Category Archives: Uncategorised

Update – July 2018

Dear Member

July has come round and we shall be holding our AGM on 4th July.  I do hope you will attend as it is an important date in our year when the Committee will be refreshed and we can hear what lies ahead next season.  We are also asking the Membership to affirm an updated and revised Constitution for the Society.  This year the meeting will be held at 10.30am so please arrive by 10.15am and, after a short break, the lecture will begin at 11.15am and is for both groups – morning and afternoon together.  This month it will be The Punch and Judy Show (A Subversive Symbol from Commedia Dell’Arte to the Present Day) by Bertie Pearce.  During the break there will be a short PowerPoint presentation showing events which have happened over the past year, designed not only to entertain you while you wait, but also to show how much we have achieved during the year.  We must thank Edwina McConville for undertaking this for us.

You will also have received last month, either by email or as hard copy,  your Membership Renewal Papers.  I remind you that your subscriptions are due by the end of this month – July 31st and any late applications will incur a re-joining fee.  Please bring your cheque books to the July meeting to ensure efficient renewed membership.

A renewal form can be downloaded by clicking on this link

Many of you who attended the celebration dinner marking the national Golden Jubilee of the Arts Society and the Silver Anniversary of our own Society, have sent messages to say how much you enjoyed the event and Kate Varney must be congratulated on the buzz which accompanied a most successful evening.  Keith Roberts’ help was invaluable, too, not only with respect to the microphone and audio system but also for the photographs which he took as a record of the occasion.  We thank them both.  Catherine Leahy, who had travelled from the north of Scotland to be with us, spoke very amusingly about the setting-up of RLSDFAS and was welcomed back by her many friends who were among the guests.  She was delighted to feel that she had picked up where she had left off and that the distance in time and in miles had not affected her relationship with the Society.

Lady Hamilton gave a most personal talk on the history of Walton Hall and some of its inhabitants, bringing to life the building and the complexities of high society as it was at the end of the nineteenth century, and which caused Warwickshire’s notorious scandal regarding Harriet Mordaunt and the Prince of Wales.

You may be interested to know, as it ties in beautifully with our September lecture, ‘Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting’ that the Frida Kahlo exhibition has opened at the V and A.  Members can click on the link to the V and A on our website to find out more about it.

Our season will be drawing to a close, now, with the prospect of the Day Visit to Woburn Abbey  which Ann Pitt is organising on Wednesday 15th August, the last event in the calendar.  It has been another splendid year for us all and, as I take my leave as Chairman, I thank the Committee for making it so.

I look forward to seeing you all on 4th July for the AGM and lecture as detailed above.

With my best wishes

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)

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)

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.

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,

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

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)

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

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

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.