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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:

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)

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

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


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 . 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

Update – June 2017

I hope that you have received your copy of the Review with the new name and logo. The Arts Society would appreciate feedback on it as they will be bringing in further changes next year. If members send me their comments before the 14th June, I can collate them and send Nadfas House one email or you can send them in yourself.

The committee will be putting a resolution to the AGM recommending that the name of our society be changed to The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa.

At the Make your Mark exhibition which was organised to coincide with the national AGM in Birmingham this month, the work of the young prize-winners from all over the West Midlands was shown. Rosie Taylor from North Leamington School came third among this group of prize-winners and was warmly applauded.

The Society is sponsoring a concert by the Coventry and Warwickshire Youth Orchestra at Kenilworth School on Sunday, 2nd July at 2.30pm. Members of the Society can obtain a free seat for a child when buying an adult ticket at the door. The school’s address is Leyes Lane, Kenilworth, CV8 2DA.  We shall put the programme on the display board at the Spa Centre before the June lecture.

John Clark will start selling tickets for the Short Break to Provence before our AGM, which is on the 5th July at 1.30pm. This holiday will take place between the 16th and 21st April 2018 and will cost approximately £1,000 depending on currency fluctuations. Details of the itinerary will be available before then.

Best wishes
Felicity Furber (Chairman)

We are looking for volunteers to help to make clothes for children aged 8 or 9 for a school project at St. John’s Museum.   This project is about the Great Fire of Warwick and in the session each child will take on the role of an individual who lost their property and belongings during the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694.  Among the costumes required are an apron for the blacksmith, a waistcoat for the harpist and a coat for the doctor.

All the materials will be provided and any necessary training will be given. Work will be carried out at St. John’s Museum.

If anyone is interested in volunteering for this, or any other project, please get in touch with the Volunteer Co-ordinator,


Update – April 2017

Mrs Vera Leeke: It is with deep regret that I have to tell those of you who have not already heard that Mrs Vera Leeke passed away at the Myton Hospice on the 22nd April after a very distressing illness. A longstanding member of RLSDFAS, Vera was our vice President at the time of her untimely death. She was also the Society’s highly regarded immediate past Chairman, having previously been our Young Arts representative. Vera was extremely popular and, personally, I found her a pleasure to work with and shall miss her greatly.

Day Visits: A brief reminder that tickets for the visit to Hellens Manor and the Cider Museum on Thursday 17th August will be on sale on Wednesday, 3rd May. A ticket costs £45.00. Any unsold tickets will be sold before the lectures on the 7th June.  Also, if you are coming with us to Renishaw Hall, the coach will collect us near the gate to Jephson Gardens in Newbold Terrace. This is opposite the Spa Centre.  When selecting your shoes for the day, please bear in mind that, weather permitting, we shall be wandering round gardens.

We look forward to seeing you on the 3rd May when John Sherlock will be showing us how industrialisation changed the world of architecture in a lecture entitled, Original Grand Designs 6 – Industrialism and Revival.

Kind regards,

Felicity Furber (Chairman)

Update – March 2017

I hope that you will be able to attend our next lecture on the 29th March when Douglas Skeggs will be talking to us about David Hockney, a very talented artist who has never stood still and who is also a draughtsman, photographer and stage designer. He turns 80 in July but is still working. Many of us will have seen his current exhibition at Tate Britain or are planning to see it before it closes on the 29th May and this lecture will, I am sure, enhance the experience. After our lecture, others may be tempted to visit it too!

Visitors to this lecture will be asked to make a donation in the usual way.

Interest has been expressed in taking over from Lesley as our Society’s secretary.  However as this has not yet been confirmed, if you are interested in finding out more about it, please contact Lesley or myself. As was mentioned at our recent coffee morning, being a member of the committee is an excellent way of meeting other members and previous secretarial experience is not essential.

Kind regards,

Felicity Furber (Chairman)

Update – February 2017

Dear Member,

Next Wednesday on the 1st March not only will we have the pleasure of listening to Jane Tapley telling us about social life in Spa Towns, which I am sure will be illustrated with some beautiful images, but you can bring your guests for free as compensation for not being able to bring a guest to the lecture last November.

On the 1st March, Ann Pitt will be selling tickets for the trip to Renishaw Hall on the 10th May and Rosemary Langman will be selling the last few remaining tickets for the tea party at Binswood Audley on the 22nd  March.

I know that many of you receiving this will not have had the great pleasure of being entertained and educated in equal measure by Mary Alexander last week. However, there is a link to the reading list of texts and venues which Mary mentioned at the foot of this update and I know that some members who heard Mary are not able to come on the 1st March. Kate Varney is to be congratulated and thanked for planning this event and the lovely colours of the Côte d’Azur brightened a February day.

If anyone has not visited the Nadfas website ( and wants to know a little more about what lies behind our rebranding, I shall be doing a 10 minute presentation at 10.30am and 1.30pm on the 1st March in the auditorium where we have our lectures. This will include part of the Nadfas video.

If you wish to attend any of the National AGM events in May and cannot find details of these, please tell a committee member and we shall send you the information.

Best wishes,
Felicity Furber (Chairman).

Click here for Reading List, Riviera Paradise (PDF)

Update – January 2017

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next lecture on the 1st February when Diana Lloyd will be talking about The Interiors of Jane Austin’s Heroines. For those of you who would like to learn more about it, there is a more detailed description of the lecture on our website than in the hand out. You can see this by scrolling down to the end of the lecture page.

On the 1st February, John Clark will be selling tickets for the trip to Dorset (24 – 27 September). This is a luxury tour and members will stay at the new Duchess of Cornwall Hotel in Poundbury which was recently opened by Prince Charles. The cost is £450.00 per person ( supplement for a single room ).

Also on the 1st, Rosemary Langman will be selling tickets for the tea party on the 22nd March. This will be an opportunity for members new to this area to meet other RLSDFAS members. More established members may like to come to meet/welcome some of the new/unknown faces whom they see in the foyer before our lectures. The tickets cost £10.00 each and the venue is at Binswood Audley, Binswood Ave, Leamington Spa CV32 5SF from three to five pm. If it proves to be popular, Rosemary and her sub group will consider another “social” event for the autumn. Many societies around the country organize one or two inexpensive social activities a year. For those who cannot attend the lecture, if you contact me, I shall pass your request for tickets on to the Rosemary.

Shortly I shall be sending out invitations to members who joined RLSDFAS after the start of the season to the Coffee Morning on the 17th March. You may wish to keep a space for this in your diary.

May I remind members that the National AGM on Wednesday 17th May in Birmingham is open to all members as are the various excursions the following day etc. You can find further details in the NADFAS Review and by following the link at the end of this update.

May I also remind you that the concert, which we sponsor and for which you can buy two tickets for the price of one, is on Wednesday 1st March and not on Friday 1st March. Details are on your programme card.

Felicity Furber, Chairman

Update – November 2016

On the 17th February 2017, we are in for a treat with a day of Special Interest on Riviera Paradise – A Fusion of Art, Design and Pleasure on the Cote d’Azur in the 1920s  by Mary Alexander who has been highly rated on her previous visits to us.  While it may be grey and cold in Warwickshire, she will take us on Le Train Bleu, with its newly commissioned windows by Lalique, to the blue skies of the Cote d Azur in the 1920s and 1930s. The story will fuse the art of Picasso and Matisse with the music of Cole Porter, the designs of Chanel, the writing of Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and the work of many other fascinating and talented people.

Tickets costing £40 will be on sale on the 30th November.

On the 1st March 2017, Jane Tapley, another “old friend” whom we highly esteem, will be talking about the Social Life in spa towns. Any member can "bring a  friend for free" to the lecture which they would normally attend on that day. In this we are following the example of other societies and I hope it will compensate for you not being able to bring a guest to our lecture in the Spa Centre’s Studio on the 30th November.

Finally can I urge you to think of taking on, in July 2017, Lesley Rayner’s role as our RLS DFAS secretary (and not any individual’s secretary) as I mentioned at our last lecture.

Felicity Furber  (Chairman)