June update

This Thursday, 10 June, we look forward to welcoming you to our Zoom lecture “Uncovering the Nation’s Hidden Oil Painting Collection”. Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac will be giving us an insider’s view of a project set up in 2003, to catalogue the UK’s national collection of 212,000 publicly-owned oil paintings. The link will be sent to members prior to the lecture.

In July Peter Scott will talk to us about British coastal art so do please make a note to join us.

There is no lecture in August – the summer recess – but we will be letting you have details of our September lecture as well as our Special Interest event “Great Tarts in Art”.

Our 2022 programme is well under way and we will be unveiling this in the next month or so when we send out renewal invitations.

Take care – we hope to see you soon!

May update

April was an enjoyable month for TASW when we welcomed Matthew Williams who talked about the history of “Highclere Castle” followed by our first Special Interest Zoom Event this year, with Ian Swankie who took us through “The Brilliance of British Architecture” from Sir Christopher Wren to the modern day. We are planning another Special Interest event on 16 September with Linda Smith and “Great Tarts in Art”.

In the meantime, we would like to welcome members to our fifth Zoom Lecture in the 2021 Programme year on 13 May, and the return of Gavin Plumley, who last visited TASW before “lockdown” in January 2020 to talk about Klimt and Mahler. The rating for his lecture was considered “Outstanding”. The Zoom link will be sent to members a few days before the lecture.


As part of the Habsburg Empire, Prague was beloved of kings and princes. During the 19th century, however, the Czechs sought to reclaim the city for their own. Looking back at ancient mythology, they imagined a new future by means of art, architecture, literature and music. From Romanticism to cubism, the Czechs re-conceived various artistic movements in specifically patriotic ways. Looking at painter and decorative artist Alfons Mucha, artist Karel Svoboda and composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, this talk shows how the Czechs created a capital that was fit for a new independent nation.

Gavin Plumley a writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide. Lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Recent talks include the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the National Trust, the National Theatre, the British Museum, the V&A, the Southbank Centre, the Tate and the Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.

We hope you can join us.


We are pleased to report that 74 members and one guest logged on to our Zoom lecture “Downton Abbey Revealed: the story of Highclere Castle”. It is disappointing that our proposed visit to Highclere did not take place because of the pandemic.

Our next Zoom lecture on 13 May is entitled “The Magic of Prague: Czech Art and Culture” with Gavin Plumley. As part of the Habsburg Empire, Prague was beloved of kings and princes. During the 19th century, however, the Czechs sought to reclaim the city for their own. This talk shows how the Czechs created a capital that was fit for a new independent nation.

Gavin Plumley visited us in 2020 to talk about Mahler and Klimt – the two Gustavs.

The link will be sent to members shortly before the lecture.

In the meantime, on 15 April the Society will host its first two-hour Special Interest Zoom event with Ian Swankie talking about “The Brilliance of British Architecture and Design”. We hope you have reserved your place!

The Committee hopes our members are keeping safe and well and we look forward to face-to-face lectures as soon as we are able.

Update – March’s lecture

We were delighted that some eighty members joined us on Zoom for our lecture last Thursday by Julian Halsby and we received several complimentary emails.

Our next lecture is on 8 April “Downton Abbey Revealed : the story of Highclere Castle” and the Committee hopes you will join us for an insight into the real history of the Castle and the Earls of Caernarfon.

Following that lecture do join us for our : SPECIAL INTEREST ZOOM EVENT – THURSDAY, 15 APRIL, 2021

10.30 – 12.50 (2 one-hour lectures with a 20 minute break)

£10 per person. Please contact Alison Lornie (alison.lornie or 01932 845372)

Please book your place by Friday, 9th April when you will be sent the Zoom link.

The Brilliance of British Architecture and design

Two lectures by Ian Swankie on the best of British architecture and design from a non-technical perspective, and with an emphasis on British talent.

Ian takes us on a journey around some of the finest buildings and introduces us to the talented people who designed them.

First lecture: The classical reinvented – The Legacy of Sir Christopher Wrenn

Second lecture: The Gleaming Spires of London 1066 – 2066

and he will sneak in references to the work of Thomas Heatherwick, who in some ways bridges the gap between the two.

News Update

Your Committee is delighted to see that many members have joined our Zoom lectures, and last week was no exception. We are especially grateful to Lindy Wilson and James Moore for their assistance in ensuring our MailChimp emails and Zoom lectures and are received and enjoyed by our members.

We are still looking at ways and means of “hosting” a Special Interest Event and hope to be able to organise this in April. Alison Lornie is currently arranging this and we will keep you advised of developments.

In the shorter term, our next lecture on 11 March is entitled “Two women who Scandalised the Art World” (Suzanne Valadon and the Marchesa Luisa Casati)” (lecturer: Julian Halsby)

“Suzanne, featured in works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir, rose from the backstreets of Montmartre to exhibit her own modern paintings. Luisa, born into wealth, launched herself into a wild life in which she became a work of art. Painted by Boldini and Augustus John and photographed by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, she became a fashion icon and legend in her own time”.

Julian Halsby studied History of Art at Cambridge. Formerly Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at Croydon College of Art. Publications include Venice – the Artist’s Vision (1990, 1995), The Art of Diana Armfield RA(1995), Dictionary of Scottish Painters (1990, 1998, 2001, 4th edition 2010), A Hand to Obey the Demon’s Eye (2000), Scottish Watercolours 1740-1940 (1986, 1991), A Private View – David Wolfers and the New Grafton Gallery (2002). Interviews artists for the Artist Magazine and is a member of the International Association of Art Critics and The Critics Circle. A practising artist, he was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1994 and appointed Keeper in 2010.

Our Programme Secretary, Sue, is now working hard to compile a programme of lectures for 2022. As you know, we are always looking for help on the Committee and appreciate that members may not be prepared to dedicate their time to join the Committee on a full time basis. However, as soon as we are able to meet face-to-face we would welcome volunteers at Lectures, Visits and Special Interest events. Please let us know if you can help.

Lindy will be in touch with the Zoom link early in March.

Take care and keep well.

February update

Little has changed since over the last month as we are still in lockdown. We hope that we can brighten your week by joining us at our next lecture on 11 February entitled:


From an Indian river bed thousands of years ago to the Tower of London – the fascinating story of the ‘Mountain of Light’. The story of this celebrated diamond is not only intriguing but also full of surprises; it has been the subject of desire, jealousy, intrigue, passion and political chicanery. This lecture follows the journey of this fabulous diamond from the depths of early Indian history through the bloody history of the Mughals to the power and politics of the British Empire, illustrated by extraordinary artists who were committed to describing the events and emotions of their time.

Georgina Bexon is an art historian specialising in South Asian art who has lived and worked in the UK, USA and Singapore. Her practice includes lecturing, writing, consulting and collecting and she has developed a network of gallery and artist connections in Europe, the USA and India, which she visits regularly.

An official tour guide at Tate Modern and Art Historian at the Oriental Club, London, Georgina is also a guest speaker on luxury cruise ships for whom she has developed a series of art talks relating to Asian and Pacific destinations. She has been a visiting lecturer at UK universities, presents talks at leading art institutions including Christie’s Education New York and the Museum of Modern Art, Moscow and speaks at international art conferences, most recently in New York, Paris, London and Lisbon.

Georgina holds a BA in Art History from Southampton University, an MA in Arts Management and Policy from City, University of London and an MA in Art History from SOAS, University of London. Georgina is a Patron of the Contemporary Art Society, has been a Trustee of Salisbury Arts Centre and on working committees at Tate and the Art Fund. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Asiatic Society.

The link will be sent to members next week before 11 February.

In the meantime, keep safe and keep well.

January update

Happy New Year!

Sincere apologies again for the incorrect information in the previous update/Facebook. The next lecture is on 14 January and I apologise once again for the mis-information.

Details for the log-in will be issued shortly. In the meantime, we hope this finds you well and, despite the lockdown, you all managed to enjoy the festivities over Christmas and the New Year.

We will welcome to our February lecture, Georgina Bexon, who will tell us the fascinating story of “Koh-l-Noor; the Most Famous Diamond in the World”, which has been the subject of desire, jealousy, intrigue and political chicanery. We hope you can join us at 2pm on 11 February.

You are invited: On Tuesday 26 January 2021 The Arts Society Runnymede, in association with Cumberland Lodge, to a Special Interest event (10.00am – 12.45pm) Online via Zoom Webinair: The Artists of Nice : Explore the life and work of artists such as Matisse and Dufy, who have been inspired by the striking beauty of the coastal French city of Nice.

Tickets: £10 per person, to support The Arts Society and the charitable work of Cumberland Lodge

Guest lecturer: The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert Former Bishop of St Albans, international art lecturer and writer, Member of the House of Lords, Visiting Professor at

the University of Surrey

More information: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-artists-of-nice-with-the-arts-society-runnymede-tickets-131310722907

December update

We hope that this Christmas update finds you in good health during these challenging times.

As most of your know, John Smith, has resigned as Chairman due to ill health. Your Committee is dedicated to carrying on with a programme of lectures and special interest events in 2021, albeit that these will be via Zoom until such time as we can meet for ‘face-to-face’ lectures. Visits will resume as soon as we are able to arrange.

Our Zoom lecture this month was very successful although we would welcome more of you to join us.

On 7th January, Barry Venning will entertain us “With a little help from their friends: the Beatles and the art world” which we are sure you will find fascinating – do please join us. Zoom log in details will be sent to you beforehand.

If anyone would care to consider joining the Committee, or just learning what we do, you would be most welcome. We did have a Committee of some twelve members but, sadly, are now down to seven so are desperate for help! Please contact a member of the Committee (details on your Programme card which we hope you have received).

In the meantime, we wish you all a very happy and healthy Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2021.

Please keep well and keep safe.

November update

When we wrote to members in October, we were able to confirm that our first Festive Lecture using Zoom will be held at 2pm on Thursday 10 December when Gillian Hovell will talk about “io Saturnalia – Happy Christmas the Roman Way!” Early Christians celebrated Christmas at the same time as the ancient Romans were feasting and partying for their pagan Saturnalia festival. Details of how to make the most of our Zoom talk are on the Welcome Page of the website. We will send out further details and the link nearer the time of the talk.

You should have received your 2021 Programme Card and sticky labels but unfortunately there were two errors for which we apologise! January’s lecture is on 14th January and October’s lecture and AGM are on the 14th October. I hope you are able to make a note of these amendments before you put them in your diary! The details sent out with the renewal, and on the website, are correct.

We are also pleased to announce that Linda Smith has confirmed that she will do her Special Interest morning (“Great Tarts in Art”) on Thursday, 16th September, 2021, hopefully at Riverside Barn. Details will be confirmed nearer the time.

This is a very challenging time and we hope that all our members are safe and well. The Committee continues to plan for 2021 and hopes to be able to bring you an exciting programme which we can enjoy “face-to-face”. We are sorry that there are some members who are unable to ‘enjoy’ Zoom and it will be such a pleasure to be able to welcome them to our lectures next year.

A message from the Chairman of TASW

The Committee would like to thank members who have shown support by renewing their membership of The Arts Society Walton for a further year. To date nearly 70% of members have renewed and we continue to receive renewals as well as some new members which, in these difficult times, is particularly good news.

We also appreciate your help in paying your subscriptions on-line and for the AGM voting. All Resolutions were passed, for which the Committee is grateful. However, we are very anxious to see more members joining the Committee to ensure that we can continue to bring you Lectures, Study events and organise Visits as soon as we are able. We do need your help! Please contact chairman@theartssocietywalton.org or a member of the Committee if you would like more information.

As far as lectures are concerned, Sue, our Programme Secretary, has booked ten events for next year and we plan to deliver these via Zoom until such time as we can meet at the venue. The Programme Card and sticky labels will be sent to you later this month.

In the meantime, we are able to confirm that our first Festive Lecture using Zoom will be held at 2pm on Thursday 10 December whenGillian Hovell will talk about “io Saturnalia – Happy Christmas the Roman Way!” Early Christians celebrated Christmas at the same time as the ancient Romans were feasting and partying for their pagan Saturnalia festival.

The Society is arranging this lecture without any charge, as a thank you to our members for their patience and understanding during these difficult times. Further details will be sent to you in due course. Laurence Shafe (ex-Chairman of TASW) and James Moore (ex-Treasurer) are assisting us with this Lecture and will be issuing Zoom guidelines nearer the time in December. We do hope you will join us.