Programme of Lectures
These talks take place at Whiteley Village Hall at 10.30am

Wed 8th January 2020

At the sign of the falcon: The life and works of Harry Murphy - goldsmith, silversmith and unique Englishman

John Benjamin

There will be Drinks for new members, past committee and helpers after this lecture
H G Murphy’s greatest misfortune was to die just before the start of the Second World War. The designs and inspirations of the pre-war era were simply seen as passé and totally out of keeping with the new spirit of modernism which quickly grew after the Festival of Britain in 1951. Harry Murphy served his apprenticeship under Henry Wilson, probably Britain’s greatest designer goldsmith of the Arts and Crafts era. Here he learnt a wide range of skills and techniques including enamelling, gem-setting and polishing, niello, engraving and hammering. From 1928 until his death in 1939 he worked from retail premises in Marylebone, London, known as the Falcon Studio where he designed and created a prodigious amount of silverware for the corporate, civic and private sectors as well as some truly startling gold, silver and enamel jewellery inspired by nature, architecture, the Ballet Russes and the vibrancy of the Jazz Age. 

John Benjamin has lectured to us several times before, getting stellar ratings from our committee each time.
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John Benjamin was with Phillips Auctioneers for 23 years, latterly as International Director of Jewellery. Since 1999 has been an independent jewellery consultant. Lectures, writes and broadcasts (including BBC Antiques Roadshow).

Image of: John Benjamin
Wed 12th February 2020

"The Italian Job": A contemporary figurative artist in Calabria

Richard Whincop
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This lecture tells the unusual story of a major figurative art commission that Richard painted for the city of Cosenza, Calabria, where he stayed for two months in 2015, painting five large pictures telling the story of the Normans in Southern Italy.

This lecture was highly recommended by the sister of one of our members, who heard it at the Arts Society where she is a member.
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Richard is a professional artist who graduated in English and Art History from York University in 1986. From 1988-1994 he lectured at the adult education departments of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities, and then went on to become a full-time figurative artist, executing large-scale public commissions, and exhibiting widely throughout the UK. He now lives and works in Chichester, West Sussex. 
Wed 11th March 2020

Due to the illness of Alexandra Epps, the lecture on this date will now be:

The Elgin Marbles: A History of Meaning

Alan Read
In the two centuries since they were removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, the meaning and significance of the ‘Elgin marbles’ has changed dramatically. From architectural decoration to disputed cultural objects this lecture looks at the response to them over their time in Britain, from the original controversy over their purchase to the current debate surrounding the restitution of the marbles to the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. 
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Alan Read holds Master’s and First Class Honours degrees in History of Art from Birkbeck College, University of London. Is a gallery guide at Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery and has lectured at many galleries including the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Plymouth City Art Gallery and the NPG. He is also a London Blue Badge Guide and City of London Guide.
Wed 8th April 2020

Arts & Crafts gardens in the south-east

Cherrill Sands
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The Arts & Crafts Movement was a reaction to mechanical mass production and encouraged a return to craftsmanship. The partnership of Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll combined geometric structure softened by profuse planting. Their use of pergolas, formal pools and yew hedge remain design favourites to this day.

Image: Garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll at Upton Grey, Hampshire

Cherrill Sands' lectures have been recommended by two of our members.

Cherrill Sands is a Garden Historian (with an MA on the Conservation of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens from the Architectural Association) and presents talks to a variety of groups, including Local History Societies, Horticultural Clubs, Probus, as well as for the Elmbridge Royston Pike lectures. She has worked at Painshill for over twenty years. She is on the RHS list of speakers, and feels very strongly that garden design/history is as much an art as a science.
Wed 13th May 2020


Pevsner in Surrey: Nikolaus Pevsner and the buildings of England

Susie Harries
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How did a German refugee from Hitler, an internee and a jobbing journalist, become the Grand Old Man of English art history? The answer lies in his extraordinary one-man survey of all the architecturally significant buildings in the country, county by county. This lecture explores what Pevsner said, rightly or wrongly, about the buildings in our area - churches, houses, shops, town halls, tower blocks, factories, cinemas - and sets his pronouncements in the context of The Buildings of England as a whole. The series has both detractors and passionate defenders, but no imitators. Pevsner himself said "There won't be another madman so soon".

Image: Pevsner with the Buildings of England

This lecture by Susie Harries was highly rated by another local Arts Society.
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Susie Harries is a writer, editor and lecturer, specialising in 20th century culture and the arts. Has published eight books on subjects including official war art, opera and the composer Elisabeth Lutyens. The most recent is the biography of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, published in August 2011. Lectured to a range of audiences, from the Imperial War Museum and British Museum to the Twentieth Century Society and the RSA, most recently at the Cheltenham and Bridport Literary Festivals and the Victorian Society.

Image of: Susie Harries
Wed 10th June 2020

The Artists of Montmartre - "The pilgrims of Babylon"

Douglas Skeggs
There is no name more evocative of Bohemian life than Montmartre. The garden cafes, dancehalls, cabarets, and studios of Montmartre became the inspiration to some of France’s greatest artists. From the Moulin de la Galette where Renoir painted Parisians dancing, to Toulouse Lautrec’s vivid images of the Moulin Rouge, to the shabby garrets of the Bateau Lavoir where a group of artists headed by Picasso painted canvases that shook the foundations of Western art, this lecture charts the course of this extraordinary artistic life.

Douglas Skeggs has lectured at our Society several times previously, and each time we gave him a stellar rating.
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Douglas Skeggs: Cambridge Fine Arts. Writer, Artist, TV Presenter. Lecturer to many London art courses. Director of the New Academy of Arts. Author of 6 Novels.

Image of: Douglas Skeggs
Wed 12th August 2020

Sorolla, the master of light

Arantxa Sardina

Joaquin Sorolla hated darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have enough light in it. Sorolla could not agree more. Sorolla believed painters could never reproduce sunlight as it really is, and he could only “approach the truth of it”. 
Most of us when standing in front of one of his canvases would agree he was the master of light. He managed to capture like no other the light of the Mediterranean beaches he loved and the energy of Spanish life. He painted what he saw, quickly, to capture that precise moment. As he said "I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly. Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.” 
In this lecture we will look at Sorolla’s life and art, from early education to success; having been almost forgotten to be rediscovered in the last few years.

Arantxa Sardina is a newly accredited Arts Society lecturer presenting for the first time at Directory Day March 2020 in London.
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Arantxa Sardina is an official guide at Tate, covering the permanent collection and some of the temporary exhibitions at both galleries, Modern and Britain. She has just completed her M.A. in Art History at the Open University, where her dissertation focused on fellow Spaniard Joaquin Sorolla, the master painter of Mediterranean light and great friend of John Singer Sargent. She is also an enthusiastic amateur musician, playing the cello and the piano and a lover of opera and ballet.  
A member of The Arts Society in Bromley, she takes every opportunity to learn about art and to find out more about the stories behind artworks. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and continuously learning from others.

Image: Arantxa Sardina
Wed 9th September 2020

The Two Gustavs: Mahler and Klimt

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

This lecture has received a top rating from another Arts Society in our area.
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A writer and broadcaster, appearing on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and contributing to newspapers, magazines and opera and concert programmes worldwide. Lectures widely about the culture of Central Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Recent talks include the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the National Trust, the National Theatre, the British Museum, the V&A, the Southbank Centre, the Tate and the Neue Galerie, New York, as well as for history of art societies and The Art Fund.
Wed 14th October 2020

Coffee 9.30 for 10.00am

Annual General Meeting
followed by

Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) "The Ultimate renaissance ruler & fine art collector" - POSTPONED TO 13th OCTOBER 2021

David Rosier
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The Emperor Qianlong was arguably the greatest of all Qing Emperors as he guided China through a period of unquestionable political, economic and cultural prosperity which rivalled any comparable period of high achievement in Chinese history. A wide range of items of the highest quality, produced by the Imperial Workshops, will illustrate this lecture. 

The lecturer lives in Scotland and from time to time travels south to deliver lectures to several societies over several days, the societies sharing travel costs. Another of David's lectures was given a top rating by a Society in our area.
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A Chartered Insurer by profession and a Fellow of the Assurance Medical Society, with extensive international experience as an author and lecturer in Medical Risk Assessment. He has in excess of 25 years of working and living in Asia. Whilst living in Hong Kong (1991-2004) he assembled a collection of approximately 700, predominantly Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Imperial and related textiles/costume accessories. Past Committee Member of the Hong Kong Textile Society and frequent speaker on Imperial Insignia and Badges of Rank.

Image of: David Rosier
Wed 11th November 2020

Ways to look at painting - THIS LECTURE HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 12th MAY 2021

Alice White
This incisive, colourful lecture provides an in-depth exploration of famous artworks from a contemporary painter’s perspective. Taking an artist’s point of view on the making process, this talk reveals how Turner and Rembrandt developed new innovations in the language of painting, establishing experimental approaches which modern artists such as Pollock and Fontana would follow. This lecture explores painting techniques from the 16th to the 21st Centuries, exposing unusual details from broken brushes to smudged thumbmarks, dripping pigment to secret sketchbooks, and torn canvases to immersive light installations; providing a new way of seeing painting across the centuries.

Alice White is a newly accredited Arts Society lecturer presenting for the first time at Directory Day March 2020 in London.
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Alice White is an oil painter, and Associate Lecturer at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. She is a Guest Lecturer at Kings College London, Brunel University, The Art Worker’s Guild, Canterbury Christchurch University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Her solo show, entitled ‘A New Wave’, documented her residency as Artist for Animals at ZSL London Zoo. Exhibitions this year include The Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, the Bankside Gallery in London, and the Naze Tower in Essex. Recent awards include the Public Engagement Fund at Brunel University, and the Russel and Chapple Canvas Prize for an Outstanding Artwork in Oils at the Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London.

Image of: Alice White
Wed 9th December 2020

Les Parisiennes: How women lived, loved and died in Paris from 1939-49

Anne Sebba

There will be Christmas Drinks and Mince Pies after the lecture
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Les Parisiennes is a story about women’s lives during the dark years of Nazi occupation and beyond and
includes British and American women caught in Paris as well as native born resisters who were eventually sent to camps, couturiers and jewellers, some of whom flourished in wartime, as well as actors, singers, night club dancers and housewives.
The lecture opens with a magnificent circus ball held by Elsie de Wolfe at the magnificent Villa Trianon, a chateau in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles; many of the guests could not believe that war was imminent and ends with Christian Dior’s lavish new look in 1947 as well as a perfume, Miss Dior, named after his sister Catherine, a resister, who had only just survived a prison camp and never wanted to talk about her experiences.

This lecture received high praise from another Society in our area. The lecture does not have a Christmas theme; we were keen to book this lecturer and this was the only date for which she was available.
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Biographer, historian and author of eleven books who lectures to a variety of audiences in the US and UK, including the English Speaking Union, Royal Overseas League, National Trust, British Library and Imperial War Museum. A former Reuters foreign correspondent, Anne is now a broadcaster - she presented a BBC R3 documentary about the pianist Harriet Cohen and for Radio 4 the documentary Who was Joyce Hatto? she regularly appears on television talking about her books, mostly biographies including Jennie Churchill, William Bankes, Laura Ashley and Wallis Simpson. The latter, published as That Woman, was an international bestseller. Her latest book is a history of Paris between 1939-49 through women's eyes published in 2016 as Les Parisiennes How the women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s. Anne is a former chair of Britain's 9,000 strong Society of Authors.

Image of: Anne Sebba

Enquiries about the Programme can be sent by email to our Programme Secretary, Stephen Hayes, at progsec@theartssocietyweybridge.org.uk. The lectures are for The Arts Society Weybridge members only.


Hall opens 10.00 am Coffee is served 10.00 – 10.20 am Lecture begins 10.30 am promptly

The Arts Society Weybridge cannot be held responsible for any personal accident, loss, damage or theft of members’ personal property. Members are covered against proven liability to third parties.