view of the life and achievements of his close friend and professional colleague the Czech architect Jan Kaplický. Their friendship grew from shared personal expe...
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