Update – January 2019

A very Happy New Year to you all and welcome to 2019!

I hope that, however you chose to celebrate the Christmas season, you had a thoroughly enjoyable time and found some time to relax amongst the festivities.

We had a very successful set of lectures in the first half of the 2018/19 year, the last lecture of which was most impressive on ‘Contrapuntal Forms: Barbara Hepworth and Terry Frost’. Those of you who were at the lecture (and maybe even more if you were not able to be there), might be interested in a piece written by one of our members, David Howells (a collector of a number of pieces of Terry Frost’s work), which has details about Terry’s life and background; you can download the piece here

We have an equally impressive set of lectures for you in the second half of the season. It starts on Wednesday 6th February with Dr. Caroline Shenton on ‘Votes for Women! Art and the Suffragettes’ which should be most stimulating-certainly more so than present day politics!

For those of you planning to attend this lecture, we are planning an innovation that I hope will be welcome to you. We pride ourselves on being a social, friendly society and, with that in mind, we thought that members might like the opportunity to meet up after/before the lecture (depending on whether you are a morning or afternoon member) for a light sandwich lunch on the upstairs level of the Spa Centre and socialise with friends, committee members and the lecturer. Accordingly, at the February lecture you will be able to sign up for such a lunch at the March lecture at a price of £7 per head, payable at the February lecture either by cheque or in cash; the sign-up process will be with our membership secretary, Margot Radomska who, as usual, will be at her desk just inside the main doors as you come into the Spa Centre. The process will roll forward each month i.e. book up at the March lecture for lunch at the April lecture etc, etc. Members will also be able to purchase drinks from the upstairs bar which will be open from 12.00 noon to 1.45pm.

So that you have some idea of, literally, what the lunch looks like, here is a photograph of what we are talking about.

I very much hope that many of you will take this up and enjoy it.

Your programme card does, as always, contain full details of the lecture programme and synopses of all the lectures are here on our website. It also has all the details of our days of special interest, day visits, short breaks and our volunteering activities so please do make use of it to keep yourself up to date with what is going on in your society.

For those of you who wish to keep up to date with happenings in the art world outside our society, I would strongly recommend signing up to the regular email from the national Arts Society which contains ‘Curated Highlights’; the current version has an opportunity to win a Fred Olsen cruise worth £5,698!

It is easy to sign up via the national Arts Society website

Your programme card has details of the planned day visits, days of special interest, short breaks and other events and, very importantly, when tickets for these events are being sold. Do please come early if you want tickets for any of these events as they are always popular and sell out quickly. Three very important updates:

If you have booked to go to the Carducci Quartet on Friday 25th January, the location for this event, which was shown on the programme card as the Royal Pump Rooms, has been changed by the organisers to Leamington Town Hall. Please also note that the 2 for 1 ticket offer is for the best seats if you book via the phone number on the programme card

The “Time the Concert” event on Saturday 16th February 2019 by the Coventry and Warwickshire Youth Orchestra starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available at £6 (a special price for our members) on the door.

We have arranged an afternoon tea party at Audley Binswood on Thursday 25th April at 3pm. Tickets for this, which has historically been a most pleasant and well supported event, are £10 per person and will be on sale at the February and, if necessary, the March lectures.

On short breaks, the trip to Berlin in May 2019 is now fully subscribed but tickets will be on sale at the February lecture for the September trip to Dublin.

After the very successful day visit to Blenheim in November (photo left), the next day visit is to Stonor and Hughenden on 8th May, the former home to the eponymous family for 850 years and the latter the home of Benjamin Disraeli and tickets will be available at the March lecture.

After the universally enthusiastic feedback from the last day of special interest on Chatsworth, I am looking forward in high expectation to the next day of special interest, ‘How to Look at Paintings: Unlocking Hidden Meanings in Art’ on Friday 15th March at the Warwickshire Golf Club with Stella Grace Lyons as the presenter. Tickets for this will be available at the February lecture.

Our heritage volunteers have continued to be busy over the Autumn. At the Herbert Museum in Coventry, the group have now finished the padded dots and dashes for a morse code activity at the Transport museum. In case you are wondering what this looks like the photo shows the word FINISHED in morse (reading downwards)

You may recall that this group made it through to the finals of the West Midlands Volunteer Awards but, unfortunately, they did not win but getting to the finals is a tribute to their work in itself-so many congratulations to them

The volunteers at the Leamington Museum have been condition checking and re-packing large textiles which are stored on large rollers. They are delighted to find that the WW1 bed cover that I referred to in my August newsletter is to go on permanent display at the Beamish Museum in County Durham.

After two years and 830 hours the volunteers at All Saints Church have now completed their repair and conservation of a large amount of ecclesiastical embroidery. I am delighted to tell you that, on 21st November, at a presentation that I and Anne Flower attended, they were presented by David Brass (the area head of heritage volunteers) with the Golden Jubilee award ‘In recognition of their outstanding contribution to Volunteering for the Arts Society’ so many congratulations to them.

The next project will be at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick which will involve the cleaning and conservation of arms and armoury. If you would be interested in joining the group for this project please have a word with Anne Flower who tells me that all that is needed is interest in the collection and lots of elbow grease!

It is of considerable note and credit to all the heritage volunteer groups and Anne to report that all three groups over the last couple of years have been awarded the Golden Jubilee award or Golden star award for their work-ladies and gentlemen you can all stand very tall!

Our church recorders have now finished the record for St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic church and it will be presented to the parish priest, Father John Sharp at a lunch on 13th February 2019.

The group will be starting to record All Saints, Sherbourne in January 2019. It is  a lovely Gilbert Scott church and, according to Pevsner, ‘ is a generous and expensive estate church lavish in every detail’ It cost £20,898 in 1862-64!

Our head of church recording, Angela Watkins, is looking for additional recorders so, if you are interested, please contact Angela direct on 01926 624758.

Your society continues to be active in the young arts arena. In September, a pupil in St. Margaret’s School in Whitnash won 2nd prize in the West Midlands Young Arts competition to design a ‘My Birthday Tea Party’ plate in conjunction with Wedgewood, as part of the Arts Society’s golden jubilee celebrations. She was presented with a plate made from her design, a certificate and a cash award at Wedgewood by Denise Topolski, the National Head of Young Arts.

The future plans for young arts include-hopefully!-an exhibition of children’s work in the Leamington Art Gallery in Spring 2019.

I hope that as many of you as possible will get involved in some, or even all, your society’s activities over the next six months and I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can in that time.

Shaun Pitt