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Update – April 2019

Dear Members,

Welcome to Spring 2019!

Those of you who are diligent readers of my various newsletters and updates (which I am sure is everyone!) will have noticed that I promised three updates in October, December and April. I did not actually produce an update in December because, given that there was going to be (and was) a full newsletter in January, I thought that it might be a case of communication overload.  I propose to continue with the pattern of newsletters and updates that has been established this season. I hope that this will strike the always difficult balance between keeping you informed about what your society is doing and avoiding the ‘oh no-not another email from the Arts Society!’ reaction. If anyone has any contrary views on this, please do let me know.

We are now two thirds of the way through the 2018/19 lecture programme and what a successful one it has been to date. We owe many thanks to Carolyn Voss and Eithne Batt for putting together such a varied and interesting programme.

The first lecture of 2019 was ‘Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes’ which certainly lived up to my earlier prediction that it would be far more stimulating than current day politics! This was followed by the always irrepressible Peter Medhurst on the ‘Music of Paint’ which proved to be a fascinating look at how musicians, music itself and musical instruments are represented in art. Most recently, we had Nicholas Watkins on ‘The Horse and Modern Art from George Stubbs to Mark Wallinger’, a most interesting review of the horse in art and its links to the human condition.  We start the last third of the season on Wednesday 1 May with Gavin Plumley on ‘The Art and Culture of Fin de Siecle Vienna’ which, as a fan of Vienna as a city and art centre, I personally very much look forward to.

Hopefully you will by now all be aware that we started making a light sandwich lunch available for members who wished to participate on the upstairs level of the Spa Centre and that seems to have been well received. If you would like to join friends, fellow members and the committee, you can sign up the month before for lunch at the following month’s lecture at a price of £7 per head; the sign in process is with our membership secretary, Margot Radomska, who will be at her desk just inside the main doors as you enter the Spa Centre. As always, your programme card contains full details of the lecture programme and synopses of all the lectures are on our website (www.tasrls.org.uk). It also has details of our days of special interest, day visits, short breaks and our volunteering activities so please do make use of it to keep up to date on what is going on in your society.

There is one upcoming event that is not on the programme card because it was organised after the card was printed and that is the afternoon tea party at Audley Binswood on Thursday 25th April at 3pm.  There are still some tickets available for this, priced at a very reasonable £10. If you are interested in coming, please contact Roz Crampton on 01926 833609.

Despite the high bar set by the previous day of special interest, our most recent such event on Friday 15th March on ‘How to look at Paintings: Unlocking Hidden Meanings in Art’ at our now usual venue for these events, the Warwickshire Golf Club, was equally well received by the full house audience. Our presenter, Stella Grace Lyons, gave all of us some help and ideas as how better to view and appreciate paintings of all ages and genres.

After our day visit to Stonor and Hughenden on 8th May, our next day visit is to Belvoir Castle on Wednesday 14th August and tickets for this will be on sale at the May lecture.

Our volunteers have continued with their considerable range of projects and I had the pleasure to visit those volunteers working in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry and see, first hand, the work they were doing to preserve the extensive collection of garments. It was clear that the work they do was very well regarded and appreciated by the Herbert’s curator.

The volunteers at the Lord Leycester Hospital have just completed their work on cleaning a major part of the weaponry there and the Master of the Hospital has sent me a letter of thanks for the quality of what they have achieved.  I have, of course, passed this on to the members of the team so many congratulations to them.

I hope that you will enjoy the remainder of our season and I look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you as possible at our events.  In the meantime may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Easter holiday.

Shaun Pitt

Chairman

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 1st May 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.

Wednesday 6th March 2019 – The Music of Paint

The Music of Paint

Lecture_2018_Peter_Medhurst

Wednesday 6th March 2019

Peter Medhurst

Some of the finest paintings in Western Art contain references to the world of music – Holbein’s The Ambassadors, Vermeer’s Young Woman at the Virginals, Gainsborough’s portraits of 18th century composers – and often the musical element carries intriguing and complex symbolism.

Peter Medhurst selects a range of masterpieces from the 16th to the 18th centuries and matches them with live music that stems from the exact time the paintings were created.

Peter’s work as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist has taken him all over the world. In the last few years he has toured New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and made frequent tours in Europe. Closer to home, he has presented events at the Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, and the Royal Festival Hall. He has also directed presentations at the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, linking the visual arts with the world of 17th & 18th century music making.

Wednesday 6th February 2019 – Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes

Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes

Lecture_2018_Justine_Hopkins

Wednesday 6th February 2019

Dr Caroline Shenton

This lecture explores the story of the suffragettes through their ‘pro and anti’ portrayals in cartoons, postcards and paintings – as well as their own artistic productions.

It will also consider the Suffragettes’ impact on the Houses of Parliament itself and how the Parliamentary Art Collection has responded to criticism that its own collection is too ‘male, stale and pale’.

By turns amusing, infuriating, enraging and ultimately inspiring, you will come away from this talk with a new appreciation of how the campaign for equal electoral rights was won by and through art.

Caroline is an archivist and historian. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives in London, and before that was a senior archivist at the National Archives. Her first popular history book, “The Day Parliament Burned Down”, won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013 and Mary Beard called it ‘microhistory at its absolute best’ while Dan Jones considered it ‘glorious’. Its highly-acclaimed sequel, “Mr Barry’s War”, about the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster, was a Book of the Year in 2016 for The Daily Telegraph and BBC History Magazine and was described by Lucy Worsley as ‘a real jewel, finely wrought and beautiful’. Caroline teaches Public History to postgraduates at the University of Dundee, and during 2017 was a Political Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library.

Wednesday 7th November 2018 – Contrapuntal Forms: Barbara Hepworth and Terry Frost

Contrapuntal Forms: Barbara Hepworth and Terry Frost

Lecture_2018_Justine_Hopkins

Wednesday 7th November 2018

Justine Hopkins

In 1950 Barbara Hepworth asked Terry Frost to be her studio assistant in carving Contrapuntal Forms, the monumental stone sculpture she was sending to the 1951 Festival of Britain. She was already widely known for her abstract sculpture while he was a mature student returning to painting after spending much of the war in a prison camp.

They were neighbours in Cornwall (Terry was born and raised in Leamington), and their continued explorations of form, space, shape and colour in the changing Cornish light created works which brought them both international reputation and national honour.

Justine is a freelance writer and lecturer in Art History. She has a BA Hons degree from Bristol University, an MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute and a PhD from Birkbeck College, London.

She has worked as an Art History lecturer and writer for Bristol, London, Oxford and Cambridge Universities; Tate Britain and Tate Modern; the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery; the Victoria and Albert Museum; Sotheby’s, Christies’ and other independent institutions.

Wednesday 3rd October 2018 – The Extraordinary Life of Misia Sert “Queen of Paris” 1877-1950

The Extraordinary Life of Misia Sert “Queen of Paris” 1877-1950

Lecture_2018_Julian_Halsby

Wednesday 3rd October 2018

Julian Halsby

Born Marie Godebska, Misia was brought up in Paris and Brussels and became a pupil of the concert pianist and composer Gabriel Faure. She married the owner of an important art magazine and was painted by Bonnard, Toulouse–Lautrec and Renoir. After her husband lost his money and the marriage broke down, she married a wealthy industrialist and became a patron of artists and musicians.

Her third marriage was to a Spanish painter, and Misia became involved with the Ballets Russes, Stravinsky and Satie. Misia became close friends with Coco Chanel in 1917.

A graduate of Emmanuel College Cambridge, Julian is an art historian, specialising in the period from about 1850 to 1920, a time rich with amazingly talented artists from the Pre-Raphaelites, via Impressionists and Post-Impressionists to the Social Realism of the 19th century adopted by the Newlyn School and many English painters. Julian has written seven books and published many articles. He is also a practising artist and an elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists.

Wednesday 5th September 2018 – Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting

Lecture_2018_Chloe Sayer

Wednesday 5th September 2018

Chloë Sayer

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) have iconic status in Mexico. Rivera’s intricate visual narratives, rich with allegory and symbolism, adorn the walls of public buildings. Kahlo’s work is small in format and she made herself the principal theme of her art, reflecting her experiences and dreams. This lecture surveys the work of both artists; it chronicles their turbulent marriage and Mexico’s history after the 1910 Revolution.

Chloë is a specialist in the art and culture of Latin America. She has curated exhibitions and assisted TV documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. In 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Ohtli medal by the Mexican government for her long-standing commitment to Mexican culture.

The V and A is having an exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s clothes and personal artefacts which have never been shown outside Mexico before. The exhibition runs until November 4th 2018.