Special Interest Days 2020

All Special Interest Days in 2020 Cancelled Because of COVID-19

The special interest days were planned to take place at the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton.

Previous years’ programmes for special interest days 2019, 201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 20092008, 2007.

Cancelled: Thursday, 16 April, 2020

The Brilliance of British Architecture and design

Ian Swankie

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


He will take us on a journey around some of the finest buildings and will introduce us to the talented people who designed them.  The first lecture will be devoted to Sir Christopher Wren and the second to “The Gleaming Spires of London from 1066 to 2066″. 

Cancelled: Thursday, 17 September, 2020

Great Tarts in Art

Linda Smith

Two morning lectures by Linda Smith on “Great Tarts in Art”.  She will examine the portraits and careers of some of history’s most notorious mistresses and courtesans in order to take a generally light-hearted look at changing attitudes to sexual morality down the ages.

Peter Lely (1618–1680), Diana Kirke, later Countess of Oxford, c. 1665

She also charts the rather complex attitudes of art and society towards the numerous anonymous working girls at the lower end of the scale.  Very much a social history, it places the art carefully in context (high culture and the oldest profession).





Zoom: Thursday, 10 December, 2020

io Saturnalia – Happy Christmas the Roman Way

Gillian Hovell

Our first Festive Lunch.  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. 

Thomas Couture (1815–1879), The Romans of the Decadence, Musée d’Orsay


Many of the pagan habits were therefore absorbed into our Christmas traditions.  Present-giving, holly and even party hats all have their origins in this 2,000-year-old party. This talk will revel in artwork that is ancient and modern as we un-wrap the images and stories behind our festive season. It digs deep into history to add colour, depth and meaning to life today.

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