All posts by Keith Roberts

Update – June 2018

Dear Members

This is the time of year when we prepare for our AGM in July.  You will shortly be receiving the paperwork for this meeting either by email or in hard copy.   Those members who are not on email will be able to collect the paperwork at the June Lecture Meeting and we hope as many people who can will take advantage of this in order to reduce our postal costs which, nowadays, are considerable.

At the same time, there will also be the chance to renew your membership and the Renewal Papers will also be available for collection before they go in the post, so if you know anyone who is not on email, do tell them of this arrangement.  Naturally, we do hope you will want to renew your membership and this year you will be asked to complete an ‘opt-in’ section which gives the Society permission to hold and handle your contact details.  All assurances of our observance of the legal requirements will be listed on our Data Protection Policy a copy of which you will also find in your renewal papers, so there will quite a bundle for you either to download or to receive in paper form.

On to more social matters, Ann Pitt took a party on a Day Visit to Oxford on May 8th which was great fun and included a visit to the Ashmolean Musem and a special lecture on the history of its collections. The sun shone and the day went very well. We thank Ann for her meticulous planning.

Several of our members took the opportunity of attending the special service of celebration for the Golden Jubilee in Westminster Abbey on 16th May.  It was a most impressive and moving occasion at which our Royal Patron, The Duchess of Gloucester, was present.  Actor Simon Callow, musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and poet Mike Garry took part in the programme and there were compositions from Matthew Sheeran and Giacomo Smith. It was followed by the National AGM at Westminster Hall, for those representing their societies.  Sir Roy Strong gave an eloquent and impassioned appreciation of NADFAS/The Arts Society, thanking the rank and file volunteers who run the societies and who have over the fifty years contributed so much for the fabric of our heritage and fostered a love of the Arts across the world.  Our own member, Shaun Pitt, retiring Trustee and National Treasurer after 6 years’ service, explained the difficulties of the last financial year following the collapse of a travel company affiliate but reassured and encouraged the meeting by showing that the finances were in fact showing positive signs of recovery and should be back on track by 2020.  He departed with customary optimism, rocking the audience with a good joke well told, and it was clear that his fellow trustees would greatly miss his good advice and his humour on the board.  You will see Shaun’s name on your AGM papers as he has been proposed as our next Chairman.  Florian Schweizer, Chief Executive, spoke on the need for keeping up with modern trends of communication and management and the new National Chairman, Julie Goldsmith, succeeding outgoing June Robinson, was introduced to the assembly at the meeting.

The Leamington Spa Photographic Society held their annual award presentation and exhibition launch earlier this month at which, as a sponsor, I represented the Society.  The photographic display showed images which were wide-ranging in their subject matter and extremely impressive.  There is great talent locally and, even closer to home, among our own membership.  It was a most professional exhibition and highly enjoyable.

Church Trails: I wonder if anyone might be interested in composing a Church Trail.  It would be super if an individual or a couple of people working together might take on another church in our area.  There is support on hand for anyone who would like to do this as we have gathered quite a lot of experience from the excellent ones which we have done in the past.  Please let me know if the idea appeals to you.

Publicity:  The small Publicity Group also has spaces for anyone who wishes to help promote the  Arts Society by keeping up our profile in the local press and through advertising where possible and effective.   Please contact our President, Felicity Furber, or me if you are willing to help.

The June Lecture will be on Wednesday June 6th when we shall learn all about Basingstoke and its contribution to World Culture.  Rupert Willoughby will enlighten and, no doubt, surprise us, too.

See you then,

Best wishes
Elizabeth Hunter (Chairman)

Special Interest Day – How to Look at Paintings – March 2019

How to look at paintings – March 2019
Image supplied by the speaker

On Friday 15th March 2019, we will be hosting a Day of Special Interest at The Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, Leek Wootton, near Warwick CV35 7QT.

The speaker will be Stella Grace Lyons and the subject will be, "How to Look at Paintings: Unlocking hidden meanings in Art".

Stella gained her BA in the History of Art with first class honours from the University of Bristol and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice. In addition, she attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios in Florence.

Stella will introduce various art movements, cultural influences, artistic genres, artists and their work as well as different types of painting, such as narrative works and portraits. The aim of the day is to give the necessary skills to approach a painting and appreciate in depth its quality and its significance.

The cost of the day will be £42.00 which will include lunch. Tickets will be on sale at the February and March lectures.

Roz Crampton

Image supplied by the speaker

Update – May 2018

Dear Members

Congratulations to Angela Watkins, our church recorders’ group organiser, who was recently presented with a Golden Jubilee award by the Chairman of the West Midlands Area, Roly Trevor-Jones.  This is “in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding contribution to volunteering for The Arts Society”.  Angela has been group organiser almost since the inception of the church recording group in 1996. The group has recorded seven churches and is currently working at St Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic church in Baddesley Clinton.  Angela recently retired as the West Midlands Church Recorders’ Area Representative, having been in post for twelve years.

It is timely in this May update to mention the issue of GDPR which many of you will know is on the horizon. In order to comply with the new legislation concerning General Data Protection Regulation which is coming into force at the end of May, the Committee now has a Data Management Policy, available on request, which states which personal data the Society may keep with regard to members and how it will store and manage it.  Consequently, the Membership Renewal Form which is issued annually, will include wording to reassure members that the data will be used only for the purposes of running the Society efficiently and effectively.   You will be sent a copy of the Data Management Policy along with your papers for Membership Renewal and it will be available on the website.

At our May lecture, we shall have as our guest the West Midlands Area Chairman, Carolyn Trevor-Jones. She will say a few words before the lectures, so please be seated a few minutes earlier than usual to allow for this.

There are still some tickets for the dinner marking the national Golden Jubilee of the Arts Society and the Silver Anniversary of our own Society which is being held at Walton Hall near Wellesbourne.   They are very reasonably priced at £50 and include a drink of bubbly or soft drink on arrival.  I must say, the menu looks delicious and the setting will be magnificent.  The guest speaker will be Elizabeth, Lady Hamilton, biographer and historian whose family owns the estate and whose knowledge of the Hall and its history is personal and extensive.  It will be a memorable celebration and great fun. So add a touch of romance and glamour to your lives and spend a long summer evening with us.  The date is Wednesday 13th June, the time 7.00 for 7.30pm and Kate Varney will be selling tickets at the May meeting.

John Clark is just back from the wonderful tour he planned for members in Provence.  They have had a full schedule each day with visits to both traditional sights and more, including a boat trip. John’s own review runs like this: “Terence, our guide for the trip, was superb, full of facts, jolly and did his homework. This was especially useful when advising, negotiating and booking for our large group in restaurants. We visited Cézanne’s studio in Aix, kept just as he left it all those years ago. In Arles we ate at Café le Soir, the glowing pool of yellow which Van Gogh captured so brilliantly.  The Carrières de Luminères comprising thousands of digitalised images of works of art projected onto all the former quarry’s surfaces, moving to the rhythm of a musical soundtrack, was probably my favourite event.  Altogether a good show!” …. And he picked the best week of the year so far for it!

Very recently, indeed, Anne Flower with her customary care and emphasis on sharing, arranged for the Leamington Groups of Volunteers from the Art Gallery and All Saints Church to go over to Coventry to the group working at the Herbert Art Gallery, to see what their work involved.  It was a very useful morning of ‘exchange’ and both groups enjoyed discovering in more detail what the projects involved, quite apart from visiting the museum itself.

Ann Pitt is taking the Day Visit to Oxford on May 8th which is proving a very popular event with its walking tour and museum visit.  We hope you have a very good day out.

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 2nd May for the lecture on Piero della Francesca by Shirley Smith.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth Hunter (Chairman)

Golden Jubilee award for church recorders’ organiser

Golden Jubilee award for church recorders’ organiser

On 26 April 2018, at the West Midlands chairmen’s lunch at the delightful home of Roly Trevor-Jones, Angela Watkins, the church recorders’ group organiser for The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa, was presented with a Golden Jubilee award. This is “in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding contribution to volunteering for The Arts Society”.

Angela has been group organiser almost since the inception of the church recording group in 1996. The group has recorded seven churches and is currently working at St Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic church in Baddesley Clinton.

She has recently retired as the West Midlands Church Recorders’ Area Representative, having been in post for twelve years.

26 April 2018

Day – August 2019 – Belvoir Castle

Wednesday 14th August 2019 – Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle

Belvoir Castle has been the ancestral home of the Duke of Rutland’s family since 1067. It is one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the world.

The castle today was built in the early 1800s for the 5th Duke and is the fourth castle to stand on this site. It houses numerous paintings and treasures that have been collected by the family for nearly 1,000 years.

The gardens have undergone several changes over the centuries including bringing the lost plans of Capability Brown to fruition. There are also walks through formal gardens, woodland, Japanese, Duchess’s and Hermit’s gardens.

Ticket price to be advised

Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in May 2019 and subsequent meetings if any remain.

Image – Belvoir Castle © By Nancy, Used under Licence: Creative Commons by SA 3.0

Day – May 2019 – Stonor & Hughenden

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – Stonor & Hughenden

Hughenden Manor

Stonor Park & Hughenden Manor

Stonor Park is one of England’s oldest manor houses housing outstanding displays of portraits, tapestries, bronzes and ceramics.

It has been the family’s residence for over 850 years making it one of the oldest family residences still lived in. We will have a private guided tour of the house and chapel before lunch in the restaurant in the manor.

After lunch, we travel to Hughenden Manor, the handsome home of Benjamin Disraeli set in a Chiltern valley.

It houses a fascinating collection of personal memorabilia of this colourful statesman. Disraeli’s hillside retreat later became the headquarters for a top secret Second World War operation that put Hughenden high on Hitler’s target list. The basement exhibition, 1940s living-room and ice house bunker bring wartime Britain to life. We will have free time to explore this fascinating house.

Ticket price to be advised

Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in March 2019 and subsequent meetings if any remain.

Image – Hughenden Manor © Hans A. Rosbach – Attribution ShareAlike 3.0

Day – November 2018 – Blenheim Palace

Thursday 15th November 2018 – Blenheim Palace

Blenheim

Blenheim Palace at Christmas & Living Crafts Fair

Blenheim Palace was built in the 18th century as a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough who won the battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. Between 1764 – 1764 the grounds were transformed by Capability Brown. Today most notably known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

On our visit, we will see the Palace dressed for Christmas, the Churchill Exhibition, “The Untold Story” film and enjoy the many food and drinks outlets.

In the Great Court at Blenheim, the “Living Crafts for Christmas Fair” showcases over 150 British designer-makers of high quality contemporary crafts. This will be a wonderful opportunity to buy all your Christmas gifts.

Ticket price £27 (for concessions over 60)
Full price £29

The ticket price includes the cost of the coach and admission; but because this is a special event, members will need to make own arrangements for lunch.

Tickets will be on sale one hour before both lectures in September 2018 and subsequent meetings if any remain.

Image – © Blenheim Palace website

Special Interest Day – Chatsworth House – October 2018

Chatsworth House – October 2018
Chatsworth House
On Friday 12th October 2018, we will be hosting a Day of Special Interest at The Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, Leek Wootton, near Warwick CV35 7QT.

The speaker will be Simon Seligman who has spent almost thirty years working in the arts, heritage, tourism and communication.

The subject will be Chatsworth House, an historical overview of the evolution of the House and collections, and the garden. After lunch, a focus on the life and times of Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the youngest and last surviving of the six Mitford sisters, who were prominent members of English society in the 1930s and 1940s.

The cost of the day will be £42.00 which will include lunch. Tickets will be on sale at the September and October lectures.

Roz Crampton

Image out of copyright. Taken from Morris, F. O.: “Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland” (1870)

Update – April 2018

Dear Members

Our last meeting was surely a marvellously sunny oasis in the long months of wintry weather which were February and March. But this weekend heralds Spring and the advancing of the hour so let us hope that we can get out to do what we have planned.

First, there’s a message from Head Office which you will also be receiving in a separate email. In addition to the printed quarterly magazine The Arts Society is introducing a monthly e-newsletter curated by its editorial team and delivering exciting new content directly into your email inbox at no extra cost. The newsletter will include even more exclusive interviews, background stories, competitions, special offers and updates on events and exhibitions. Apparently it’s a must-read for lovers of the arts! As you may know, data protection laws are changing so if you want to receive the newsletter please ensure that you opt in to receive it (you can opt out at anytime). The Society will send one further reminder email and then send no further electronic communication, so please sign up now by going onto The (National) Arts Society website or by responding to the email which is being forwarded to you shortly by our own Arts Society.

At this month’s meeting, Kate Varney will be selling tickets for the Biennial Dinner on Wednesday 13th June. The price is £50 per ticket for a delicious three-course meal. This event is also going to mark the Golden Jubilee of The Arts Society and our own Silver Anniversary which will be in October this year. Walton Hall, near Wellesbourne, is the impressive venue for the event, set as it is in extensive parkland by the side of a lake and shielded behind by the wooded Friz Hill, on the edge of the Avon Valley. It will be a wonderful venue for such a celebration. The original 16th century house was remodelled by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1858 at the request of the then owner, Sir Charles Mordaunt, whose infamous divorce proceedings, all-too-publicly citing the Prince of Wales, was related by historian Elizabeth Hamilton, in her book ‘A Warwickshire Scandal’. We are delighted that Lady Hamilton, herself, will be our speaker at the dinner; so do mark Wednesday 13th June in your diaries and remember to bring your cheque books to the April and May Meetings.

John Clark (Short Breaks) is very busy at the moment as he taking the tour to Provence at the end of the month. We wish all those who are going a wonderful time and we envy you! He has asked me say that although there is a very comfortable number of people signed up, there are still a few places remaining for the Short Break to Yorkshire: September 21st to 25th 2018. Please contact John on 07973 322159 if you want further information or would like to book. The cost is £560 and is for 4 nights in the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate. The trip will take in Newby Hall, Harewood House, York and the Minster, Fountains Abbey…..and much more, including, of course, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

Ann Pitt is running a waiting list for tickets for the Day Visit to Oxford on Wednesday 9th May, so get in touch with her if you want to be added to the list. It’s always worth putting your name down on a waiting list as people’s plans do change and a place might come up.

The New Members’ Coffee Morning, which was postponed from last October to Friday March 2nd was a casualty of the Beast from the East and had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour. However, the Committee has arranged yet another date, Friday May 4th and, as before, it will be held at 10.30am at Charlecote Village Hall with access to the church afterwards. Several projects in which our Society has been involved will be on display there, the Church Record completed a couple of years ago and a Church Trail. This event is by invitation and for all those members who have joined since last March.

Poppies
I had the great privilege last week of attending a Poppies Workshop for Young Carers in Warwick (organised by Matt Deakin) which was being funded by our financial support of the Warwick Poppies 2018 Appeal. Artist Annette Smyth together with Brenda Watts (one of our members) were helping the young carers make and compile large poppies for the display at St. Mary’s in November this year. It was great fun, wonderfully messy with a great deal of scarlet fabric stiffener and components made from mostly reclaimed or donated materials. I thank Helen Fitzpatrick (another of our members, who is one of the organisers of Warwick Poppies 2018), who had set the visit up as it proved to be a very interesting and worthwhile enterprise, helping the Young Carers as well as the Warwick Poppies Appeal in a community project. Photos of the visit are on the Warwick Poppies 2018 Facebook page.

Those of you who have seen the latest quarterly Review will be pleased to note that the Gold Star Award for our Volunteers at the Herbert Art Gallery has been included in the Societies’ News – page 65. Unfortunately, they have edited out both the photograph and the mention of the Herbert Art Gallery or Coventry, which renders the piece less useful, but I have persuaded myself that we should be pleased that our Society has once again achieved recognition in these pages and we congratulate once more our volunteers there.

I have been asked to remind you, if you are interested, to apply for the West Midlands Area Day of Special Interest – “Two Wrekin Gems” – at Tong on 19th July 2018. Details are on the West Midlands Area website.

Lastly, a little alert: if anyone wishes to raise a Resolution at the AGM on July 4th please give notice in writing to the Secretary of The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa, Mrs Janet Looney, at least 6 weeks prior to that meeting. Any such resolution must show the name of the proposer and seconder and shall be included in the agenda of the meeting. Contact details for Janet Looney are on the programme card.

I forward to seeing you at the April Lecture Meeting on 4th April for our lecture on “The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: religious architecture of the world” with lecturer Jon Cannon.

Until then, best wishes,
Elizabeth

Update – March 2018

Dear Members

PLEASE NOTE: The new members’ coffee morning scheduled for Friday 2nd March has been cancelled due to the inclement weather forecast.

February is so short a month that it’s time for another update about what our Arts Society has to offer and what it’s been busy with.

First of all, I hope those of you who live in the Leamington Area saw the publicity in the Observer giving details of the Mayor, Caroline Evetts’, visit to us at the February Lecture Meeting. They were very quick off the mark with their story, complete with picture (see below), and I thank our publicity team, Judith Gallimore and Felicity and Hugh Furber for getting it into the press. She very much enjoyed the lecture and who knows, may yet join the Society.

Ann Pitt will be selling tickets for the Day Visit to Oxford at the next Lecture Meeting on March 7th so please bring a cheque book if you want to join the group. It should be very interesting as it will be taking in the New College Art Collection as well as a visit to the Ashmolean. There will be lunch in the lecture theatre at the Ashmolean, followed by a private lecture, which is not available to the public, on the history of the museum and its collections, after which, charged with what you have learnt, you will be free to explore the museum. It sounds a very good trip and I hope you are tempted to sign up. Tickets will be £45.

Next month, we shall be selling tickets for the Bi-ennial Dinner in June. This event is also going to mark the Golden Jubilee of The Arts Society and our own Silver Anniversary which will be in October this year. It will be a wonderful venue for such a celebration, so do mark Wednesday 13th June in your diaries and remember that we shall be selling tickets for it at the April and May Meetings.

There are still a few places remaining for the Short Break to Yorkshire: September 21st to 25th 2018. Please contact John Clark on 07973 322159 if you want further information or would like to book. The cost is £560 and is for 4 nights in the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate. The trip will take in Newby Hall, Harewood House, York and the Minster, Fountains Abbey…..and much more, including, of course, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

Those of you who supported the Joglaresa concert on February 20th will know what a superb evening it was and how vibrant their playing turned out to be. The young musicians seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience, as we were treated to songs in mediaeval Spanish, Arabic, Judeo Catalan and more, played on modern replicas of ancient instruments including fiddles with five strings, and two harps, not to mention pipes made out of a sheep’s hide and all sorts of tambourines and drums. It was marvellous to see so many Arts Society members in the audience and we went home a happy and merry band, pleased to have been a sponsor of this concert.

I look forward to seeing you at the March Lecture Meeting on 7th March when we shall be learning about ‘Painters of Provence’ courtesy of Ms Juliet Heslewood – a lecture which is designed to tie in beautifully with our trip to Provence in April.

I look forward to seeing you there,

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