As it is well known, George IV, as Prince Regent of the United Kingdom, founded the Order of St Michael and St George in Corfu and in Malta on 28 April 1818, two hundred years ago. This forms part of Corfu’s history and belongs to its heritage. In fact, the history of the Order begins with the visions of Sir Thomas Maitland (1760-1824), Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands and Governor of Malta after the Napoleonic Wars.
Count Spiro Flamburiari, Chairman of the Corfu Heritage Foundation, has had the inspiration to honour the bicentenary of the Order this year with a Festival aiming to boost British-Hellenic relations in Corfu. His whole life has been devoted to the promotion of the island and its prosperity, and to highlight the significance of its heritage.
The Festival takes place under the auspices of the British Embassy Athens, the Hellenic Republic’s Ministries of Culture and Tourism, and the Municipality of Corfu. Events – including 5 lectures, 2 brass band concerts, 3 visual art exhibitions and 1 cricket match – will take place between 7 July and 30 September 2018.
Events celebrating the Bicentenary of the Order of St Michael and St George in Corfu in 2018
● Lectures at the Corfu Reading Society
3 August – Mr Derek Johns, “Romanticism – A Brief Introduction”.
6 August – HE Ms Kate Smith CMG, “British-Hellenic Friendship”.
24 August – Ms Helena Matheopoulos, “Music in 1818”.
28 August – Sir Efthimios E. Mitropoulos KCMG, “The Order of St Michael and St George”.
4 September – Mr Nicholas Parsons CBE, “Edward Lear – Artist ∙ Poet ∙ Wanderer”.
● Music by the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society curated by Mr Robert A. Christoforides
5 August – Mr Socrates Anthis will direct the Wind Band at the Esplanade’s Band Stand.
7 September – Mr Socrates Anthis will direct the Wind Band at the Old Fortress.
● Exhibitions at the Ionian Academy curated by Dr Megakles Rogakos
7 – 29 July – “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Historical Perspective.
2 – 26 August – “Romanticism in Corfu”.
1 – 29 September – “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Contemporary Perspective.
● Cricket Matches organised by Sir Simon Orr-Ewing Bt and Mr Nikos Louvros
13 May – Matches between the Lost Marbles and the Atlas CC Corfu Cricket Team.
A Publication of a 130-page Catalogue
A fully-illustrated 130-page catalogue, with introductions by HRH The Duke of Kent, HE the British Ambassador Ms Kate Smith CMG and Count Spiro Flamburiari, and essays by authors covering all aspects of the Festival (lectures, music, exhibitions and sports), is published by the Corfu Heritage Foundation (ISBN: 978-618-83770-0-4).
● Public Information
● Count Spiro Flamburiari and the Corfu Heritage Foundation
Count Spiro Flamburiari was born in Corfu. During his private education he was taught five languages. Subsequently he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Athens. Instead of joining the Foreign Office he was appointed as a commercial link between Greece, Poland and East Germany. This lead to the creation of the 3rd biggest advertising and public relations company in Athens. All this did not last too long, as his goal was always to establish himself in London. A number of years ago he became a British subject and married Lady Mildred-Mary, niece of Lord Beaverbrook. Milly, as she is known, is a brilliant colourist whose paintings belong to that tradition of English illustrators, such as Edmond Dulac and Kay Nielsen. In London, Spiro befriended Sir Simon Orr-Ewing, and the two of them set up a business group to develop tourist units. One of them was “Helios”, a 600-bed hotel development in Corfu. Eventually it was acquired by Club Méditerranée and became its flagship worldwide.
However, Corfu and the British-Hellenic relationship have always been his main priority. He is well-known for his book “Corfu: The Garden Isle” (John Murray, 1994), the installation of the equivalent of the English Blue Plaques, the creation of the Edward Lear Society (London, 2014) with his friend Derek Johns, the creation of the Corfu Heritage Foundation (London, 2000) and his involvement in a number of events aiming to boost British-Hellenic friendship in Corfu. His latest project is organising the Corfu Festival 2018 to celebrate, with a number of events, the bicentenary of the Order of St Michael and St George. He is an art collector and a lover of opera, ballet and classical music. He has often been interviewed by BBC4, the Evening Standard and the Corfu TV channels.
The Corfu Heritage Foundation was founded on 6 April 2000, and the first founding members were Count Spiro Flamburiari, Chairman of the Foundation, Mr Pericles Lascaris, architect, and Mr Yannis Petsalis, historian and art collector. The objects of the Foundation are: 1) to promote British-Hellenic relations; 2) to restore the buildings in the island deemed by the trustees to be of historical importance; 3) to preserve historical monuments and the grand old estates; 4) to support the objects and endeavours of the Corfu Reading Society; 5) to support the Brass Bands of Corfu; 6) to establish and erect the Corfu Heritage Plaques concerning personalities and buildings of historical significance; 7) to curate permanent or temporary exhibitions of art; 8) to promote musical and artistic events; 9) to promote the game of Cricket; and 10) to carry out publications of all kind relevant to the Foundation.
● A Lecture entitled “Romanticism – A Brief Introduction” by Mr Derek Johns at the Corfu Reading Society, 3 August 2018.
Derek Johns (b. 1942) became a Director of Sotheby´s in 1968 and was subsequently appointed Head of the Old Master Paintings department by 1974. In 1981 he became an independent art dealer in partnership with Philip Harari at 12 Duke Street, St James’s. He established his own gallery, Derek Johns Ltd in 1996 and remained at the same Duke Street address until 2016 when he moved to the current premises in Bury Street. He has expertise in all major European schools of art from the 13th to the 18th centuries. He came across Edward Lear at the age of about 5 with his nonsense rhymes. Later, he fell in love with the island of Corfu, which he made his home and began to collect Lear’s drawings and paintings of the Ionian period alongside all things Corfiot.
● A Talk entitled “British-Hellenic Friendship” by HE Ms Kate Smith CMG at the Corfu Reading Society, 6 August 2018.
HE Ms Kate Smith CMG is a British diplomat currently serving as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic. She joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1987, and took up her first diplomatic post overseas in Athens in 1991, serving as Second Secretary Political and Press Attaché. She returned to London in 1994 to the Non-Proliferation Department focusing on Chemical and Biological Weapons. Later she served at the UN in New York at the Security Council and in a number of roles relating to Defence and Security issues, including the aftermath of the 2003 war in Iraq. She became Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Tehran in 2005-2007 and was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in HM The Queen’s New Year’s Honours for 2008. On return from Tehran, she was seconded to Royal Dutch Shell where she served as international adviser from 2008, and then head of UK governmental relations in 2009-2012. She returned to the FCO as Director Americas in 2012-2016. In 2017 she succeeded John Kittmer as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic.
● A Lecture entitled “Music in 1818” by Ms Helena Matheopoulos, at the Corfu Reading Society, 24 August 2018.
Author, journalist, public speaker, Helena Matheopoulos was born in Athens and lives in London. She graduated from University College London with BA Honours and MA Degree in Medieval History. She worked as Fashion & Travel Editor for the Tatler magazine and the Daily Express newspaper, and as regular contributor to The Times, The Sunday Times, Gramophone, Opera Now, Greek Vogue and Kathimerini. Her seven books on music and opera include Maestro (1982), Bravo (1986), Diva (1991), Diva: The New Generation (1998), Placido Domingo: My Roles on Stage (2000), and Fashion Designers at the Opera (2009). She was Artistic Advisor of the Athens Megaron (1991-1995) and Special Consultant for Vocal Projects at the Philharmonia Orchestra, London (1996-2004). She now lectures worldwide on subjects related to her books.
● A Lecture entitled “The Order of St Michael and St George” by Sir Efthimios E. Mitropoulos KCMG, at the Corfu Reading Society, 28 August 2018.
Sir Efthimios E. Mitropoulos KCMG, serves as Secretary-General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). He graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy of Aspropyrgos and the Naval Academy and served as an officer in the Coast Guard, from which he was discharged with the rank of Rear Admiral. In the period 1977-1979, he served as Harbour Master of Corfu. He represented Greece at IMO and various other international fora dealing with shipping matters over a 12-year period. In the period 2004-2012, he served as Chancellor of the World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden and Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta. He is the author of several books on shipping. Since 2011, he serves as Chairman of the Board of the Maria Tsakos Foundation.
● A Lecture entitled “Edward Lear – Artist ∙ Poet ∙ Wanderer” by Mr Nicholas Parsons CBE, at the Corfu Reading Society, 4 September 2018.
Nicholas Parsons CBE (b. 1923) is a British radio and television presenter and theatre actor. His long career in the entertainment industry has made him a household name. Best known today for his long-standing position as host of the radio game show Just a Minute, he is also famous as the long-term host of the TV game show Sale of the Century. He does charitable work for the Lord’s Taverners youth sports charity as President and the Edward Lear Society as Patron. He was Rector of St Andrews University and was honoured with an LLD for his work. In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for his services to drama and broadcasting and in 2013 he was honoured with a CBE for his charitable and other work.
● Music by the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society curated by Mr Robert A. Christoforides.
– Mr Socrates Anthis will direct the Wind Band at the Esplanade’s Band Stand, 5 August 2018.
– Mr Socrates Anthis will direct the Wind Band at the Old Fortress, 7 September 2018.
Robert Christoforides (b. 1942) is a British solicitor. He completed his education at Westminster School and the Law Society’s College of Law, and was admitted in his profession in 1965. Throughout his life, his most long-standing interest has been music, which he considers to be the most esoteric of the Arts. It was Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1961) that gave him the impetus to write a monumental biographical novel, The Silver Swan – The Life and Times of Wilfred Owen (2016), who was one of the greatest poets of the First World War. Seeming to him that the generally accepted final text of Owen’s Strange Meeting was somehow incomplete in its conclusion, his researches of a quarter of a century have proved this to be the case. This book and other aspects of Owen’s poetry are available on Amazon Kindle.
● Exhibitions curated by Dr Megakles Rogakos.
– “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Historical Perspective, at the Ionian Academy, 7 – 29 July 2018.
– “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Contemporary Perspective, at the Ionian Academy, 1 – 29 September 2018.
Megakles Rogakos (b. 1972) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from The American College of Greece, Athens (1997); a Master’s degree in Arts Policy & Management from the City University, London (1998); another Master’s degree in Art History and Theory from Goldsmiths College, London (1999); and a PhD in Philosophy and History of Art at the University of Essex, Colchester (2017). In 2000-2004 he worked as an information officer at the Tate Gallery, conducted scholarly research and curated a series of multimedia exhibitions, in London and abroad, featuring international contemporary artists. In 2004-2012 he held an appointment as ACG Art Curator at the American College of Greece. Since 2012, he works as an independent curator. He also publishes reviews of exceptional art exhibitions mainly at www.elculture.gr, but also at www.visuelimage.com.
● Associate Curators for the “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Contemporary Perspective exhibition.
Ioannis N. Arhontakis (b. 1969) initially studied Physics and Journalism and later History of Art. He worked as a producer on the radio and later as a columnist in specialised magazines. He initiated the creation of the cultural institution Olivepress – Art Factory at Dromonero, Chania, and since 2008 is the Director of the Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olivepress. Since 2010 he has been the artistic director of the CHANIaRT visual festival, which is mainly active in Crete. He has curated a great number of visual art exhibitions and has organised even more. From 2016 he co-organises the actions of the Match More Art Gallery in Platanias, Chania. He lives and creates in Chania and Athens.
Georgia Damianou (b. 1991) holds a degree in Visual and Applied Arts from the School of Fine Arts, University of Western Macedonia, focused in painting. In 2016 she completed the MA program “Museology and Cultural Management” at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. As an artist, she has participated in numerous group exhibitions and workshops, both in Greece and abroad. She is a member of the “Long Vehicle” platform, which co-ordinates and presents artistic projects. She is involved in curating exhibitions and writing texts, as well as working as an art teacher in public education.
Georgia Kourkounaki (b. 1982) is a Phd Candidate in Art History at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and holds a Master’s degree in Museology and Cultural Management from the aformentioned University and the University of Western Macedonia (2008). In 2005-2007 she collaborated with the Teloglion Foundation of Art on conducting educational programs. In 2008-2015 she worked as a museologist at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Since 2016, she works as a museologist at the Olympic Museum. Since 2004, she has collaborated with the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, galleries, art festivals and the public sector for the coordination and curating of art exhibitions.
Constantinos V. Proimos (b. 1968) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Panteion University (1989) and an MΑ as well as a PhD in the aesthetics and philosophy of the visual arts from the New School for Social Research, NY, USA (2001) with a Hellenic State Scholarship. He also studied art history at Columbia University in New York (1990-1993), at the E.H.E.S.S. and Paris I, Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris (1995-1997). He worked at the Guggenheim Museum of New York (1991-1992) and at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992-1993). He earned a postdoctoral fellowship from the Hellenic State Scholarship Foundation (2003-2004) and has taught at Reid Hall in Paris, at the University of Crete, the University of Cyprus and the Technical University of Crete. He has published a book and numerous research articles. Since 2006 he has been working in the Hellenic Open University and is an Exhibition Curator and Art Critic.