Special Interest Days 2020 and 2021

We will continue to keep you informed of progress in confirming all these events over the coming weeks.  Your programme card and membership details will be distributed, as usual, at the beginning of November but, in the meantime, the Committee will be working hard to bring together your 2021 Programme subject to Government regulations.

These special interest days will take place using Zoom. When regulations permit they will resume at the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton and normally take the form of two lectures in the morning followed by lunch. A further lecture or discussion follows in the afternoon.

Previous years’ programmes for special interest days 20202019, 201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 20092008, 2007.

Zoom: Thursday, 2pm, 10 December, 2020

io Saturnalia – Happy Christmas the Roman Way

Gillian Hovell – ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’

Our first Festive Lecture using Zoom.  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.

Thursday, 15 April, 2021

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. 


In the first lecture we will concentrate on Sir Christopher Wren, and the second on the gleaming spires of modern London – and he will sneak in references to the work of Thomas Heatherwick, who in some ways bridges the gap between the two.    

Thursday, 16 September, 2021

Great Tarts in Art

Linda Smith

Our second Special Interest event in September, we are hoping that Linda Smith will come and talk about “Great Tarts in Art”, which promises to be an amusing morning. 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).