All posts by Keith Roberts

Short – Berlin – Spring 2019

Spring 2019May 2nd to 7th
The Art and History of Berlin.

40 members will be flying from Luton and staying in the central 4 star Berlin Hotel.

We will focus especially on the abundant art and history of the city but will also be visiting Potsdam. There we will see  the delightful Sanssouci Palace and the Cecilienhof Palace, the venue of the Potsdam Conference between the victorious Allies in 1945. In Berlin itself there will be visit to the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, the Berlin Wall and the famous East Side Gallery. There will be private time to enjoy other things – perhaps  a cruise on the river Spree or, by contrast, a trip to the Topographie des Terrors, the Third Reich SS headquarters.

We will be visiting Kulturforum where we will have a guided tour of the Gemaldegalerie, housing one of the finest collections of European art. We finish by seeing the largest collection of French 18th century paintings outside France at the Charlottenburg Palace.

Short – Dublin – Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019September 16th to 20th
The Art and History of Dublin.

Bookings will take place at our February 2019 lecture.

We will see modern and contemporary art at the Hugh Lane Gallery and 13,000 works of art in the National Gallery of Ireland. At Trinity College we will see the Book of Kells and we have a day in the Wicklow Mountains visiting Glendelough and Powerscourt House and gardens. Two other highly acclaimed attractions we visit are the Dublin Castle (guided tour) and the Irish Emigration Museum in Docklands.

Click here to download a flyer for this trip.

Short – Yorkshire – Autumn 2018

Yorkshire – September 21st – 25th 2018.

25 members stayed at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate, and visited Newby Hall, Harewood House, York and the Minster, Hardwick Hall, Fountains Abbey, Temple Newsam  and, of course, Betty’s tea rooms!

Our first stop on the way to Harrogate was The Hepworth in Wakefield and was a highlight for many of us.

Update – August 2018

Dear Member

Welcome to the new season at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa. I do hope that you have all been enjoying our beautifully warm, sunny summer-for once, not a sarcastic comment!!
As always, we have a full year of lectures, events and volunteering activities which I hope as many of you as possible will attend/get involved with and enjoy as we move past our 25th anniversary year and into our second quarter century.

Our programme secretary, Eithne Batt, has put together an outstanding programme of lectures, and it starts on Wednesday 5th September with Chloe Sayer lecturing on ‘Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting.’– something that I would guess relatively few of us know a great deal about.

For those of you who plan to attend this lecture there are two important matters to be aware of:

1. As I mentioned at the lecture in July, the Ovo Energy Cycling Tour of Britain has a stage finishing in Leamington on the day of our first lecture. The result is that there will be various road closures and parking restrictions in Leamington on that day and, while we have confirmed that we are still able to use the Spa Centre for the lecture, I would strongly recommend that you allow more time than usual to make your way to the Spa Centre and for parking.

2. We have also reviewed the way that members register when you attend a lecture. The process of queueing at the registration desk to give your name and number has sometimes been somewhat tedious and has caused considerable congestion in the downstairs lobby area. Accordingly, from now on, all you will need to do is to show your programme card to the committee member inside the door as you arrive and they will ‘count’ you in. This does of course mean that you need to bring your programme card with you to each lecture that you attend; if you forget to do so then you will need to register at the desk as before. The membership desk will still be manned to deal with guests, visitors or any membership related queries that you may have.

As well as being on your programme card, full details of the lecture programme and synopses of the lectures are on our website (www.tasrls.org.uk). It also has all the details of our days of special interest, day visits, short breaks and our volunteering activities so please do make use of it to keep yourself up to date with what is going on; it is a mine of useful information, easy to use, with useful links and, apart from anything else, you will see just how active your society is!

Your programme card also has details of the planned day visits, days of special interest and short breaks and when tickets are being sold for these events. Do please come early if you want to go on these events as they are always very popular. Tickets for the day visit to Blenheim Palace on Thursday 15th November and for the day of special interest ‘Duchess to housewife’ (on Chatsworth) on Friday 12th October will be on sale at the September lecture.

In terms of our short breaks, those for Yorkshire in September 2018 and Berlin in May 2019 are now both sold out but, if these trips are of interest to you, keep an eye out for the Southern Ireland tour in September/October 2019, tickets for which will be on sale at the February 2019 lecture.

Our heritage volunteers have been busy over the summer. At the Herbert Museum in Coventry, the group has recently completed a project for the pre school group sessions which involved making cushion covers in shades of blue and green with different textures. I am delighted to be able to report that these volunteers are through to the finals of the West Midlands Volunteer Awards which are given regionally by the West Midlands Museum Development programme; I will let you know how they fare in the finals in a later communication. They are also about to start a new project with the transport museum and I will update you on this in due course. The volunteers working in the Leamington Museum, have now completed the WW1 quilt and this is now included in an exhibition in the Art Gallery called ‘Are you in this?’ with an acknowledgement of your society’s involvement in the project.

The project at All Saints’ Church is in its final stages and photographs of the volunteers and their work will soon be on permanent display in the church. Three items of embroidery are currently being mounted and framed and will also form part of the permanent exhibition; if you attend All Saints, or are just visiting, do take the opportunity to see the work that the volunteers have done there.

Angela Watkins, who runs our highly regarded team of church recorders, is currently working with a group at St. Francis of Assisi in Baddesley Clinton. The fieldwork is now almost complete and collating and photography is under way and it is hoped that the record will be complete later this year.

We are always looking for new volunteers for both the heritage volunteers and church recorders so, if this is of interest to you, please do contact the relevant people; their contact details are on your programme card and on the website.

Your society has also been active in the Young Arts arena. In November, Jacquie Smithson, a mixed media artist specialising in felt making worked as an artist-in-residence at Round Oak School in Warwick. Round Oak School provides for students aged 11 – 18 who have a broad spectrum of special educational needs. All the young people at the school participated in making felt leaves, twigs, clouds and berries for a wall hanging which is now in the school’s entrance hall.
In December members of The Arts Society attended the Playbox Theatre in Warwick to see an excellent production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The young actors put on a very professional and enjoyable performance.
Every year your society awards a bursary to a Foundation Year Student at Warwickshire College. This year the recipient is Sophie Ryan who is a Fashion/Textiles student.

Finally, if you are a new member, you will shortly receive an invitation to our new members coffee morning at Charlecote village hall at 10.30am on Thursday 11th October and I hope that as many as possible of you will be able to join myself, the Committee and other new members for what is always a pleasant and enjoyable morning.

I very much look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you as I can during the course of the season and I hope that you will thoroughly enjoy your membership of The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa.

Shaun Pitt
Chairman

Wednesday 4th September 2019 – Temples, Tombs and Treasures: In Search of the Queen of Sheba

Temples, Tombs and Treasures: In Search of the Queen of Sheba

Lecture_2018_Louise_Schofield

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Louise Schofield

This is the first lecture of the 2019/ 20 season.

The fame of the Queen of Sheba has lasted across the many intervening centuries since she made her epic journey from her distant land to the court of King Solomon.

A passage in the Bible’s Book of Kings has immortalised this Queen and the journey that she made, her camel caravan laden with gold and incense as gifts for the king of Jerusalem.

In this talk, Louise looks at how the Queen of Sheba has captured the imagination of great artists, inspired epic films and has led archaeologists to go in search of her land – a search that has led to discoveries of great temples, tombs and treasures in both the Yemen and Ethiopia.

Louise is an archaeologist who was Curator of Greek Bronze Age and Geometric Antiquities at the British Museum from 1987-2000. Her book, "The Mycenaeans", was co-published by the Getty Museum and the British Museum in 2007. She now writes, lectures and runs international archaeological projects – previously in south-eastern Turkey, Greece and Albania and currently in Ethiopia. She has just been appointed Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the American University of Rome.

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – From Garbo to Garland: The Magical Art of Hollywood

From Garbo to Garland – The Magical Art of Hollywood

Lecture_2018_Geri_Parlby

Wednesday 3rd July 2019

Dr Geri Parlby

Lights, Camera, Action! – inside stories of the art and artifice of the early decades of Hollywood.

This lecture covers the work of stills photographers, costumiers, publicists, actors and actresses and the movie moguls who made it all happen.

Geri is a former Fleet Street journalist and film publicist. She has a first class honours degree in History and Theology, a Masters in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute and a Theology doctorate from Roehampton University in London. She has been lecturing for the past eleven years both in the UK and internationally. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Roehampton University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Note – This lecture will follow our AGM which will start at 1:30pm

Wednesday 5th June 2019 – Thank You Your Majesty: the Royal Art Collection

Thank You Your Majesty: the Royal Art Collection

Lecture_2018_Linda_Collins

Wednesday 5th June 2019

Linda Collins

We look at the founding of the Royal Collection with Henry VIII and we then work chronologically through our Monarchs looking at items they brought in to the Royal Collection.

This gives us a good idea of their personal taste – and there are some surprises! George IV would bankrupt himself for diamonds and yet his taste in art was for small genre pictures. Charles I was probably our greatest connoisseur of art. He enjoyed acquiring Italian paintings by important artists and our Royal Collection at this time would have rivalled any in the world.

On the other hand, it was said of William IV that he couldn’t tell a decent painting from a window shutter!

Linda was employed by the Historic Royal Palaces for more than twenty years before becoming an independent lecturer. She holds a BA(Hons) in Early Italian art, an MA in the works of Georges de la Tour, and a Diploma in French language and Culture.

Linda describes working amongst the paintings in the Royal Collection as being “fascinating and compelling”. She was involved in the opening of the New Cumberland Art Gallery at Hampton Court Palace, which has brought together works by Caravaggio, Holbein, Rembrandt, Gentileschi (both father and daughter), Gainsborough and many more in a beautiful historic setting.

Wednesday 1st May 2019 – The Art and Culture of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

The Art and Culture of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

Lecture_2018_Gavin_Plumley

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Gavin Plumley

At the turn of the last century Vienna was the capital of a vast empire and one of the most exciting artistic laboratories in the world. It produced painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oscar Kokoschka, architects like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffman, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the composer Gustav Mahler and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

This lecture looks at these and other figures in the context of the society in which they worked and asks how and why the City of Dreams became a cultural hotbed around 1900.

Gavin is a writer and broadcaster. Well known for his work on Vienna and Central European music and culture, he is equally at home on Broadway and in Tolstoy’s Russia. His work can be found 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 also edits other people’s writing, as a commissioning editor for the Salzburg Festival and for the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – The Horse and Modern Art from George Stubbs to Mark Wallinger

The Horse and Modern Art from George Stubbs to Mark Wallinger

Lecture_2018_Nicholas Watkins

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Dr Nicholas Watkins

The horse is so rooted within the psyche of the Western imagination that it has maintained its expressive power through the centuries.

Stubbs, the greatest horse painter of all time, depicted the English Thoroughbred as a lean, mean racing machine. Degas learnt from sequential photography how to represent the mechanical movements of a galloping horse. For Munnings the horse represented tradition, a defining image of Englishness, while for the Fascists and Nazis the horse was a symbol of authority.

In Guernica (1937) the most moving protest painting of the twentieth century, Picasso employed an agonised horse in its death throes to evoke the destruction of the civilian population by the German Condor Legion flying for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

The lecture concludes with the very diverse ways contemporary artists have made use of the equestrian image including Mark Wallinger’s planned but as yet unrealised gigantic 50 metre horse in Kent.

Nicholas is Emeritus Reader in the Department of the History of Art and Film, University of Leicester, curator, critic, author and lecturer. He is a regular contributor to The Burlington Magazine and other leading art journals. He lectures extensively to universities, museums, art galleries and art societies.