All posts by Keith Roberts

Arts Volunteering – 2020

Arts Volunteering 2020 – Cara Stephen

Cara received her award, socially distanced, at Jephson Gardens from Chairman of The Arts Society RLS, Shaun Pitt.
Cara received her award, socially distanced, at Jephson Gardens from Chairman of The Arts Society RLS, Shaun Pitt.

Many congratulations to Cara Stephen on being awarded The Arts Society RLS annual Bursary for best Foundation Year Student 2020 at Warwickshire College.

Cara will begin her architecture course at the beginning of October at Central St Martin’s.

Chairman’s Update, August 2020

Dear Member,

Online Lecture
Our online lectures continue to be very popular with record numbers of members, friends and guests logging in to watch both our last lecture and the virtual walk of the East End of London; I am most grateful to you all for your continuing support for our online lecture programme.

For those of you who watched the virtual walk presentation by Pepe Martinez, he would very much welcome reviews as he is not an Arts Society approved lecturer and therefore does not get feedback through The Arts Society. You can leave a review on Trip Advisor using the following link:

Pepe Martinez on Trip Advisor

I am delighted to announce that we will be broadcasting our next online lecture on Wednesday 2nd September at 11.00am which is, of course, the opening lecture in our 2020/21 season. As with our previous online lectures, you are very welcome to invite friends and family to watch it with you or, if you prefer, to forward them the link to You Tube to enable them to watch separately.

More details can be obtained by clicking on this link to our website:
Online Lecture, Wednesday 2nd September

As is now our established practice, this lecture will be streamed live via YouTube which should make it easy for you to access as it can be viewed by any standard web browser; there is no need to download or set up any additional software. A link to enable you to access the broadcast will be emailed to members a few days before the lecture.

Thank you so much to all members who have renewed your membership for the 2020/21 season. The vast majority of members did renew with the only significant fall out being, perhaps understandably, those members without emails/computer access; I very much hope that, when we return to physical meetings, many of those will re-join our society.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our membership secretary, Margot Radomska, for all her sterling and extensive work on the membership renewals.

Warwick District Council (WDC)
Some of you may be aware that WDC is developing a strategy for establishing a creative centre and hub in South Leamington, which already has a nucleus of businesses in this sector.  We are in touch with WDC to see what and whether this is something that we want to be involved in and, if so, how.  I will keep you updated on this as matters progress.

I do hope that you enjoy the lecture.

Best wishes and stay safe and well.

Shaun Pitt
27th August 2020

Tuesday 11th August 2020 – The Old East End – A Virtual Tour

The Old East End – A Virtual Tour

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Pepe Martinez

Cabinet at Rodmarton Manor

The Arrival Memorial
Liverpool Street Station

Image: Wjh31 Own Work
Used under Creative Commons licence

The East End is one of London’s most fascinating and dynamic districts.  It is essentially the story of immigration, wave after wave of people coming to London to seek refuge and look for a better life.

The Old East End Virtual tour tells their story.  Using powerful images, video and Google street view, our journey takes us from the arrival of French Huguenots in the 1680s through to the more than 10,000 Jewish Kindertransport children who arrived at Liverpool Street station in 1939. 

Pepe Martinez is an award winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide.  He was born in the East End and has lived there all his life. He is an accredited Institute of Tourist Guiding Trainer and is currently tutoring on the London Blue Badge training course.

This “virtual tour” will be streamed online on Tuesday 11th August 2020 at 2:00pm.
TAS RLS members received an invitation by email on August 8th to join this event.

Click here for our September lecture

Day – August 2021 – Sezincote and Batsford Arboretum

Wednesday 11th August 2021

Sezincote and Batsford Arboretum

Sezincote Palace and Gardens
Image © Sezincote website
Used with permission

Sezincote is a family run estate in the Cotswolds. It is a 200-year-old home in the style of a Mogul Indian Palace. The mixture of Hindu and Muslin detail makes it a unique example of the architecture of Akbur. It is thought that Sezincote is the only Mogul building surviving in Western Europe. The interior is purely classical Greek revival.

The gardens are originally attributed to Thomas Dancell and are a beautiful mixture of mighty oaks, flower beds, water and statues.  A later addition of the orangery unfurls above a Repton landscape that has remained unchanged since the mid 19th century.

Our afternoon visit is to Batsford Arboretum and wild garden.  This is home to a unique collection of some of the world’s most beautiful and rare trees, shrubs and bamboos. It was created in the late 1800’s by Lord Redesdale, grandfather to the infamous Mitford sisters, and is heavily influenced by the far East.

Our day will begin with coffee at a charming café before a tour in two groups round Sezincote Palace and garden.

We will then have lunch in a country inn, The Horse and Groom. The visit will end with a free flow tour of the Arboretum with time for a look round the garden centre and a chance to buy your own refreshments before the journey home.

Tickets will be on sale at our June 2021 meetings.

More information:
Sezincote website
Batsford Arboretum website

Day – May 2021 – Dorneywood House and Dorney Court

Wednesday 12th May 2021

Dorneywood House and Dorney Court

Dorney Court
Image © Ann Pitt

Dorneywood House is an 18th century house in Buckinghamshire traditionally used as the grace and favour house of the chancellor of the exchequer.

Originally a Georgian farmhouse, it has Victorian and later additions, and following a fire in 1910, was remodelled in 1919 by Sir Robert Lorimer.  It was given to the National Trust by Lord Courtauld-Thomson in 1947 as a country home for a senior member of the Government.

Dorneywood House will be opened specially for us in the morning.  After our journey the day will begin with a refreshing coffee.  Then half our group will view Dorneywood House and learn about the fascinating history of the house and its occupants while the other half view the gardens, then the reverse.

 We will then enjoy a private finger lunch at Dorneywood. 

Close by is Dorney Court, a grade 1 listed Tudor Manor house, dating from around 1440. It is one of England’s loveliest houses renowned for its architectural importance and historical significance.  It has been in the Palmer family for nearly half a millennium.

In the afternoon we have guided tours of Dorney Court in three groups with time, if you wish, to go to the garden centre where you may purchase tea before our journey home.

Tickets will be on sale at our March 2021 meetings.

Wednesday 1st September 2021 – The Ashcan Painters: Founders of New York Realism

The Ashcan Painters: Founders of New York Realism

Men of the Docks

Men of the Docks

George Bellows 1912
Image credit: © The National Gallery, London

Wednesday 1st September 2021

Mary Alexander

The term ‘Ashcan School’ was used to describe the realism and contemporary subject matter of a New York based group of artists who shared a fascination with zesty everyday life scenes. Each had an individual style, and all rejected the stolid conservatism and rigid teaching practices of the National Academy of Design.

This lecture will explore the work of this extraordinary group of individual artists who created vivid and stunningly beautiful images of a New York city in transition at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Mary Alexander has thirty years’ experience as a lecturer. Her experience includes public lectures in museums, tutoring for the Open University, visiting lecturer at Christie’s Education in London, and museum curator at Platt Hall, the Gallery of Costume, Manchester. She has worked in Pentagram design consultancy in London and New York organising conferences and special events, and is now a freelance lecturer to various arts, heritage and antiquarian societies. She is the author of articles on design and visual awareness issues. Her background combines an unusual blend of academic and visual communications skills.

This is the first lecture of our 2021/ 22 season.

Wednesday 7th July 2021 – The Secret Story of Ruskin Pottery

The Secret Story of Ruskin Pottery

Ruskin Pottery

Ruskin Pottery

Image Robmcrorie at English Wikipedia
Used under Creative Commons Licence

Wednesday 7th July 2021

Sally Hoban

At the beginning of the 20th century the Ruskin Pottery in Smethwick was producing some of the most innovative and beautiful art pottery in the world.

Named in honour of the art critic John Ruskin, the pottery was set up by Edward Richard Taylor, Headmaster of the Birmingham Municipal School of Art. It was later taken over by his son William Howson Taylor. The company won international awards and even royalty invested in pieces for their collections.

Collectors today are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for the finest pieces of Ruskin Pottery, yet the story of the factory is little known. This lecture will introduce us to the secrets of Ruskin Pottery and its beautiful ceramics.

Dr Sally Hoban has lectured extensively on art, design and antiques throughout the UK and at The University of Birmingham. She has broadcast on BBC Antiques Roadshow, BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 4 and her publications include the book Miller’s Collecting Modern Design.

She currently runs her own antiques businesses, specialising in nineteenth and twentieth century decorative arts, and antique and vintage clothing and textiles.

This lecture will follow the AGM at 1:30pm

Wednesday 2nd June 2021 – Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion: The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures

Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion:
The History of Magic Through Art and Pictures

Burning playing cards

Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Bertie Pearce

From the beginning of time the fascination with magic has been widespread. Sorcerer Priests used scientific principles to create illusions for the edification of worship and to hold power over the people.

In the age of the Music Hall, audiences flocked in their thousands to watch the extraordinary feats of The Great Illusionists. Even today, with the craze for Harry Potter, the wonder and surprise of magic are as popular as ever. This lecture will be a whistle stop tour of the history of magic from 3000 BC to the present day.

Bertie Pearce is a member of the Inner Magic Circle. He has toured the world with his one-man cabaret show All Aboard, performed on cruise ships, and lectured to a wide range of art and history societies.

Click here for our July lecture

Wednesday 5th May 2021 – Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Cultural Experiments in the Weimar Republic

Poster for the Bauhaus Austellung (1923)

Poster for the Bauhaus Austellung (1923)
Joost Schmidt

Image in the public domain

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Gavin Plumley

After World War I, with Europe reeling from the worst conflict ever known, artists and architects were in a state of flux; yet out of crisis came a truly stimulating period of artistic endeavour.

Contemplating painters such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Christian Schad alongside the experiments of the Bauhaus, new film technologies and the sultry stylings of Marlene Dietrich, this lecture will look at the culture of German-speaking Europe during the interwar years.

Gavin Plumley lectures widely on the culture of Central Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4, and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide.

Click here for our June lecture

Wednesday 3rd March – Painting the Land of the Midnight Sun: Norway’s Golden Age of Painting

Painting the Land of the Midnight Sun:
Norway’s Golden Age of Painting

The North Cape, 1853

The North Cape, 1853
Peder Balke

Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York
Image in the public domain

Wednesday 3rd March 2021

Stella Grace Lyons

The late 19th century marked a defining moment in Norwegian art as romantic painters began to turn to their own land for inspiration, painting the stormy seas, towering glaciers and raw, untamed landscapes of their homeland. They included Peder Balke, who captured the far north with drama and romance, and Nikolai Astrup, who depicted the landscape as a mythical and eerie entity.

Stella Grace Lyons is a freelance lecturer, a lecturer in art history at the University of South Wales, and an artist’s model for the figurative artist Harry Holland.

Click here for our April lecture