Special Interest Days 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, 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.    

Zoom: 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).

For more information see our PDF summary.


Zoom: 2pm on Thursday, 2 December, 2021

From Tchaikovsky to Tin Pan Alley – Uplifting Music for Christmas

Sandy Burnett: Tchaikovsky to Tin Pan Alley

To kick off our seasonal celebrations, musician and broadcaster Sandy Burnett is on hand to share his selection of much-loved Christmas tunes. Expect an hour of the finest festive music from across the globe – his selections include sparking moments from Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, a heartwarming ballad from Mel Tormé, something from Soweto, a heavenly chorus from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Leipzig, an illustration of the English carol tradition at its finest – and something more cynical from Eartha Kitt… 

Sandy is one of the UK’s most versatile music commentators, enjoying a career that combines broadcasting, performing and lecturing. After studying at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and working as music director for the RSC, National Theatre and in London’s West End, Sandy Burnett spent a decade as one of the core team of presenters on BBC Radio 3. Combining engaging scholarship with hands-on expertise, for ACE Cultural Tours he devises and leads cultural holidays at home in the UK and all over the world, is the author of the Idler Guide to Classical Music, is a highly sought after double bassist on the London jazz scene, and was appointed the Academy of Ancient Music’s Hogwood Fellow for the 2018-19 season. During lockdown he established an online Listening Club which meets weekly to listen to and discuss great works of classical music. 

The cost will be £10 per person.  If you would like to attend, please contact Alison Lornie (alison.lornie@btinternet.com or 01932 845372);  she will give you details of how to make your payment and will reserve a place for you and, once your payment has been received, will confirm your reservation.  A day or two before the event, a Zoom link will be sent to all participants.

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