All posts by Keith Roberts

Young Arts – Round Oak School

Round Oak School

Round Oak School

At the beginning of December 2017, Round Oak School saw the unveiling of a colourful, new piece of art work in the school’s entrance hall. It was made by over 100 pupils working with textile artist Jacqui Smithson.

Jacqui worked with groups of children over four days, teaching them about the history of felt and how to make it using Merino wool, silks and threads. Inspired by the environment around them and by the name of the school, the felt was formed into leaves, acorns and twigs. This project was particularly appropriate for the pupils who have learning difficulties ranging from moderate to severe. They were encouraged to talk about the materials as they enjoyed the tactile experience.

We were very fortunate that we were able to obtain a grant from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund towards the project, the balance being met by our Society.

Special Interest Day, West Midlands Area – “Two Wrekin Gems” – July 2018

Special Interest Day, West Midlands Area – “Two Wrekin Gems” – July 2018

The Summer Special Interest Day, on Thursday 19th July 2018 – ‘Two Wrekin Gems’ – will take a different format to enable members to appreciate two of the Treasures in the Wrekin area. In the morning the lecturer will be Tobias Capwell, an Arts Society lecturer. The venue will be Tong Parish Hall (for coffee and lunch) and Tong Church which is well known for its collection of Medieval tombs.

Transferring after lunch to Weston Park, which is only a short distance away, Gareth Williams, Curator and Head of Learning, will give a talk on Chippendale’s Workshop – 2018 is the Tercentenary of his birth. There will be guided tours of the House before enjoying an afternoon cream tea.

Members will also have the opportunity to visit the Granary Gallery to see the Daimler Art Collection featuring work by German photographer Dieter Blum as well as exploring the formal garden and grounds. The park is open until 6pm.

Numbers are limited, so early booking is essential.

Click here to download a poster for the event.

Click here to download a booking form.

Young Arts – 2017

Bursary Award Winner – 2017

Romany Cavalla

We were very pleased to award The Arts’ Society, Royal Leamington Spa Bursary Award for 2017 to Romany Cavalla.

This is an annual award that is given to the best student at Warwickshire College.

Romany impressed us and her tutors at the college; she was a very dedicated and hard-working student. Romany based much of her work on the human body. She is now studying fine art at Brighton.

Update – January 2018

Christmas already seems a rather distant memory and we are looking forward to what 2018 holds. It will be a big year for The Arts Society and also for us, The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa for while The Arts Society celebrates its Golden Jubilee, we shall be embarking on the year of our Silver Jubilee. There is much to celebrate in the success of our organisations and much to be thankful for as we look back over the decades of enjoyment and enlightenment they have given us and the part they have played in the wider community, serving the Arts.

Since our last lecture in November, a lively group attended a most interesting and enjoyable Day of Special Interest with talks from the excellent Sandra Pollard on Augustus and Gwen John and which was held at the Warwickshire Golf Club Conference Centre. Not only were the lectures extremely interesting but the venue, also, proved to be a great success with gorgeous views and plenty of space for the audience to congregate. Kate Varney has once again, scored a hit with her ideas and planning. Since then, some of the Committee have and, perhaps some of the membership will have, also, seen the Playbox production of The Wizard of Oz. As a society we contribute to the running of this outstanding enterprise for children which educates and develops our local budding actors, who start from a very young age. It was a most impressive production, very professionally performed and directed and well worth fitting into the Christmas schedule.

The first event in our calendar for 2018 will be the New Year Tea Party which is being held on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 from 3.00 – 5.00pm at The Audley, Binswood Avenue, Leamington Spa. Rosie Langman has kindly organised it and you would be most welcome. It would make a good opportunity to meet up after the winter break and I believe there are a few spaces left at £10 a ticket. If you would like to come, please get in touch with Rosie or me shortly as she will need to finalise numbers with the caterers.

This year we are once again sponsoring a concert with Leamington Music. It will be performed by the Celtic/Early music/folk/Jazz ensemble ‘Joglaresa’ on Tuesday February 20th 7.30pm at St Mary’s Warwick. Joglaresa has been described as Early music’s ‘bit of rough’ – this rebellious London-based medieval/folk ensemble pushes, and often transcends, the limits of what is thought of as early music…. Members of our Arts Society are open to a 2 for 1 ticket offer on application to Leamington Music – 01926 497000.

The New Members’ Coffee Morning, which was postponed from October, will now be held on Friday March 2nd at 10.30am at Charlecote Village Hall with access to the church afterwards. Several endeavours which our Society has been involved in will be on display, one of which is a Church Trail. This event is by invitation and for all those members who have joined since last March.

On the subject of Church Trails, our ‘team’, which has devised these in the past, has completed one for Coventry Cathedral Trail. As it is a most important building featuring particularly notable works of art within it, it deserves especial credit and you will find it has received it in the latest edition of The Review, page 70. Congratulations to Sally Howells, Rosemary Jewel-Clark for the trail itself, and Keith Roberts for his IT help towards the exceptional work they have put into producing such an interesting and exemplary Church Trail.

We are looking forward to our first lecture of 2018 on February 7th when Rosalind Whyte covers 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts. At this meeting tickets for the Autumn Short Break to Yorkshire will be on sale. Later, at our March meeting, there will be tickets sold for the Day Visit to Oxford which is in early May and coming up later, in April and May, will be the chance to buy tickets for our Biennial Dinner which this year will be especially celebrating our Silver Anniversary and The Arts Society Golden Jubilee.

There will be plenty going on around the country in respect of events to celebrate the milestone of the National Gold Jubilee. I shall list some of the events for you in case they are of interest but do go to the national Arts Society website if you want further information. Highlights include:
A major exhibition – Rhythm & Reaction; The Age of Jazz in Britain at London’s Two Temple Place.
Dates: Saturday 27th January – Sunday 22nd April 2018
Opening Times: Monday, Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 4:30pm
Wednesday Late: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 11am – 4:30pm
Closed Tuesday & Easter Sunday

Our True Gold Initiative: During one weekend in September The Arts Society will partner with museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK and Europe to offer unique events for members of the public. Our True Gold will highlight the treasures in their collections, as well as our volunteers and the wonderful work they do.

The Great Exhibition of the North 2018 is a summer of amazing exhibits, vibrant street performance, cutting edge culture and magical experiences. Newcastle-Gateshead was chosen to host the event, with Great Exhibition Board chairman Sir Gary Verity saying “Newcastle-Gateshead put forward an exciting and innovative bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North. Their ambitious plans will showcase fantastic venues across the city and highlight their unique heritage, culture and design. People from across the country can expect an amazing show in summer 2018”.
The Arts Society will present itself through a series of lectures in the heart of the city and Societies across the North are working together to contribute to this celebration of Northern arts and culture. This is an initiative of local, area and national teams who work together to make a mark at the Great Exhibition of the North.

And finally there is Florian’s Run
In 2018, to commemorate the Golden Anniversary, Florian Schweizer, The Arts Society Chief Executive, will run 50 10km distances to raise funds and awareness for the work of The Arts Society and the activities at the grassroots of the organisation. His itinerary will cover locations around the UK and abroad to reflect the diverse communities and landscapes our Societies operate in, as well as the artistic and heritage connections in these areas.
Starting in January 2018 with the first Society in the Chilterns to coincide with the Patricia Fay lecture, Florian will visit places where our Societies have local impact and connect with historic buildings, arts centres and many other venues of artistic interest. Along the way he will take in important sites such as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the Angel of the North, the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, The Scallop in Aldeburgh, Conwy Castle and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. This will be an opportunity to meet with members and volunteers to celebrate the anniversary and to raise funds to support Young Arts and our other charitable activities.
To support The Arts Society’s charitable activities please donate here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/florianschweizer1

I think you will agree that it will be a busy year ahead. I look forward to meeting you along the way.

Best wishes
Elizabeth Hunter (Chairman)


Leamington mayor joins The Arts Society for lecture

Mayor's visit
A special guest joined The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa for an historical anniversary.

Mayor Caroline Evetts attended a talk on ‘250 Years of the Royal Academy of Arts, London’ at the Royal Spa Centre.

She was welcomed by chairman Elizabeth Hunter and treated to lunch following the talk.

Photos show:
(left) Carolyn Voss, Programme Secretary, Councillor Caroline Evetts and Rosalind Whyte, Lecturer
(right) Elizabeth Hunter, Chairman, Councillor Caroline Evetts and Felicity Furber, President

Update – November 2017

I hope to see you at our meeting on November 1st.  Before we break for Christmas and the New Year I should like to remind you what lies up ahead and tell you what has been happening during October.

Volunteers – I am delighted to report that, since the last meeting, the Leamington Art Gallery Group of Heritage Volunteers was presented with a Gold Star Award by David Brass – the Area Representative for Heritage Volunteers.  This award is a new one given by the Arts Society West Midland Area to individuals and groups who have shown outstanding commitment in their work.  We are very proud that their service has been recognised.

Even better still, we have just heard that the Volunteer Group at the Herbert Art Gallery who have been meeting for over 7 years, week in week out, have also been awarded the Gold Star Award.    Please don’t think this is ‘normal’ or that the awards are two a penny!  I am enormously proud of what they have achieved and delighted that our Society has received recognition twice over in this way.  This appreciation of the group’s expertise at the Herbert Art Gallery extends much more widely than just among us at The Arts Society.  It is acknowledged by other heritage institutions, and enhances both the reputation of our Society and that of the gallery.

The Day of Special InterestFriday 17th November at 10.00am  – is taking place at a new venue, namely, The Warwickshire, Leek Wootton.  There is a waiting list only for this day, which will be exploring The Lives and Works of Two Contrasting Artistic Siblings – Augustus and Gwen John, with lecturer Mrs Sandra Pollard.

New Year Tea Party –  Those of you who would like to come to this event will need to know that it will be held on 23rd January 2018 at 3.00pm – 5.00pm at The Audley, Binswood Avenue.  Rosie Langman will be selling tickets at £10 at the November Meeting.  If you need to get in touch with her, her telephone number is 01926 833244

Playbox Theatre Christmas production – Wizard of Oz -.  Our Society supports this wonderful young people’s theatre.  We thoroughly recommend a visit to their Christmas Production.

Warwick Poppies –  The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa is pleased to be supporting the Warwick Poppies project at St Mary’s which culminates on Armistice Day 2018 with a display of over a thousand hand-crafted poppies to commemorate the fallen.  Information about the project is to hand at the November lecture by our registration desk together with a instructions on how to make poppies yourselves as well as being available on their website.  If you are a knitter, crochet worker or enjoy handicrafts, do support the project by contributing your own commemorative handmade poppy.  The funds raised from the appeal will go to helping the young and the elderly in Warwick.

And now just a final reminder that we now have a two month break for Christmas and our next lecture will be on Wednesday 7th February 2018 – ‘250 Years of the Royal Academy’  by lecturer Rosalind Whyte.

Elizabeth Hunter
Chairman

Leamington Spa Museum

Leamington Spa Museum

The Arts Society volunteers

The Arts Society Heritage Volunteers have been working at the Museum since 2004, and, of the six original volunteers, two are still regular members. In recognition of their dedication and commitment, the Area Heritage Volunteer Representative, David Brass, awarded the Group a Gold Star Certificate, following on from their West Midlands Museum Volunteer Award, which they won last year. David presented the award to the Group in October, when the Chairman, Elizabeth Hunter, was also present.

Over the years the Group has carried out numerous tasks. These have included work on the textile, ethnographic and social history collections and more recently, mounting the samplers. They are now revisiting a task they first began in 2004, which is the checking and repacking of the costumes in the Textile Collection.

In order to carry out this work to appropriate conservation standards, training sessions are regularly held and, in November, a session has been organised on packing, handling, and condition checking, with a particular focus on textiles. These sessions are very helpful to all volunteers and improve their knowledge and keep their skills update

Projects completed this Year

Projects completed in 2017

Mothers’ Union Banner – St Peter’s Church, Barford

Mothers' Union Banner, St Peter's Church Barford

Since January this year, two of our most experienced and talented needlewomen, Diana Adams and Annette Hughes, have been working on the repair and conservation of the Mothers’ Union banner for St. Peter’s Church, Barford. The work included replacing and reworking areas where the threads had rotted beyond repair.

After 79 hours of painstaking work, the banner was completed in July and a Service of Re-dedication was held at the Church in September. The Arts Society Volunteers and Heritage Co-ordinator were invited to join members of the Mothers’ Union and the congregation, when the banner was paraded for everyone to see. Diana and Annette were presented with bouquets containing flowers of blue and white, the colours of the Mothers’ Union.

It was a special occasion because the Mothers’ Union members were delighted to have their banner repaired. One of them mentioned that the last time they had paraded it, they had felt like the poor relation because of the state it was in, but now they could parade it proudly.

 

The Lord Leycester Hospital – William Morris Wall hangings

In March the Society was approached by the new Master of the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick, Heidi Meyer, for help in conserving six William Morris Wall hangings currently in the 13th Chapel. The Chapel was damp and the plaster was flaking off onto the hangings. The Master was anxious that they would disintegrate further if no action was taken.

A meeting was held with Victoria Allan, Textile Conservationist, who examined the hangings and recommended that they were surface cleaned and packed for conservation storage, with a view to re-examining them at a later date.

Three of our Volunteers, Janet Ainley, Ruth Barton and Anne Hayward set to work under the guidance of Victoria, and, over the course of three weeks, the hangings were cleaned and safely stored. It is hoped that it will be possible to display some, or all, of the hangings at a future date.

 

Update – October 2017

Since our Lecture on October 4th when Dr Tobias Capwell spoke on “Mars and the Muses: the Renaissance Art of Armour”, I write to tell you of news and events that you may be interested in and which are coming up:

New Members’ Coffee Morning – Friday October 6th at 10.30am at Charlecote Village Hall.  This event has unfortunately been cancelled owning to a lack of response.  We hope to reschedule the event in the Spring.

Day of Special Interest – Friday 17th November at The Warwickshire, Leek Wootton – Please note the new venue.  There is a waiting list only for this day, studying The Lives and Works of Two Contrasting Artistic Siblings – Augustus and Gwen John with lecturer Mrs Sandra Pollard.  It will no doubt be full of ‘colourful’ revelations about these two somewhat notorious artists. If you would like to attend, it’s still worth putting your name down on the list as there are often last minute cancellations.  Ring Kate Varney  on 01926 424453 if you would like to do so.

New Year Tea Party – Rosie Langman is kindly organising another tea party for members to meet one another over the winter when we are unable to hold a lecture.   It will be similar to the one she organised last year at the Audley, Binswood Avenue, Leamington Spa.  It will be in January and tickets at will be on sale at the November lecture meeting (November 1st).

Dorset Trip –  John Clark has just returned from leading a fantastically successful tour of Dorset.   30 or so lucky Arts Society members were staying in Poundbury and enjoyed a full programme over the three days they spent there.  Thank you, John, for taking on the organisation of this and many previous trips for us.  They are hugely enjoyed and appreciated.

Volunteers – Work has been completed by two of our Volunteers on the Mothers’ Union Banner for Barford Church.  The repaired banner was rededicated recently at St Peter’s, Barford.  There has also been some significant work done at The Lord Leicester Hospital where a small group of volunteers has been cleaning and packing the William Morris wall hangings for safe storage, and although it was only a short term project, it has been accomplished most professionally.  The group which has been working on repairing ecclesiastical garments and artefacts at All Saints Church have some of their work on display at the Leamington Art Gallery. It’s well worth a visit. Finally congratulations are due to the group who work at The Herbert Gallery in Coventry. They are celebrating their 7th anniversary this month and over the seven years at the museum they have completed 22 projects. The range has been very wide and interesting, from making petticoats to mounting stuffed birds, cataloguing collections and making sword covers. Their commitment has been steadfast and longterm and we appreciate not only the high standard of their work but also their presence in Coventry, which raises our profile there.  We thank all the volunteers for the work they do round an about.

Noticeboard – Do ensure you’re up to date with things that are happening in Young Arts, Trips and the Volunteering departments by looking at the Notice Board.  There are illustrated accounts of all these activities, very well displayed.

Membership Secretary – Jane Nash is retiring this year after ten years doing this important job. The very good successor we had found has had to pull out, so we ask you all to consider if you could take on this role on the Committee. If you’re a ‘people person’ it could be just right for you, so do come forward and get in touch if you feel you could help the Society in this way. It is a job that could be shared by a married couple so please consider joining me and my fantastic committee and getting more involved in the fun of running the Society.

Elizabeth Hunter
Chairman

 

Update – August 2017

Welcome to the New Season at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa which is beginning a month earlier this year on Wednesday September 6th with our first lecture – Magyars and Gypsies: Liszt and the Hungarian National Style by Rosalind Bartlett.

There’s plenty more to look forward to and to celebrate this year, this being our Silver Anniversary – 25 years since the team of six pioneers started up the NADFAS group in Royal Leamington Spa.  It immediately took off and went from strength to strength, expanding into a separate afternoon session and now we find ourselves enjoying our success in the same year that, now newly rebranded, The Arts Society is celebrating its own 50th Anniversary. We shall be marking our anniversary with a special dinner in June at Walton Hall.  Sir Andrew Hamilton will be our Guest Speaker and we shall hope for a glorious summer evening in that magnificent setting.

As a result of our re-branding, our website has been comprehensively revised and is now accessible on tasrls.org.uk . Do visit it to discover what’s going on.  It’s a mine of information, easy to use, with useful links, and it shows how very active our society is.

As usual, you will see the busy Committee has planned Day Visits, Short Breaks and Days of Special Interest for our members.  Do come early to sign up for these events on the days indicated in your programme card, bringing your chequebook with you, as they are very popular.  Tickets for the first of these, a Day of Special Interest on Augustus and Gwen John, will be on sale in September and will be held in a new venue for us, the Warwickshire Golf Club, Leek Wootton.  Also on sale in September are any remaining tickets for the tour of Provence, taking place in April 2018.

Our Heritage Volunteers have been busy in a number of locations, including the Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum where I am delighted to announce that the group has been awarded a Gold Star Certificate for outstanding dedication to Volunteering.   This follows their West Midlands Volunteer Awards, Special Award, which they won last year.   The presentation will take place in October.  All Saints’ Church, Leamington Spa has now received lottery funding for an exhibition of embroidery, to take place next year. The work of our Volunteers will form a major part of the exhibition.  Elsewhere, we have been busy at the Herbert Museum in Coventry and at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick.  Two of our volunteers have completed work for St. Peter’s Barford, and a Service of re-dedication will be held in September.

Angela Watkins, who runs our gallant team of Church Recorders, is currently working with a group at St Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic church at Baddesley Clinton.  We are always looking for new volunteers, so if you would like to join either Volunteer or Church Recording Groups, please get in touch.  Contact details are on your programme card.

Edwina McConville who is in charge of Young Arts, has been very successful in obtaining a grant, which we shall match, from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund.  The money will fund an ‘artist in residence’ at Round Oak School in Leamington.  Round Oak School provides for students aged 11 – 18 who have a broad spectrum of special educational needs. Since we took our break for the summer, we offer our congratulations to Romany Cavalla who is our Foundation Year Student Winner from Warwickshire College.  She has received our Annual Bursary Award for 2017.

The Publicity group has been busy promoting our rebranded identity, extending our profile in the local publications and the press in various new areas.  It’s proving an effective exercise in attracting new members.

We hope to organise another tea party for members as we did last year, for those who wish to get together over the winter when we have a break in our lecture programme.  Do watch out for details if you are interested in attending.

You may be aware that we use software called MailChimp to email information about the Society’s activities occasionally to our members.  We have made considerable cost savings by using email rather than post for these mailings and can reach over 85% of our members by this method.  Please let our Membership Secretary know if you change your email address.  However, messages sent by MailChimp can be perceived to be spam by some email applications.  This seems to apply particularly to btinternet, hotmail and gmail accounts.  Please check your spam folders regularly to ensure that you are not missing our updates.  Gmail may put our emails in the “Promotions” tab.  If this is the case, you can tell gmail that you value our emails by moving one to your “Primary” tab.  If you find our messages in your spam folder, you may be able to mark them as “not spam” which might solve the problem.

Please let us know if you are not receiving our emails and would like to do so.

Finally and with respect, I must touch on the subject of Parking at the Spa Centre.  The circle of parking at the Spa Centre is reserved for those using the Spa Centre and those using this complimentary facility must register their car details with our Membership Team at Reception. As priority must be given to the Committee above the Membership, parking in future will be reserved for the Committee only until 10.00am i.e. until an hour before the lecture starts.  Thereafter, members may park in the circle if there is room and they must sign in and out at our Reception Desk.   There remains provision for disabled parking and for the Speaker’s car and car parks lie not far away.

I look forward to meeting you all over the course of this season and hope you will derive great pleasure from your membership.

Elizabeth Hunter
Chairman

Day – August 2018 – Woburn Abbey

Wednesday 15th August 2018 – Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey

We will start the day with coffee before private guides take us round the Abbey.

Woburn is a country house and the family seat of the Duke of Bedford and is still the family home to the current Duke. It has historic landscape gardens and a deer park. Woburn Abbey, comprising Woburn Park and its buildings, was set out and founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Today the building is listed in the highest category of architecture at grade 1.

The art collection is amongst the finest in private hands and encompasses a wide range of western artwork. The holdings comprise some 250 paintings, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto and Velasquez. Moreover, the collection encompasses examples of the most impressive manufactures of furniture, French and English in many periods, and a diverse and amazing collection of porcelain and silverware.”

A two course lunch is then followed by time to view the gardens, exhibitions, pottery and gift shop.

This is an excellent opportunity to see Woburn before it is shrouded in scaffolding for some time to come.
Ticket price £55 for concessions over 60
Full price £56.50

Tickets will be on sale one hour before the lectures on 2nd May 2018

Click here for more details of Woburn Abbey on their website