A very warm welcome to The Arts Society Walton. If you are not sure about joining then why not sample a taster talk first? Just email the membership secretary to let her know you will be attending one of our monthly talks. As a guest it will cost only £5. Or you can become a member and attend ten talks a year for just £40. See our 2017 lecture programme to find out what’s on.
The talks cover everything from individual artists to art movements as well as architecture, music and the decorative arts. As you can see from our programme we provide talks that take a novel approach and they are given by leading experts in the field who have been selected for their ability to communicate in an informative and entertaining way. We hold one-hour talks at 2.30pm on the second Thursday of the month at Hersham Village Hall on Queens Road by Hersham Green and there are talks every month except for August and December.
In addition to the talks, we normally organise three or four visits a year to houses, gardens or London walks, as well as day-long lectures, called Special Interest Days, which are held at the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton and include lunch. Members attending these additional activities are charged at cost and the tickets generally go on sale at 1:45pm the month before the event. Demand is often high and members are given priority and it is only if places are still available that non-members are invited to attend.
We also support our local community and each year the committee donates part of your membership fee to Young Arts and Church Recording.
We are part of The Arts Society which has over 360 member societies and over 90,000 members worldwide. Our local Arts Society organisation is called the West Surrey Area to which eighteen societies belong. All the organisation and running of our Society is carried out by volunteers and we are always looking for members to help with everything from making the teas to organising events. If you are interested please contact the chairman.
January 12th – The Art and Beauty of Old Maps of the World
The world of maps extends from BC 3000 to Harry Beck’s London Underground of 1931. In between, hand drawn 15th century Portolan sea charts have been superseded by printed maps, which could now finally be published. England played an important part in these developments. Christopher Saxton in 1579 was the first cartographer to publish a regional Atlas of any country. John Speed is a household name, whilst John Ogilvy takes credit, in 1670, for the first road atlas. Since time immemorial man has enjoyed walking with his fingers!
Yasha Beresiner qualified as a lawyer from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has lived in England since 1963. He is a qualified City of London guide and a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards. As well as various magazine articles, other publications include The City of London Masonic Guide (2006), A Collector’s Guide to Paper Money, and British County Maps.
February 9th – Ocean Liner Art: Ships that Shaped our Lives 1800-1950, featuring Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The vision and genius of Brunel underpins this global story of hopes and dreams, disasters and triumphs.
This talk features a wide range of ships, including Great Britain and Great Western, Lusitania and Mauretania, Olympic and Titanic, and arguably Britain’s most popular liner the Queen Mary, brought to life through historic and contemporary artworks, including striking Art Deco posters. A selection of interior views of the famous liners are featured.
Dr James Taylor studied at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester and is a former curator of paintings, drawings and prints, and coordinator of various exhibitions and galleries, at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and also lecturer and ship’s historian on board cruise ships. He completed his PhD at the University of Sussex in 2015 on the voyager artist William Westall (1781-1850) who sailed with Commander Matthew Flinders aboard HMS Investigator (1801-1803), the first ship to circumnavigate Australia.
March 9th – Income and Inspiration: Financial Secrets of the Masters
It’s almost taboo to mention money in art gallery wall labels, yet in reality artists were as preoccupied with cash as the rest of us. We watch the tug of war between creativity and credit in financial vignettes from five centuries, including a role for Charles Dickens as a virtuoso financial advisor solving a little local difficulty for William Holman Hunt. We look at prices for new art in relation to the cost of living for both artists and patrons in the past and conclude by wondering whether today’s colossal world art market is to the benefit or at a cost for creativity.
David Phillips studied History at Oxford, and from 1968-82 worked for Nottingham Castle Museum. From 1982-98 he was Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art History at University of Manchester. In 1997 he published a book about museum practice Exhibiting Authenticity with Manchester University Press.
April 13th – Thomas Heatherwick: “The Leonardo of Our Times”
Thomas Heatherwick has won many awards and honours and Sir Terence Conran spotted his talent early on describing him as “the Leonardo of our times”. Heatherwick’s work received world-wide coverage in 2012 when with his studio team he designed the Olympic Cauldron at the London Olympics. His approach is multi-disciplinary, and with his colleagues he blends architecture, sculpture and engineering to produce elegant results. His proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames, if constructed, will add another dimension to London’s parks and gardens and is receiving extensive media coverage.
Anthea Streeter studied the Fine and Decorative Arts in London and continued her studies at Harvard University. It was while at Harvard, where there was great enthusiasm for American design, that she became interested in 20th century architecture. Since returning from America she has taught on courses in Oxford and London, lectured on the Country House course in Sussex and for private groups around the country.
May 11th – Photography as Fine Art
Should we accept that the very best photographs can be regarded as Fine Art? This question is at the heart of a lecture which argues that photography can equal, not to say excel, more traditional disciplines in the key genres of portraiture, landscape and still life.
Photography, moreover, has carved its own area of excellence in depicting the human condition. All these ideas are discussed with reference to the work of some of the acknowledged masters of photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Fay Goodwin, Bill Brandt, Ansel Adams and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Brian Slater’s chief interests lie in photography, architecture and history and he combines all three in his lecturing career. He has taught at University College London since 1997 and became a NADFAS lecturer in 2003. He is a member of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and an exhibition of his own photographs has been staged at UCL.
June 15th – The Splendours of North Africa – Roman and Islamic Art of Libya, Tunisia and Morocco
Fabulous Roman mosaics, imposing monuments and impressive villas attest to the great wealth of Leptis Magna, Cyrene, Oea, Sabratha and Carthage. We plunder the wealth of the Bardo and Tripoli museums to see the finest mosaics and statues of North Africa. In the 7th century Islam swept in from Arabia bringing a new architecture and decoration, which has remained ever since. Mosques, tombs and private houses in Fez, Rabat, Kairuwan and Tripoli often re-used Roman columns, but were lavishly enhanced with “Zillij” tilework and delicate arabesque decorations.
Christopher Bradley is an expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. As a professional tour guide and lecturer he has led groups throughout the Middle East and Asia. He has written extensively on Asia and is the author of many guide books. As a photographer he has pictures represented by four photographic libraries. His broad range of lecturing experience includes to the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Institute of British Architects. As a film producer and cameraman he has made documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic TV and Channel 4.
July 13th – The Art of Enamelling
The story of enamelling – the ancient art of fusing powdered glass with metal to make exquisite jewellery and metalware – spans continents and ages but what unites these miniature masterpieces is their status as exquisite works of art. This lecture examines the materials, techniques and history of enamelling, with examples drawn from Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, the 18th and 19th centuries, the Arts of Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau and more contemporary design.
Dr Sally Hoban is an Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Birmingham and lectures on art, design and antiques throughout the UK. She has broadcast on BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 4 and her publications include the book Miller’s Collecting Modern Design. She has an Honours Certificate in Public Speaking from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and writes for the national and international media. Sally has a PhD in the History of Art and Design from The University of Birmingham.
September 14th – Mr Barry’s Great Work: Rebuilding the new Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament is one of the most famous and staggering buildings in the world. It is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture and a spectacular feat of civil engineering; a landmark which is today the essence of Britishness. And it was nearly never built at all. From the beginning, its design and construction were a battleground for its architect, Charles Barry. Battling the interference of MPs and royalty, coaxing and soothing the genius of his partner Pugin, fending off the mad schemes of a host of crackpot inventors, and coming in three times over budget and twenty-four years behind schedule, this lecture tells the story of how Charles Barry created the most famous building in Britain.
Caroline Shenton is an archivist, historian and author. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives at Westminster and a senior archivist at The National Archives at Kew. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society and has appeared on national TV and radio and reviews books for The Spectator. Her first popular history book, The Day Parliament Burned Down, was published to rave reviews in 2012 and won the inaugural Political Book of the Year Award in 2013.
October 12th – The Consolation of Movement: The Sculpture of Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin
Degas and Rodin are two of the greatest and most accessible artists of the nineteenth century – at once traditional and revolutionary. In very different ways their work celebrates the sensual and intimate reality of our shared experience of being alive – emotionally, spiritually and physically.
This lecture will discuss their audacious sculpture within the context of their life and times and explore just what it is that makes their work so life enhancing – especially for us, living in such turbulent times.
Michael Howard is Programme Leader in the School of the History of Art and Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University where he teaches both academic and studio based students. Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and President of Bolton NADFAS, he is a practising artist, painter, sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist. He has curated many exhibitions, published widely, most notably on Lowry, Goya, Whistler and Cezanne, and exhibited at the RA. His work is in Manchester Art Gallery and in private collections.
November 9th – Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture
One of the most derided towns in England, renowned for its dullness, Basingstoke is distinguished only by its numerous roundabouts and absurd Modernist architecture. Rupert explains that the post-war planners, who inflicted such features as “the Great Wall of Basingstoke” on the town, were politically-motivated and bent on destroying all traces of its past. He reveals the nobler Basingstoke that is buried beneath the concrete, and the few historic gems that have survived the holocaust. Hilariously told, it is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, “What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns”.
Rupert Willoughby is a prize-winning historian who specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London, he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin and many other publications. He contributes regular obituaries to The Times and The Daily Telegraph, writes privately-commissioned histories of houses, and is an experienced lecturer and occasional broadcaster – on a broad range of topics, with a particular interest in architecture, interior decoration and costume.