Programme of Events 2019

Lectures are held at All Saints Church Hall, 13 Queens Road, Hersham KT12 5LU opposite Hersham Green and next to Hersham Village Hall. They are held on the second Thursday of every month at 2.00pm. No lecture is held in August or December.

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Previous Years’ Programmes201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 (PDF format), 2003 (PDF format). Summary of all lectures in date order, and summary of all lectures by lecturer’s name.

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January 10th: Mad Men and the Artists – how the advertising industry has exploited fine art

Magimix Advertisement based on René Magritte’s ‘The Son of Man’

Fine art has provided advertisers and their agencies with a great deal of material to use in their creative campaigns.

Tony describes some of the processes by which these advertisements have been created and why the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo have been a particularly rich source. From the Renaissance through to the present day fine art continues to provide opportunities to enhance Brand imagery with admiration, humour, satire and irony.

In an entertaining and informative lecture Tony uses a wide range of visuals and video to show examples of the original works, the creative process and the (not always entirely successful) advertisements that are the end result.

Tony Rawlins

Tony was educated at  Highgate School, starting his career in advertising in 1965 as a mail boy in J.Walter Thompson. Graduating through the training system there to become an account director he worked in a number of agencies before setting up on his own in 1985, primarily to handle Guinness accounts in Africa and the Caribbean, where he produced many commercials and ads for them over a period of 15 years. He remains active in the industry, but now concentrates on more philanthropic projects – producing a film in the rural villages of Nigeria for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and recently completing a sanitation project in Haiti after it was devastated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  

He has been a member of The Arts Society for many years. His lecturing experience includes presenting to client groups, sales conferences, students of creative advertising in the UK and overseas, on creative and marketing strategies.

February 14th: Cosmonauts and Cotton-pickers  – Soviet Central Asian Mosaics and the use of public art as propaganda

Mosaic above the National History Museum in Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania

This lecture explores the birth of the Soviet mosaic from its roots in Islamic mosaics and Communist propagandist posters through to the question of preservation in post-Soviet Central Asia. We explore why Soviet thinking was so keen to bring art out of galleries and into public spaces, and how, in an era when Socialist Realism was the only permitted artistic expression, every public artwork came with a message, a value and an agenda. How did Soviet artists deal with the uncomfortable reality that Muslim Central Asia was a Russian colonial conquest? In what ways were gender, race, work, leisure and achievement important when it came to shaping Central Asians’ ideas of their own identity within the wider Soviet family?

Chris Alexander

Chris was born in Turkey (hence his middle name) and spent his childhood there and in war-torn Beirut. After school, Chris spent two years at sea before studying Media and journalism at Leicester University. He then moved to Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan, establishing a UNESCO workshop reviving fifteenth century carpet designs and embroideries, creating income for women. After a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, he moved to the Pamirs in Tajikistan, training yak herders to comb their yaks for their cashmere-like down, spending three years there. Next came two years in Kyrgyzstan living in the world’s largest natural walnut forest and establishing a wood-carving workshop. Chris has recently finished rowing and studying at Oxford and is now a curate at St. Barnabas, North Finchley, and author of Alabaster and Manacle. He returns to Central Asia whenever he can and conducts tours there.

March 14th: Habitat Catalogued – an Insider’s story

In 1964 Terence Conran opened the first Habitat shop in London’s Chelsea. Habitat’s clarion call to colour and contemporary design saw off the lingering shades of post war austerity and revolutionized British Retailing. From the beginning Conran spread the word of this new lifestyle look though twice yearly Habitat catalogues: copies are now collected and traded by a new generation of interior decorators and designers. In the early 70’s, then a design journalist, I worked for Terence Conran copy writing and editing the Habitat Catalogue. Crazy, demanding and inspiring times, full of tension and humour, working with some of the best designers, art directors and photographers in the UK. This is a rare insider’s view of how Terence Conran’s vision and determination changed the way we lived then, and the way we live now.

Caroline MacDonald-Haig

A Design and Decorative Arts journalist and author. A London Blue Badge Guide, specialising in themed tours for American Museums and Art Galleries. Her specialist subjects include the history of glass and London’s history, galleries, museums and architecture. She is a freelance lecturer for Adult Education Groups. Enjoys devising tours, lecturing and study days based in and around London.

April 11th: The Talent in Tite Street

Hannah Gluckstein (‘Gluck’), 1942, National Portrait Gallery

London’s Tite Street was one of the most influential artistic quarters in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A staggering amount of talent thrived in just this one street in Chelsea, including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Oscar Wilde, John Singer Sargent, Augustus John, Romaine Brooks and Gluck. Throughout its turbulent history it remained home to innumerable artists, writers, suffragettes queers and madmen. Here Whistler was bankrupted, Oscar Wilde imprisoned and Frank Miles went mad. This lecture ties together the private and professional lives of its inhabitants to form a colourful tapestry of art and intrigue.

Jennifer Toynbee-Holmes is an experienced guide at Tate Britain and Tate Modern and lectures at various art societies and institutions. She has a special interest in British art of the late 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Having gained an MA in film and television practice, Jennifer had a long-standing career spanning twenty years as a television producer/director making documentaries and factual programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. She was also a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths College and Birkbeck, University of London and a senior lecturer at Southampton Solent University in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Society.

May 9th: Hester Thrale (1741-1820) friend of Samuel Johnson

In l765, Samuel Johnson, aged 56, ill, lonely, living off Fleet Street among quarrelling dependants, was introduced to a wealthy brewer, Henry Thrale, and his witty and talented young Welsh-born wife, Hester. Their friendship would last 18 years, providing Johnson with hospitality and comfort. To Hester it brought the great stimulus of Johnson’s views on literature and life. She responded with plenty of her own. When Thrale died and Hester remarried to an Italian musician, Gabriel Piozzi, London society never forgave her. Nor did Johnson, telling Fanny Burney “When I meet with one of her letters I burn it.” Nonetheless Hester would lead a spirited and literary later life in North Wales and in Bath as “The Scandalous Mrs Piozzi. ”With paintings, portraits and caricatures by Hogarth, Rowlandson, Reynolds, Richard Wilson, Francis Hayman and George Morland.

Karin Fernald

Karin is known for her entertaining lectures on writers and diarists connected with the arts from the mid-18th to 19th century, and moving forward in time with Virginia Woolf. Extensive research into diaries and letters bring lectures to vivid life. Karin illustrates them with slides of contemporary pictures and portraits from varied sources.

June 13th: The Queen of Instruments: the Lute within Old Masters Paintings

Caravaggio, ‘The Lute Player’, c. 1596, Wildenstein Collection, New York

The lute holds a special place in the history of art: painters of the Italian Renaissance depicted golden-haired angels plucking its delicate strings, evoking celestial harmony; in the sixteenth century, during the rise of humanism, the lute was a becoming pastime of educated courtiers, as depicted by the likes of Holbein and Titian; throughout the seventeenth century, the instrument continued to play a key role in emphasising the intimate, debauched and transient pleasures of interior scenes by Jan Steen and portraits by Frans Hals. This lecture looks at the lute, and other musical instruments, as devices to express various aspects of the human character throughout the ages.

(As part of this lecture, there is an option for live music performance; faithfully reproduced solo lute music and/or accompanying the voice and other instruments.)

Adam Busiakiewicz

Adam Busiakiewicz is an Art Historian, lutenist and lecturer. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in History at UCL in 2010 he held the position of Head of Historical Interpretation (curator) at Warwick Castle. He left the castle in 2013 after winning a full AHRC studentship to pursue a Master’s Degree in Fine and Decorative Art at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Art History at Warwick University after winning a CADRE Postgraduate Scholarship in 2017.

Earlier in December 2014 he became the youngest Guide Lecturer at the Wallace Collection, where he regularly gives talks, tours and lectures to both public and professional audiences. He has also given lectures at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, and is organising a series of talks there on the lute in paintings in 2018.

Adam is currently planning a publication on the Grevilles of Warwick Castle, and has had articles published by the British Art Journal, The Sidney Journaland Hispanic Lyra. He was also the Editor of the Georgian Group’s 80th Anniversary Exhibition catalogue entitled Splendour! Art in Living Craftsmanship (2017).

July 11th: Belonging and Not Belonging: the Immigrant Experience in Modern British Art

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), ‘Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter’, self portrait, c. 1872, Detroit Institute of Arts

Whether we choose to admit it or not, British art has been enriched by the presence of artists from elsewhere for many centuries. By tracing the contribution of foreign artists, with particular emphasis on the early twentieth century to the present day the lecture will examine a neglected yet extremely topical aspect of British cultural history. Artists to be discussed include Hans Holbein, Anthony van Dyck, James McNeill Whistler, David Bomberg and Mark Gertler, John Heartfield and Oskar Kokoschka, Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, Chris Ofili and Yinka Shonibare.

Monica Bohm-Duchen

London-based freelance lecturer, writer and exhibition organizer. Has lectured for Tate, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Open University, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the Courtauld Institute of Art. Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck College since 2005, and has led many tours. Publications include Understanding Modern Art (1991), The Nude (1992), Chagall (1998/2001), The Private Life of a Masterpiece (2001) and The Art and Life of Josef Herman (2009). Her book on Art and the Second World War was published by Lund Humphries in October 2013.

September 12th: Temples, Tombs and Treasures: in Search of the Queen of Sheba

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378–1455), ‘Solomon Meets the Queen of Sheba’, Florence Baptistery, ca. 1420-30

In this lecture, Louise looks at how the Queen of Sheba has captured the imagination of great artists, inspired epic films and led archaeologists such as herself, to go in search of her land – a search that has led to major discoveries in both Yemen and Ethiopia, where Louise has been working since 2006.

Louise Schofield is an archaeologist who was Curator of Greek Bronze Age and Geometric Antiquities at the British Museum from 1987-2000.  Her book, The Mycenaeans, was co-published by the Getty Museum and the British Museum in 2007. She now writes, lectures and runs international archaeological projects – previously in south-eastern Turkey, Greece and Albania and currently in Ethiopia. And rather wonderfully she has just been appointed Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the American University of Rome.

October 10th: Sorolla Comes Back to London

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923), ‘Walk on the Beach’, 1909, Sorolla Museum, Madrid

Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) was highly regarded internationally in his lifetime but is now largely forgotten outside Spain and the USA. Some of his best work is in his house and studio that he built in Madrid – one of the city’s hidden secrets.  He admired Velazquez and Goya but his delightful paintings of women and children at the seaside, and his great series depicting the regions of Spain are full of sunlight and optimism.


Gail Turner 

Historian, art historian, and painter. Lecturer for The Arts Society since 1992, lectures regularly for the V&A High Renaissance and Baroque course, Art Pursuits, and the Art Fund. Has taught on Cambridge University International Summer Schools, the Courtauld Institute Summer Courses, Inscape, Gainsborough’s House and other arts organisations. She has led tours to Spain for The Arts Society and other tour companies. Lectured in the Prado and Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid 1983-5, was Deputy Curator of Keats Shelley Memorial House, Rome 1978-80, manager of the Courtauld Slide Scheme 1977, and a Christie’s consultant (Ill. MSS) 1976. In 2015 Gail was awarded the Encomienda de Isabel la Catolica (the equivalent of the CBE) by the King of Spain for promoting Spanish culture among British audiences.

November 14th: The Roaring Twenties: Art, Design and High Society

1920s Handkerchief Hemline

Like its name, the Roaring Twenties was a loud and boisterous decade, marked by novelty, modernity and huge social, technological, and economic change. Following the dark days of the Great War, it spawned a generation of wealthy and privileged Bright Young Things who were determined to shock and who broke with the conventions of the past to pursue a life of hedonism and promiscuity, fuelled by an endless round of champagne, cocaine, parties and jazz.

Women wore fur coats and cloche hats, donned new boyish fashions and had short, cropped hair. Men drove fast cars, mixed cocktails and smoked American cigarettes. Society ate in new restaurants like The Trocadero, danced the Charleston in ballrooms like the Savoy, and drank in clubs like the Embassy and the Café de Paris. Valentino, Tallulah Bankhead, and Noel Coward emerged as major celebrities through the growing popularity of cinema and the stage.

The Roaring Twenties was also a period of enormous vitality in art and design. Fashionable society was immortalised by portraitists like John Lavery and Cecil Beaton who brilliantly captured the glamour of the age. Leisure, pleasure and the excitement of jazz were portrayed in paintings by Burra and Roberts, while the speed of the city and travel were explored in work by McKnight Kauffer and Nevinson.  Furniture and decoration showed the influence of Cubism, Vorticism and other styles associated with the avant-garde, while events like the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb ushered in an obsession with all things Egyptian and Oriental. This lecture aims to conjure up the energy and originality of the decade and to explore the lives of its leading figures and examples of its most innovative art and design.

Jo Banham

Jo Banham is a freelance curator, lecturer and writer. From 2006-2016 she was Head of Adult Learning at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and before that Head of Learning and Access at the National Portrait Gallery, and Head of Public Programmes at Tate Britain. She has also been Curator of Leighton House and Assistant Keeper at the Whitworth Art Gallery. She has published on many aspects of Victorian and early 20th century decoration and interiors. She is currently curating an exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Juan March Fundacion in Madrid and the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya in Barcelona. She is also Director of the Victorian Society Summer School.

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