Our next Meetings and Days of Special Interest 



Rosalind Whyte

An overview of the history of Greenwich, starting with the enclosure of the Park in 1427 by Duke Humphrey of Gloucester and moving on to the Tudors in Greenwich, including royal births, deaths and other major events. The lecture goes on to look at the formation of a Royal Hospital for Seamen, described as the ‘darling object’ of Queen Mary II’s life. Including works from the National Maritime Museum’s collection to help illustrate the history, the lecture also looks at the art of Sir James Thornhill in the Painted Hall and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart’s Chapel, including work by Benjamin West PRA. Rosalind has a Masters in Art History from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Masters in Gender, Society and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London. She is a guide and lecturer at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, as well as guiding at the Royal Academy. She is an accredited (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecturer and leads Art Appreciation holidays to various locations.
February 9 AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES -The Golden Age of Dutch Art
Lucrezia Walker

An Embarrassment of Riches in The Golden Age of Dutch Art will include discussion on Rembrandt's the Rise & Fall of a great artist; Vermeer's The Girl with the Pearl Earring; The birth of the still-life in 17th century Holland; and Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: Caravaggio and the Baroque. Lucrezia Walker is an independent art historian. She works for the Education Department at the National Gallery and lectures for the Tate to their corporate sponsors, specialising in introducing current exhibitions, and teaching courses to the public. From 2009-2013 she was a Lay Canon at St Paul’s Cathedral, and continues to serve on the Visual Arts Committee. She was exhibition reviewer (1996-2002) for Harpers & Queen magazine, and her publications include: Techniques of the Great Masters (series): Gauguin, Degas, Manet; Revolutions in Art (series): Pop Art, Impressionism, Surrealism, Cubism. She is the author of 12 books on 19th century artists and art movements and teaches art history for the University of North Carolina in London. She is also a freelance arts reviewer for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio London.

March 6 COVENTRY CATHEDRAL - Icon and Inspiration

Alexandra Epps

The Cathedral Church of St Michael, commonly known as Coventry Cathedral, is the seat of the Bishop of Coventry and the Diocese of Coventry, in Coventry, West Midlands, England. The current (9th) bishop is Christopher Cocksworth and the current Dean is John Witcombe. The city has had three cathedrals. The first was St Mary's, a monastic building, of which only a few ruins remain. The second was St Michael's, a 14th-century Gothic church later designated cathedral, that remains a ruined shell after its bombing during the Second World War. The third is the new St Michael's Cathedral, built after the destruction of the former.
















April 3 MAD MEN AND THE ARTISTS  - how the advertising industry has exploited fine art

Tony Rawlins

Fine Art has provided advertisers and their agencies with a great deal of material to use in their creative campaigns.
Tony Rawlins describes some of the processes by which these advertisements have been created and while the works of Leonardo d Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo have been a particularly rich source. From the Renaissance, through to the present day, fine art continues to provide opportunities to enhance Brand imagery with admiration, humour, satire and irony.

Tony Rawlins started his career in advertising in 1965 as a mail boy in J. Walter Thompson. He worked as account director in a number of agencies before setting up on his own in 1985, primarily to handle Guinness accounts in Africa and the Caribbean, where he produced many commercials and ads for them over a period of 15 years. He remains active in the industry, but now concentrates on more philanthropic projects, such as a sanitation project in Haiti after Haiti was devastated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  Having been an Arts Society member for many years, he became an Arts Society accredited lecturer in March 2018. His lecturing experience includes presenting to client groups, sales conferences, students of creative advertising in the UK and overseas, on creative and marketing strategies and on film production. TASW is the first Arts Society to book him to lecture.

May 1 PASSIONS, PERSONALITIES &PATRONAGE - Chatsworth and the story of the Devonshire Family collections 1549-Present

Simon Seligman

Simon Seligman studied art and architectural history at Warwick University, including a semester in Venice. He is also a Graduate of the Attingham Summer school. From 1991 until 2010, Simon worked at Chatsworth, in a variety of roles, latterly as Head of Communications. He has lectured about Chatsworth, the Devonshire Collection and associated topics, throughout the UK and on several US tours (including the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery of Art). He has given numerous public presentations and interviews with the late Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Publications include written or edited guidebooks and  articles for and about Chatsworth.

June 5 THREE GREAT FAMILIES AND THEIR GARDENS - A history of the Astors, the Rothschilds and the Sackville Wests

Carolyn Rayman

Carolyn Rayman has lectured for many years to universities and art organisations in America and on cruise boats. She was an official guide at the British Museum and has published articles on samplers. Her lectures range from the role of the royal mistress in history to more scholarly lectures on Frederick the Great of Prussia. This lecture will tell the history of three very different families, their contribution to art and the splendid gardens they have created. The Sackville Wests have been important since the Norman Conquest and the other two families were wealthy 19th-century immigrants who contributed so much to English politics and culture.

July 3 PORTMEIRION - Italianate fantasy village in Wales

Matthew Williams

Portmeirion is an extraordinary surprise; a colourful and delightful Italian fantasy village on the coast of north Wales.  The creation of one man, the remarkable architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis from the 1920s, Portmeirion is his personal statement of defiance against modernism and what he saw as the increasing ugliness and despoilment of Britain.  Sir Clough opened the hotel there in 1926, and by the 1950s it had become the playground of artists, aristocrats, intellectuals, the fashionable and the merely rich.  Regular visitors included H G Wells, Bertrand Russell and Noel Coward, (who wrote Blithe Spirt at Portmeirion).  Sir Clough's daughter Susan created Portmeirion Pottery, which during the 1960s and 70s was synonymous with cutting-edge ceramic style.  This lecture looks at the place, its architecture and associations as well as Portmeirion Pottery.  Matthew draws upon some very personal memories (his uncle was Resident Director of Portmeirion for nearly 30 years) to make this a fascinating subject. 


September 4 PHOTOGRAPHY AS FINE ART - Should we accept that the very best photographs can be regarded as art?

Brian Stater

Brian Stater’s chief interests lie in photography, architecture and history and he combines all three in his lecturing career. He has taught at University College London, since 1997 and became an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society in 2003. He is a member of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and an exhibition of his own photographs has been staged at UCL. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the skills of some great photographers of the past, he has begun to work with a pre-War Leica camera, as used by his great hero, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and many others. His lecture will look at the development of photography from recording to pictorial interpretation.


Gavin Plumley (Start 10.30)

Described by The Times as a ‘leading cultural historian’, Gavin Plumley is well known for his work on Vienna and Central European art, music and literature at the turn of the last century.

You can find his work in newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes around the world. He appears frequently on BBC Radio 3, both as a guest and as a presenter, and on BBC Radio 4. Gavin is also a commissioning editor for the Salzburg Festival.

He lectures widely and has recently given talks for the National Trust, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the National Theatre, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the BBC Proms, the Oxford Lieder Festival, Wigmore Hall, the Royal Opera House and the CBSO, in addition to being an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society and a leader of cultural tours. 


Dr John Stevens

Dr John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and a member of academic staff at the SOAS South Asia Institute. His PhD in History is from University College London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh. He publishes widely in the fields of British and Indian history. His biography of the Indian guru Keshab Chandra Sen will be published by Hurst in 2018. He appears regularly in the Indian media, and was recently a guest on BBC Radio Four’s In Our Time, discussing the poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore. 



December 4 THE VERY MODEL OF AN ENGLISH ENTERTAINMENT - The works of WS Gilbert and A Suillivan

Roger Askew

Roger was a chorister at Wells Cathedral School and a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with an honours degree in English.  He combined a teaching career with professional singing in London, and after obtaining a further degree in Music became Director of Music at Daniel Stewart’s and Melville College in Edinburgh.  After retiring in 2003 he returned to the south of England.  He is President Emeritus of The Stoke Poges Society and Chairman of Windsor and Maidenhead Decorative and Fine Arts Society. The peculiar geniuses of these two very different men united under the impresario, Richard D'Oyly Carte, to create one of the most individual and enduring forms of theatrical entertainment. Their operas celebrate the quirks and foibles of the British nation and are as alive today as in the 1880s. Illustrated with musical examples, this talk offers audience participation.



Val Woodgate

Val Woodgate is a lecturer and Guide in Tate Britain and Tate Modern, also at many other London galleries. She is a former member of the teaching team at Dulwich Picture Gallery and is a lecturer and runs courses at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.  Val will help us to prioritise our appreciation of art by her selection of 223 "greats".


Wednesday 27 November SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Imogen Corrigan

After nearly 20 years in the British army, went to the University of Kent to study Anglo-Saxon & Medieval History and Art, graduating with 1st class honours. Works as a freelance lecturer across Britain and Europe as well as lecturing on small cruise ships and running study tours on land. In this lecture Imogen looks at how to read the signs and symbols within Medieval art, some more easy to detect than others. This lectures considers art of the period c.1100 – c.1500 and guides the audience through where it might be found and the forms it might take as well as what it meant to the Medieval viewer. This ranges from formal sculpture to graffiti. It answers some basic questions (e.g. why are fonts usually octagonal, is a hedgehog a good or bad figure in Medieval art?), but also considers body language and how to spot saints. There is also a detailed analysis of at least three different types of art form.

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