Programme of Events 2016

The Lecture Programme for 2016
Lectures are held at Hersham Village Hall on Queens Road by Hersham Green on Thursday afternoons at 2.30pm. Click here to see a one page summary of the 2016 programme (PDF file).

Previous Years’ Programmes2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006,2005, 2004 (PDF format), 2003 (PDF format). Summary of lectures 2003-2011 by date, and summary of lectures 2003-2011 by name.

 Frauenkirche in the Neumarkt, Dresden

Frauenkirche in the Neumarkt, Dresden
(Copyright Wikipedia)

January 14th – Dresden Today – Art & Architecture

The city of Dresden celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2006. Renowned as the ‘Florence of the North’, its eighteenth century buildings have been faithfully restored. The famous Green Vaults display an array of dazzling artefacts. The Old and New Masters Picture-Galleries are among the finest in Europe. Superb Oriental and Meissen porcelain is on view in the historic Zwinger Palace, a jewel of Rococo architecture. Not far from Dresden we shall also look at the charming town of Meissen and its famous factory as well as the Saxon rulers’ hunting-lodge at Moritzburg and the Decorative Arts Museum at Pillnitz on the Elbe.

 Eveline Eaton Freelance lecturer in Fine Arts and tour-guide to Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Côte d’Azur, Normandy and New York. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dresden Trust.

Berthe Morisot, The Cradle, 1872, Musée d'Orsay

Berthe Morisot, The Cradle, 1872, Musée d’Orsay

February 11th – Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt

These two women Impressionists, one French, the other American but living most of her adult life in France, are examined in relation to their male contemporaries.
Pamela HalfordPamela Halford studied Art History and Art Historical Research at Bristol, Oxford and the V&A. She was previously a lecturer and then researcher/scriptwriter/director at the BBC making programmes for TV and has also made films for the cinema. Pamela has also contributed articles and poetry to the BBC and other publications.

Pinocchio by Harold Lentz, New York Blue Ribbon Books, ca. 1932

March 10th – The Book as Art – Form and Function in Creative Book Structures

This lecture illustrates the potential of the book as a three dimensional object, from pop-ups, hidden fore-edge paintings, peep-show books, to books with hidden compartments and intriguing surprises. Whatever the reason for the creation of these unusual books, playfulness and humour are always a guiding principle. Dominic will show work from his favourite book artists, including examples of experimental book structures he has collected and some he has made himself as part of his interest in this creative genre. Seen together they represent over two hundred years of questioning the notion of “what is a book?”

Dominic RileyDominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder and teacher. He specialises in the restoration of antiquarian books and the creation of contemporary fine bindings. He teaches bookbinding both in the UK and USA, and his prize-winning bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library. He is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and Vice President of the Society of Bookbinders. In 2013 he won the prestigious Sir Paul Getty award in the International Bookbinding Competition, and his winning binding was acquired by the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Gilbert and Sullivan - Pirates of Penzance

Gilbert and Sullivan – Pirates of Penzance

April 14th – I Am the Very Model: Parodies of Victorian Society in Gilbert and Sullivan

The operas of Gilbert & Sullivan are rich in contemporary satire and witty personal allusions. This lecture tells how each of the 14 operas on which the partners collaborated drew inspiration from the world in which they lived. As a result, celebrities, politicians, social mores, manners, artistic taste, the class system – even Queen Victoria’s red drawing room at Windsor Castle – are poked fun at. The lecture relates how the then first Lord of the Admiralty, W H Smith, became the model for Sir Joseph Porter KCB in HMS Pinafore, how Oscar Wilde inspired Bunthorne – the Fleshy poet – in Patience, and how Gilbert himself was the model for the Judge in Trial by Jury. The lecture is illustrated with live arias accompanied by piano.

Peter MedhurstPeter Medhurst appears in the UK and abroad as musician and scholar, giving recitals and delivering illustrated lectures on music and the arts. He studied singing and early keyboard instruments at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Lectures include live music sung and played on piano, virginals or clavichord.

Leila_Faithfull Evacuees Growing Vegatables 1940

Leila Faithfull, Evacuees Growing Cabbages, 1940, Imperial War Museum

May 12th – Gardens in Wartime Art: Patriotism and Renewal

Focusing on the representations of the Home Front during the 1914-18 and 1939-45 periods this talk will explore the ways in which gardens and plants are used as symbols of hope, patriotism and renewal. With emphasis for the first time on the small suburban garden, the public space and the allotment, wartime art included both amateur and professional representations and encompassed humour as well as the more predictable aspects of production and escapism. Including rare amateur images of gardens created in internment camps and hospital and recuperation centres as well as better known artists such as Harry Bush and Charles Ginner. Each of the paintings will be explored in relation to the context of the period.

Twigs WayTwigs Way is a garden historian, author, researcher and lecturer. She presented Lost Gardens for Channel 4 and has appeared on Gardeners’ World as well as making media appearances on a wide range of garden history related topics. Carries out freelance research in the history of specific gardens and parks for bodies such as English Heritage, the National Trust and various private clients, and has a specific interest in the portrayal of plants and gardens in art and literature and the social aspects of garden history. Her publications include A History of Women in the Garden, the highly illustrated A Nation of Gardeners, and a short biography of Gertrude Jekyll, as well as the quirky History of Garden Gnomes! Currently working on the Eighteenth Century Diaries of the Marchioness Grey of Wrest Park and is also involved in the 2016 tercentenary celebrations of one of our greatest landscape designers Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

Cave painting of a dun horse, Lascaux, approx BCE 15,300

Cave painting of a dun horse, Lascaux, approx BCE 15,300

June 9th – Tate Ancient: The Earliest Art

When was the earliest art? What did it mean? The discoveries of cave paintings as well as sculpted bone and stone figures in the 19th century stimulated ferocious debates. These have re-shaped the very understandings of human origins. From the spectacular walls in Lascaux cave in France to the Venus of Willendorf in Austria, our hunter-gatherer ancestors were anything but primitive cavemen.

Ben RobertsBen Roberts Former Curator of Early Prehistory at the British Museum, now lecturer in European Prehistory at Durham University. Graduate of Sheffield and Cambridge Universities. Published and lectured widely on Prehistoric Europe. Researched and co-wrote the first 40 programmes on the BBC Radio 4 series “A history of the World in 100 Objects”.

Peter Breughel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Peter Breughel?, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, c. 1558, now seen as a good early copy of Bruegel’s original
(Copyright: this image is in the public domain, see

July 14th – Bruegel’s Scenes of Country Life

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s subject matter was the country people and landscapes near Brussels. Ranging from riotous dancing and drinking to a solitary hunter in a still, snowy scene, these pictures are still very popular today. But for the 16th century viewer they held different and fascinating meanings which will be explored in this lecture. Bruegel’s work is set in context of the turbulent history of the period when Spain ruled the South Netherlands. Contemporary attitudes to peasants, the perspectives offered by Erasumus’ writings and the scientific advances of the day are all reflected in Bruegel’s countryside scenes.

Sarah KellySarah Kelly lectures on Western European art in France, Belgium and the UK. She worked at the National Gallery and the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath. She has also lived in France and Belgium, working as a lecturer (French and English) in Toulouse and at the Fine Arts Museum in Brussels. Since her return to the UK, she combines lecturing with teaching art history and working with visually impaired people in art galleries

Stradivari statue Cremona

Stradivari statue Cremona
(Copyright: this image is in thepublic domain, see

September 8th – Cremona and the Golden Age of Violin Making

This lecture traces the story of the two centuries until the death of Stradivari in 1737, when Cremona produced the best string instruments in the world. Illustrations include some diagrams and recorded music.

Tony FaberToby Faber career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board. He is also non-executive Chairman of Faber Music, vice-Chairman of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society and a trustee of Yale University Press (UK). Toby has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius and Fabergé’s Eggs, and has given lectures at venues across Britain and the United States

Prison Teamwork

Prison Teamwork
(Copyright Angela Findlay)

October 13th – The Role of the Arts in the Cycle of Crime, Prison and Re-offending

Years of working as an artist within the Criminal Justice System in England and Germany have given Angela unique insights into the destructive and costly cycle of crime, prisons and re-offending. Through extraordinary slides of prisoners’ art, interspersed with personal stories from art projects, the lecturer demonstrates how within the process of creating art there are vital opportunities for offenders to develop key life skills. In the context of prisons it is clear that the arts are not simply decorative or commercial pastimes, but absolutely vital, hugely relevant and potentially life-changing. This talk is moving, informative and very original and has kept audiences across the country engrossed.

Angela FindleyAngela Findlay is a professional artist and freelance lecturer with a long career of teaching art in prisons and Young Offender Institutions in Germany and England. Her Anglo-German roots and mixed heritage led to extensive research and writing on the role of art in Germany’s complex post-WWII process of remembrance. Angela’s own experiences of working with the subject of guilt make her talks on Art’s active role in society utterly unique and compelling.

Religious architecture

November 10th – The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Religious Architecture of the World

From Chartres cathedral to Angkor Wat, religion has been the inspiration for many of the greatest buildings of the world. Indeed, for much of human history, the story of architecture and the story of faith were synonymous. This lecture explains the architecture of each of the major faith traditions, revealing how it is shaped by their rituals and beliefs. It briefly covers the sacred architecture of such early societies as Mesopotamia, Egypt and the America before focusing on the living faiths: the great continuities embodied in the sacred architecture of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the revolutionary changes brought about in monotheistic Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It thus brings fresh insights into some of the most remarkable buildings on the planet.

Jon CannonJon Cannon wrote Cathedral: the Great English Cathedrals and the World that Made Them (2007), and presented BBC television’s How to Build a Cathedral. The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding Temples, Mosques, Churches and Other Places of Worship Around the World was published in 2013. Other publications include numerous works for English Heritage and major academic volumes on West Country churches. Jon is a part time lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Bristol and holds a degree in the History of Art from the University of Sussex. He lectures, gives study days and leads tours on medieval church art, architecture and history. He is lay canon (Keeper of the Fabric) at Bristol Cathedral and a Council Member of the British Archaeological Association

Copyright The Arts Society Walton, 2017
Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), A View of Walton Bridge, 1754, by permission of the trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London