Walton and Hersham

Decorative & Fine Arts Society


Programme of Events 2008 

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Walton and Hersham

  • Ten lectures
  • Visits
  • Special Interest Days
  • NADFAS Review, a magazine printed quarterly
  • Church Recording at St Mary Magdalene, Littleton, Shepperton
  • A Young Arts project each year
  • Tours
  • Heritage Volunteers

The Lecture Programme for 2008

Lectures are held at Hersham Village Hall on Queens Road by Hersham Green on Thursday afternoons at 2.30pm.



January 10th - John Iddon
John Everett Millais

Millais was prodigiously successful from the start, entering the Royal Academy School a the age of eleven and co-founding, with Holman Hunt and Rossetti,  the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood at the age of nineteen.

He was responsible for some of the most famous images of his age - 'Ophelia', 'Christ in the House of His Parents', 'The Order of Release', 'Bubbles', etc. However, in spite of his astonishing talent, some felt that he later pandered too much to popular taste in his search for wealth and status. Looking at his lavish studio house in South Kensington, Carlyle is reputed to have said, 'Has a paint pot done all this?'

The lecture will consider this issue of popularity as well as discus the Tate Britain Millais exhibition which runs from 26th September 2007 to three days after the lecture on 13th January 2008.

John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-2, Tate Britain
("The most popular painting at the Tate")

February 14th - Tim Porter
New Ways
to Look at Old Churches

Ancient churches are time capsules of history and diaries of community life. This talk suggests sidelong ways of looking at them, so as to unlock their secrets.

Cookham Parish Church

A memorial stone can be seen in the churchyard, next to a Judas Tree, planted by the Friends of the Stanley Spencer Gallery to commemorate the centenary of his birth.

March 13th - Clive Barham Carter
The Tomb of Tutankhamun

The lecture starts with an overview of the Valley of the Kings and the history of Egypt immediately before Tutankhamun. It then jumps forward in time to Howard Carter's search and discovery and it then describes the contents of the tomb and their significance

The treasure of Tutankhamun was discovered by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings and it will be exhibited in London from November 2007

April 10th - James Heard
John Constable: 'Slimy Posts & Brickwork'

John Constable, now the best loved English landscape painter, was in his time a radical artist who broke away from the late 18th century conventions of beauty. Gone were the blue skies, classical temples and figures in Roman dress, instead he painted scenes that were modern, peopled with farm-workers under well observed cloud formations. In spite of this new look landscape, Constable owed a great debt to Claude Lorrain, Rubens and Ruisdael and how he reconciled his debt to the old masters with his search for a 'natural' painting is the subject of this illustrated talk.

John Constable, The Cornfield, 1826,
The National Gallery

May 8th - Paula Nuttall
The Florentine Renaissance

Florence is justly named the ‘cradle of the renaissance’. It was here that, inspired by the the revival of classical antiquity, fuelled by civic pride and fostered by the wealthy Medici family, a new artistic language was created which was to be spoken across Europe for centuries to come. This lecture charts these artistic achievements through such masterpieces as Brunelleschi’s Dome, Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David – all of which can still be seen by the visitor to Florence today.

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (detail),
c. 1485-6, tempera on canvas, Uffizi, Florence

June 12th - Jeremy Barlow
Musical and Cultural Life in Shakespeare's England

Copiously illustrated with slides and musical examples, the lecture portrays not only the high art of court masques, music-making and dancing among the gentry and nobility, and the Shakespearian stage, but also the broadside ballads, country dances and theatrical jigs of popular culture; demonstrated too is the way Shakespeare and other dramatists drew on both strands for material in their plays.

Isaac Oliver, Portrait of an Unknown Lady in Masque Costume, c. 1609

July 10th - Caroline Knight
Lord Burlington and Chiswick House

Chiswick House was designed by Lord Burlington in the 1720s for his own use. He had travelled extensively in Northern Italy, studying the 16thC buildings by Andrea Palladio, and had bought many drawings by Palladio and by Inigo Jones, the 17thC English architect who was also inspired by Palladio. Using these and various architectural books, he produced a small but exquisite house at Chiswick. Burlington was influential in promoting the Palladian style which became the dominant architectural style of the next decades

Chiswick House, click here for more information about visiting this English Heritage masterpiece


September 11th - Linda Smith
Power, Propaganda and Men in Tights: English Art under the Tudors

This lecture looks at English painting during the so-called ‘Long Sixteenth Century’ - the tumultuous reigns of the five Tudor monarchs. Significant artistic developments were made during the period, largely by talented immigrants like Hans Holbein and Marcus Gheeraerts. Important works by these and other artists will be examined, paying particular attention to the enigmatic and elaborate symbolism. Portraiture dominated the period, and images of the great monarchs and personalities of the age are compared and contrasted in terms of the functions they were intended to fulfil. Other genres, like religious subjects and the early beginings of landscape painting, are also featured.

The talk ties the works firmly to their political, social and personal context, and will also address the intriguing issue of why the degree of naturalism used in painting varied widely during the period.

Marcus Gheeraerts II, Portrait of Captain Thomas Lee, 1594, Tate Britain

Thomas Lee was Elizabeth I's Champion, his bare legs evoke the dress of an Irish foot soldier and the wrist droops to display a battle scar

October 9th - Imogen Corrigan
Shedding Light on the Illuminated Manuscript

The lecture provides an introduction to illuminated manuscripts of both pre- and post-Conquest periods and takes examples from Britain and from the Continent. It includes a brief consideration of how they were made and planned and the difficulties faced by the scribes, some of whom complained bitterly in writing. The lecture considers the importance of the Correct Text and how errors were corrected, how some manuscripts are linked artistically to others; it’s possible to track styles migrating and progressing over the years. Throughout the lecture, there is a theme of how the books were used, whether as sacred vessels for The Word or as memory joggers for day-dreaming monks. There is a great diversity of styles in these manuscripts and sometimes people have been surprised not only by the richness (and occasionally extremely bad workmanship) of material that survives, but also the amount of it. Even more interestingly, the scribes and illuminators – being human beings – often couldn’t resist leaving self portraits and insights into their own characters; we know a surprising amount about the men and women who made the manuscripts and now and again their sense of humour shines through to this day.

The Introduction to Illuminated Manuscripts aims to do exactly that: this is a light-hearted look at some of the pre- and post-Conquest books, the people who made them and how they did it. It considers how the illuminations shed light onto the subject of the text and how we can deduce what the book was for by looking at the illustrations.

Limbourg Brothers (Paul, Hermann and Jean),
Les Trés Riches Heures, page showing June calendar, c. 1412-6

Painted for Jean de Berry the medieval world's greatest connoisseur who died of a broken heart on hearing of the French defeat at Agincourt

November 13th - Jennifer Morgan
‘But is it Art?’: A Bird’s Eye View of Art in the First Half of the 20th Century

The first half of the 20th century saw some of the most exciting innovations in the whole of the history of art. Some of the most radical art movements - Fauvism, Cubism, Abstract art, Dada and Surrealism evolved during this period. It was the heyday of such famous artists as Picasso, Matisse and Salvador Dali. We will look at some of the outstanding works of the period, and consider the thinking behind them.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908

A typical painting of Les Fauves ('wild beasts') showing their love of bright and expressive colours