Neil Handley, Curator of the British Optical Association Museum (Host organisation for MED London)

Lecture as part of Gresham College Lecture series

Studying the history of spectacles brings together the twin themes of technological development and mankind’s increasing understanding of physical optics, but it is as much about charting different historical attitudes to the face and one’s appearance before others. Only if we attempt to understand the cultural influences and motivations for wearing (or not wearing) spectacles do we gain an accurate picture of why some developments in eyewear styles were so slow to gain speed and why ideas of fashion have always caused some people to prefer suffering over the available relief.

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:…

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website.