Category Archives: Uncategorised

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 – Beethoven at 250

Beethoven at 250


Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Sandy Burnett

To mark the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Sandy will guide us through the life of this brilliant, cantankerous visionary and astonishingly original composer, a man who tore up the rule book of classical music. With visual images and examples of his music, Sandy will show us why Beethoven described himself as a ‘poet in sound’

Sandy is one of the UK’s most authoritative broadcasters in the field of classical music. His varied career has seen him as author, bassist, conductor, broadcaster and presenter, sharing his passion for music.

After studying music at St Catharine’s College in Cambridge, Sandy worked as music director for the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and in London’s West End.

Sandy became a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 for more than a decade, and also worked for Irish radio station RTÉ Lyric FM.

When he is not on our airwaves, Sandy is the author of the Idler Guide to Classical Music, and presenter of a related online course covering a thousand years of classical music from the medieval to modern eras. He also devises and leads cultural lecture holidays across Europe.

Sandy became an accredited lecturer with The Arts Society in 2017.

This meeting will be streamed online at 11:00am on Wednesday 3rd June 2020.
Members will receive an invitation by email to join the lecture.

Update – August 2019

A very warm welcome to a new year at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa – your Society. I very much hope that you enjoyed the summer (with a bit of luck it may be that we still have some summer to go!) and managed to dodge the worst of the wind and rain!

The strap line for the national Arts Society is ‘We inspire, we do, we give’ and, as one of the largest and most active of the societies in the UK, we plan to do just that in our society. We will aim to ‘inspire’ you through the lecture programme, the day visits, the days of special interest and the short breaks; enable you to ‘do’ through our volunteering work and ‘give’ through the various donations that we make over the year to a variety of worthy causes and organisations.

Members have been sent your hard copy of the programme card for the 2019/ 20 season which sets out the lecture programme for the year. I hope you will agree that it looks like another outstanding programme which I hope you will enjoy; if, for any reason, you do not receive your programme card please let the membership secretary know.

Our first lecture is on Wednesday 4th September and, hopefully,  I may have the opportunity to see you and/or meet you there.
If you are planning to come to that lecture there are two matters I should make you aware of:

If on arrival at the Spa Centre, you think there has been a change in our secretary from Margot Radomska to Keith Roberts, please do not be concerned – Margot will be away on her annual visit to friends and family in Poland and Keith is standing in for her at that lecture; normal service will be resumed for the October, and subsequent, lectures.

The ‘click in’ process that we adopted last year to register you when you attend a lecture has proved very efficient and has substantially reduced pre-lecture congestion in the downstairs lobby area. Accordingly, we will continue with that process with one small change; previously your name and membership number were on your programme card and so the majority of members showed that to register their attendance. For this year you will see that your name and membership number are not on the programme card but are on your national membership card and so it is that card that you will need to bring with you for each lecture 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 enquires that you may have.

Your programme card also has details of the planned day visits, days of special interest and short breaks and when tickets for these are on sale. It also has details of other events that are planned for the 2019/20 year such as the new members coffee morning (Thursday 10th October 2019), the Leamington Music concert (Friday 18th October 2019) and the biennial dinner at Wroxall Abbey (Saturday 20th June 2020).

If other events arise during the year, I will, of course, let you know about these both in my newsletters and updates and in my announcements before the lectures.

If you have told us that you are happy to receive communications from us by email then you will receive this letter, a brief synopsis of each of the lectures planned for the 2019/20 season and an up to date copy of the guidance notes for members by that means; if not, the synopsis and guidance notes will posted in hard copy form.

I very much hope that you enjoy as much as possible of what is planned for 2019/20.

If there is anything that you want to discuss or if you have any queries or concerns, please do contact either me or any other member of the Committee.

Best wishes,

Shaun Pitt

Wednesday 2nd September 2020 – Catherine de Medici: the Story of Three in a Marriage

Catherine de Medici: the Story of Three in a Marriage

Catherine de Medici and Henry IV
Henry IV and Catherine de Medici

Fine Art Images/ Heritage Images/ Getty Images

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Caroline Rayman

This is the sad life story of an unfortunate young woman who left Florence to become the Queen of France, and the unhappy life that followed.

She was a brave woman who suffered every indignity at the French Court, but survived all her enemies.

Caroline has lectured for many years to universities and art organisations in America and on cruise ships. She was an official guide at the British Museum and has published articles on samplers.

This is the first lecture of the 2020/ 21 season.

Wednesday 1st July 2020 – The Art of Taking Tea

The Art of Taking Tea

The Art of Taking Tea
Afternoon Tea, 1886.
Chromolithograph after Kate Greenaway
Credit: Welcome Collection

© Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions

Wednesday 1st July 2020

Gaye Blake Roberts

This lecture will explore the extraordinary story of the development of drinking tea in Britain from its introduction, through the importance of the Far Eastern trade, to the general usage of tea in modern times. It will examine the changing styles and uses of tea wares and will also look at the implications of how the beverage altered the habits of the nation.

Gaye Blake Roberts is Curator of the Wedgwood Museum, having worked previously at the V&A and the Coalport China Works Museum.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Museums Association.

Gaye has lectured extensively throughout Britain, Italy, Australia and the USA and has often appeared on national radio and television.

She has contributed to catalogues for major exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, the V&A and other international museums and has written a number of specialist books on ceramics and the creativity and innovation of Wedgwood.

Note that this meeting will not now take place in the Royal Spa Centre due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. It may be rescheduled for a later date.

Instead, please click here to see details of our online lecture on 1st July.

Wednesday 6th May 2020 – Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim

Guggenheim Venice
Guggenheim Museum, Venice
Image by Waldo Miguez from Pixabay

Wednesday 6th May 2020

Alexandra Epps

Peggy Guggenheim, the ‘poor little rich girl’ who changed the face of twentieth century art.

Not only was Peggy Guggenheim ahead of her time but she was the woman who helped define it. She discovered and nurtured a new generation of artists producing a new kind of art. Through collecting not only art but the artists themselves, her life was as radical as her collection.

Alexandra Epps is an Official Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Guildhall Art Gallery. She lectures at Pallant House Gallery and is a Qualified Guide to the City of London, offering lectures and walks about many aspects of the arts for societies, corporations and private individuals.

She is a Member of the City of London Guide Lecturers Association and Co-author of the book Lord Mayor’s Portraits 1983-2014 (2015).

Alexandra’s background is in design, having practised as a graphic designer running her own design consultancy for many years. She holds a BA from Saint Martins School of Art, and an MA from the London College of Printing.

Note that this meeting will not now take place due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. The lecture has been rescheduled for the 2020/ 21 season.

Wednesday 1st April 2020 – Raphael: A Master in the Making

Raphael: A Master in the Making

The Transfiguration - Raphael

The Transfiguration by Raphael
[Public domain image]

Wednesday 1st April 2020

Siân Walters

Raphael, one of the three giants of the High Renaissance in Italy alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, moved from humble commissions in Urbino to become one of the leading artists at the court of Pope Julius II in Rome. This lecture explores how he achieved this extraordinary rise in status.

Siân is a highly qualified and experienced tutor and events organiser, and lectures regularly for the National Gallery, The Arts Society, The Art Fund, Friends of the Royal Academy and many other galleries, colleges and arts societies. She was a lecturer at Surrey University for many years and in 2016 was named a Highly Commended finalist in the World’s Best Guide Awards.  Siân is a firm believer in making art history fun!

Note that this meeting will not now take place in the Royal Spa Centre due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. Instead, the lecture will be streamed live on the internet. Full details will be emailed to members shortly.

Wednesday 4th March 2020 – Charles Dickens – The Man, His Life, and His Characters

Charles Dickens – The Man, His Life, and His Characters

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens by Crowdy & Loud, after G.L. Lea, or after Mason & Co (Robert Hindry Mason) photogravure, published 21 December 1901 (1863) NPG x28075

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Wednesday 4th March 2020

Bertie Pearce

Charles John Huffam Dickens brought into the world a staggering array of wonderful characters with orphans, starving children, misers, murderers and abusive school teachers among them.

People such as Mr Micawber, Fagin and Abel Magwitch remain in one’s literary psyche long after the books are put down.

Largely self-educated, Dickens possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age with fifteen major novels and countless short stories and articles.

In this lecture Bertie Pearce looks at the life and places of Dickens through his characters. The talk is interspersed with readings of his works. A truly Dickensian experience.

Bertie has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. He is a member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. Past experience includes lecturing and performing on cruise ships, and to U3A, historical societies, festivals, schools and colleges. In addition, he has toured the world with a magic cabaret show and a one man show entitled All Aboard and has written articles for newspapers and magazines on entertainment and theatre.

Wednesday 5th February 2020 – Art of the Islands: An Introduction to Early Medieval Art in Britain and Ireland c. 500-850

Art of the Islands: An Introduction to Early Medieval Art in Britain and Ireland c. 500-850

The Ardagh Chalice
Photograph © National Museum
of Ireland

Wednesday 5th February 2020

Michelle Brown

The different cultures present in these islands before the Norman conquest produced stunning metalwork such as the Sutton Hoo and Staffordshire Hoard, the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara brooch, magnificent manuscripts such as the books of Durrow and Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, and sculptures such as the Ruthwell Cross and the enigmatic Pictish carvings.

This illustrated lecture will trace the interaction of these cultures – Celtic, Pictic, Anglo-Saxon and Viking – across the various artistic media, setting them within the historical context.

Michelle holds a BA in History and History of Art, Westfield College, and a PhD in History, UCL.   She is Professor Emerita of Medieval Manuscript Studies, SAS, University of London, Visiting Professor at UCL and Baylor University, and Senior Researcher at the University of Oslo.

She was formerly a Course Tutor in History of the Book (SAS), Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, and lecturer at Birkbeck and Morley Colleges.

Her recent publications include The Book and the Transformation of Britain, c.550-1050 (2011) and Art of the Islands: Celtic, Pictish and Anglo-Saxon Visual Culture (Bodleian, 2016).

Wednesday 6th November 2019 – Secret Art in the Passport: How we use it to fox the forger

Secret Art in the Passport: How we use it to fox the forger

Secret Art Passport

Wednesday 6th November 2019

Martin Lloyd

From the wax seal to the microchip, man has exploited the skill of the artist and artisan in his attempt to manufacture a forgery-proof document.

Taking you through three centuries of passport design, this lecture explains the overt, and uncovers the covert, to illustrate the defences built in to the passport and the tricks the forger uses to defeat them.

Martin Lloyd has been lecturing to various groups, including U3A, National Trust, historical societies, Gresham College and business groups since 2008. He previously worked for HM Immigration Service, and has broadcast on local and national television and radio.

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 – Brilliant British Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard 1909-1939

Brilliant Britsh Humour in the Forgotten Art of the Picture Postcard 1909-1939

Lecture_2019_James Taylor

Wednesday 2nd October 2019

James Taylor

From the Edwardian era to the outbreak of World War II, millions of artist-drawn humorous postcards were produced, not just for entertainment but to bolster morale, to inspire, instruct, motivate and persuade.

Discover the popular themes and styles of the period by the masters of the medium such as Mabel Lucie Attwell, Dudley Buxton, Donald McGill and Fred Spurgin, and the reasons why their popularity waned with the British public. 

James Taylor studied at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester.

He is a former curator of paintings, drawings and prints, and co-ordinator of various exhibitions, at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and has worked as a lecturer on board cruise ships.

Publications include Maritime Painting: Images of Sail, Sea and Shore (1995); Yachts on Canvas: Artists’ Images from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day (1998); The Voyage of the Beagle: Darwin’s Extraordinary Adventure Aboard FitzRoy’s Famous Survey Ship (2008); Careless Talk Costs Lives: Fougasse and the Art of Public Information (2010) and Your Country Needs You: the Secret History of the Propaganda Poster (2013).