Programme of Events 2020

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.

Jump to the month you are interested in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November

Display Summary of Programme of Events 2020 in PDF format for printing.

Previous Years’ Programmes2019, 201820172016, 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.

Give us your view of the last lecture by clicking here.

January 9th: Two Gustavs – Mahler and Klimt

Klimt and his colleagues broke away from the imperially endorsed art institutions in Vienna in 1897 and founded the Succession. That was the same year that Gustav Mahler arrived to take charge of the Opera House in the city. Comparing these two fin-de-siecle talents, this lecture places Klimt and Mahler in context, asking what fundamentally links and, indeed, divides them.

Gavin Plumley is described by The Times as a ‘leading cultural historian’ and he is well known for his work on Central European music and culture during the 19th and 20th centuries.

You can find his writing in newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes around the world. He appears frequently on BBC Radio 3, both as a guest and as a presenter, and on BBC Radio 4. Gavin has also been a commissioning editor for the Salzburg Festival since 2013.

He lectures widely and has recently given talks for the National Trust, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the National Theatre, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the BBC Proms, the Oxford Lieder Festival, Wigmore Hall, the Royal Opera House, the Philharmonia and the CBSO, in addition to being an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society and a leader of cultural tours.

Gavin is currently the series advisor for the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Weimar Berlin: Bittersweet Metropolis. Other forthcoming engagements include a sermon at Wells Cathedral, the second instalment of Inside the Score at Wigmore Hall, focussing on Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, two appearances at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, pre-performance talks for the CBSO and study days for The Arts Society.

February 13th: “Les Parisiennes” – How Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s

Les Parisiennes, Anne Seba

This is a story about women’s lives during the dark days of Nazi occupation and beyond. It includes British and American women caught in Paris, some of whom flourished in wartime, as well as actors, singers, nightclub dancers and housewives.

Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She read History at King’s College London and her first job was at the BBC World Services in the Arabic Department. Her latest book is about Paris from 1939-49 through women’s eyes, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940’s published in 2016, ‘a standout social history,’ according to the US trade journal, Booklist and winner of the Franco British Society prize. Film rights have been sold, with a multi episode TV drama planned.

She has written nine other critically acclaimed books of non-fiction, mostly about iconic women who enjoyed using power and influence in different ways such as Enid Bagnold, Mother Teresa, Laura Ashley and Jennie Churchill. She has also written several short stories and introductions to reprinted novels. Her biography, THAT WOMAN, the Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, quickly became a bestseller on publication in Britain in August 2011 as well as in Australia and in the US following publication in 2012. Anne’s discovery of a new archive of letters and diaries shedding dramatic new light on this important story was the subject of a Chanel 4 TV documentary, The Secret Letters, based on her work.

Anne makes regular television appearances, has presented radio documentaries about women including Harriet Cohen and Joyce Hatto – both pianists – is an official lecturer for the The Arts Society, formerly the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (Nadfas) and regularly gives talks on cruises, to corporations, clubs and institutions including The English Speaking Union, The British Library, The Royal Oak Foundation, National Trust and Women’s Institutes. She has three children and six grandchildren, is a former Chair of Britain’s 10,000 strong Society of Authors, now on the SOA Council,  and former  President of ArtsRichmond.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

March 12th: Regency Revelation – The Private Journal of a Regency Dandy

The first volume of the lost private diaries of John Margesson Esq. was discovered by chance, bought on eBay in 2010.  This lively lecture researches the potentially scandalous story behind his mysterious exile to France and looks at his intimate and intensely personal musings on his daily life and current affairs

Mark Hill, from Antiques roadshow, is a British antiques expert, TV presenter, author and publisher. He is the antiques columnist for the Daily Mail, and has lectured widely, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is also a member of the vetting committees for a number of major international fairs, including the Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair and the British Antiques Dealers’ Association’s annual fair. He is a member of the British Antiques Dealers’ Association and an accredited lecturer of The Arts Society. He was also a co-founder of Antiques Young Guns, a website and internet-based association that promotes young people working in the Antiques Trade.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

April 9th: Bernard Leach and His Influence on 20th Century Studio Ceramics

Bernard Leach, Fritillary Vase

Bernard Leach trained to be a potter in Japan, and with a deep intellectual desire to bring East and West together, the form and glazes often reflect his love of Asia. The importance of craftsmanship and the individual was vital to his teaching.  His hectic exhibition schedule in the 1950s and 60s was enormously important to the development of the “Studio Potter”.

Diana Lloyd is a freelance lecturer in ceramic, glass and the history of interior decoration in Europe. She lectures at the Inchbald School of Design and guides groups through museum collections.

The Leach Pottery was established in St. Ives in the early 1920s. The lecture begins with Bernard’s childhood in Japan and his training there as a potter and continues with looking at early earthenware and stonewares as well as fine porcelain – often with celadon glazes.

His students helped to spread his influence and the potter Lucie Rie’s friendship will be covered. His numerous exhibitions around the world, and his famous bookwill complete the story.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

May 14th: Two Women Who Scandalised the Art World – Suzanne Valadon and the Marchesa Luisa Casati

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.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

June 11th: Downton Abbey Revealed: The Story of Highclere Castle

The enormous success of the TV series ‘Downton Abbey’ has made its location one of the most recognisable buildings in the country. This lecture reveals that truth is more fascinating than fiction and tells the story of the Castle and its family, the Earls of Carnarvon.

Matthew Williams
specialises in Victorian houses and design, Matthew’s lectures and study days are lively, informative and amusing. With 30 years’ experience as Curator of one of Britain’s finest Gothic Revival castles, Matthew is an experienced lecturer, broadcaster and writer.

Matthew Williams trained as an art and architectural historian before undertaking postgraduate Museum Studies. He lectures widely on the subject of design, and is especially interested in that of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

A recognised expert in the work of the designer William Burges, he was the Curator of Cardiff Castle in south Wales for many years and has published widely in art and architectural journals.

He lectures for museums and universities as well as for The National Trust, The Victorian Society and The Furniture History Society amongst many others. A very long-standing member of The Arts Society, Matthew has been a volunteer’s representative, a programme secretary and a chairman. He has been an accredited lecturer since 2001.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

July 9th: Uncovering the Nation’s Hidden Oil Painting Collection

The Church at Vétheuil (1880), Claude Monet (1840–1926), Southampton City Art Gallery

In 2003 a project was set up to catalogue the UK’s collection of privately-owned oil paintings.  It involved visiting over 3000 locations across the UK and photographing 212,000 paintings.  This lecture offers an insider’s view of this ambitious and unique project.


Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac gained an MA in Victorian Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She’s an accredited lecturer with The Arts Society (NADFAS) and enjoys giving lectures all over the UK about the unique Art UK project for which she’s worked part-time since 2007. She has written several arts-related articles and is a volunteer guide at Dorich House Museum, studio-home of the Russian-born sculptor Dora Gordine, and at Sandycombe Lodge, J. M. W. Turner’s house in Twickenham.

Mary Rose’s favourite painting is Turner’s England: Richmond Hill, on the Prince Regent’s Birthday because it’s the view she loves seeing when walking her dog along The Terrace in Richmond.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

September 10th: A Garden Like No Other: Edward James & Las Posas

The surrealist sculpture park Las Pozas, Xilitla

Hidden away in a dense subtropical forest, in the hills north of Mexico City, lies an enchanted valley in which strange ruins tower over waterfalls and pools.  This colourful lecture tells the story of Edward James and Las Posas, introducing along the way an array of intriguing characters such as Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, and exploring the wider theme of the modern artist-gardener.

James Russell is an art historian and curator with a leaning towards 20th/21st century British art and design. My exhibition ‘Reflection: British Art in an Age of Change’ runs from August 2019 to Jan 2020 at Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. You can see details of my previous shows on the Exhibitions page. Books, curiously enough, can be explored on the Books page. I’m always willing to consider a proposal for a book commission or exhibition. I’ve recently worked with Portland Gallery on Edward Seago, Towner on Peggy Angus and the Ingram Collection on two exhibitions, the most recent being ‘Reflection’.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

October 8th: Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim Paris photograph by Rogi André

The ‘poor little rich girl’, who changed the face of 20thcentury art. Not only was Peggy ahead of her time, but she was the woman who helped define it.  She discovered and nurtured a new generation of artists producing a new kind of art. Through collecting not only art, but the artists themselves, her life was as radical as her collection.

Alexandra Epps is an official Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and Pallant House Gallery. She is an Art History Tutor at City Lit Institute and a qualified Guide to the City of London, offering lectures and walks about many aspects of the arts for societies, corporations and private individuals. She is a member of the City of London Guide Lecturers Association, and co-author of the book Lord Mayor’s Portraits 1983-2014 (2015). Alexandra’s background is in design having practised as a graphic designer running her own design consultancy for many years.

Lecture cancelled because of COVID-19

November 12th: Played in London

Charting the heritage of London’s rich sporting and recreational heritage to life. Wembley, Wimbledon and Lords are known around the world but sports and games have always been played in London.  For the Tudors it was tennis at Hampton Court and jousting at Whitehall, and for the Victorians a network of suburban sports clubs and for every generation a battle to preserve open spaces.

Simon Inglis is a British sports historian, architectural historian, writer and broadcaster, most notably about football and stadiums.

Inglis was born in Sparkhill, Birmingham in 1955. He read History and the History of Architecture at University College London, later training as a teacher in Leeds and teaching history at a comprehensive in Walthalmstow, North London. Inglis is currently editor of the Played in Britain series on sporting heritage, published by Historic England. He describes himself as a now mainly ‘arms length’ Aston Villa fan.

In December 2005 he was described as an “iconoclastic historian” and “a national treasure who must be encouraged at all costs”. In addition to his writing, Inglis is an accredited lecturer for The Arts Society (formerly the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) and has given lectures at a wide range of institutions (including De Montfort University, Birkbeck College and the London College of Communications); societies (Victorian Society and the Twentieth Century Society); local history societies, sporting bodies and at both literary and history festivals. He also conducts tours of London football sites for visiting US colleges.

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