Lectures 2017 | THE ARTS SOCIETY WEYBRIDGE (formerly Weybridge Decorative & Fine Arts Society)

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

Wed 11th January 2017

India: Its Early History, Empire and Architecture

Oliver Everett
Diplomat and Academic

There will be Drinks for new members after this lecture
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The talk starts from the Indus Valley civilisation (3000BC to 1500BC) and continues with the Aryan invasion from 1500BC and with the brief but significant invasion by Alexander the Great in 326BC. The Mauryan Empire (320-180BC) was the first full scale indigenous empire in India. Its most powerful Emperor, Ashoka, spread Buddhism over much of the country with his famous columns, rock inscriptions and stupas. The second great Indian Empire, the Guptas (320-480AD), created a sophisticated society with flourishing arts, architecture, sculpture, literature, sciences, economics and administration. Cave and rock temples are described and illustrated, including the remarkable wall paintings at Ajanta and the sculpture at Ellora and Elephanta. Hindu temples developed all over the country from the 5th century AD onwards and became increasingly complex and extraordinary. The Muslim invasion of India at the end of the 12th century introduced new forms of architecture and art. 

Image above: of Emperor Ashoka

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Oliver Everett (pictured) was educated at Cambridge University and did post graduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA; and at the London School of Economics. Following service in the Foreign Office, including postings in India and Spain, he was Assistant Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales,1978 80; and then Private Secretary to Diana, Princess of Wales, 1981 3. He was Librarian in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, 1984 2002. He is now Librarian Emeritus following his retirement in 2002. He wrote the official guidebook and audio tour on Windsor Castle, taught a course on its history and advised on a television programme about it. He wrote articles on the Royal Library and helped with two books on aspects of the Royal Collection. He is advising on a possible history series for television. He lectures widely in Britain and abroad and also on cruise ships.
Wed 8th February 2017

Charles Dickens: The Man and his Life Through his Characters

Bertie Pearce
Gold Star Member of the Inner Magic Circle
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Charles John Huffam Dickens brought into the world a staggering array of wonderful characters with orphans, starving children, misers, murderers and abusive school teachers among them. People such as Mr Micawber, Fagin and Abel Magwitch remain in one’s literary psyche long after the books are put down. Largely self educated, Dickens possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age with 15 major novels and countless short stories and articles. In his lecture Bertie Pearce looks at the life and places of Dickens through his characters. The talk is interspersed with readings of this works. A truly Dickensian experience.
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Bertie Pearce (pictured) has a BA (Hons) in Drama from Manchester University, and a Diploma Internationale from the École Internationale du Théatre, Jacques Lecoq. A member of the Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star. Past experience includes lecturing to cruise ship audiences, the Women’s Institute, theatre clubs and the Sussex Magic Circle, as well as NADFAS. In addition, has toured the world with a magic cabaret show and a one man show entitled All Aboard. Has written an article on entertainment for the Guardian newspaper.

Wed 8th March 2017

Thomas Heatherwick: The Leonardo da Vinci of our Times

Anthea Streeter
Art Specialist and Lecturer
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Thomas Heatherwick (pictured) has won many awards and honours: in 2004 he was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry; he won a Gold Medal for his British Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010, and in the same year he was designer of the year in Japan.Sir Terence Conran spotted his talent early on and has described Heatherwick as “the Leonardo da Vinci of our times”. Heatherwick’s work received world-wide coverage in 2012 when with his studio team he designed the Olympic Cauldron at the London Olympics. The giant ring of fire rising up from the centre of the Olympic Stadium was a memorable sight, and in the lecture we’ll look at how they achieved that spectacular moment. The Heatherwick Studio has also designed the new red London bus, the first re-design of such an iconic symbol of London for 50 years. A part-model of the bus was featured at the acclaimed exhibition of their work at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2012. Heatherwick’s approach is multi-disciplinary, and with his colleagues he blends architecture, sculpture and engineering to produce elegant results, from large urban spaces to individual items such as his Zip Bag for the French firm Longchamp. His proposed Garden Bridge across the River Thames is receiving extensive media coverage. If constructed, it will add another dimension to London’s many parks and gardens. Heatherwick’s innovative approach is now in demand all over the world, and the lecture will highlight the broad range of his designs.

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Anthea Streeter (pictured) studied the Fine and Decorative Arts in London and continued her studies at Harvard University. It was while at Harvard, where there was great enthusiasm for American design, that she became interested herself in 20th century architecture. Since returning from America she has taught on courses in Oxford and London, lectured on the Country House course in Sussex, and for several private groups around the country. Special interest in the architecture and design of 20th century.

Wed 12th April 2017

The Other Side: Germany’s Post WWII Culture of Apology and Atonement

Angela Findlay
Anglo-German Artist, Writer and Public Speaker
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In these years of World War 2 Anniversaries the subject of this talk is hugely relevant. Relatively little is known in this country about Germany’s complex post-war process of remembrance and the counter memorial movement that started there in the 1980s and continues to this day.
Germany’s very specific situation rendered all traditional concepts of monuments and memorials irrelevant and inappropriate. Instead of commemorating their own losses Germany artists looked to creating art forms that would respond to questions of apology and atonement: How does a nation of former persecutors mourn its victims?
The idea behind counter memorials is to keep the memories and lessons of the past alive in the individual psyches of the people. The results are extraordinary, brave, and inspiring.
With her Anglo-German roots, artistic background and years of research, Angela is in an ideal position to give insights into Germany’s fascinating and on-going efforts to find artistic forms for the remembrance of the victims of one of history’s darkest periods.
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Angela Findlay (pictured) is a professional artist, writer and freelance lecturer with a long standing interest in the role the arts and the creative process can play in bringing about changes, on a personal level or within societies. Her long career of teaching art in prisons and Young Offender Institutions in Germany and England, followed by her role as the former Arts Coordinator of the Koestler Trust in London, gave her many insights into the huge impact the arts can have in terms of rehabilitation. She is currently advising the Ministry of Justice and presenting the case for the arts to be included in their new rehabilitation and education policies.
In the past decade Angela’s Anglo-German roots led her to discover and research Germany’s largely unknown but fascinating post-WWII process of remembrance. So completely different to the British one, the arts once again play a huge and vital role in expressing the apology and atonement that underlies the country’s unique culture of memorials and counter memorials.
Angela has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, a Diploma in Artistic Therapy (specialising in colour) and her paintings are widely exhibited both nationally and internationally. 

Wed 10th May 2017

Shock! Horror! Probe! The Art and Artifice of Fleet Street

Dr Geri Parlby
Art Historian and Freelance Lecturer

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Since the end of the 15th century, when Wynkyn de Worde set up England's first printing press and after 1702, when the first newspaper, the Daily Courant, moved in, the term "Fleet Street" has been synonymous with newspaper journalism. In this lecture we will be looking at the ups and downs of this notorious ‘Street of Shame’ via the art that illustrated its stories.
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Geri Parlby (pictured) is a former Fleet Street journalist and film publicist. She has a first class honours degree in History and Theology, a Masters in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute and a Theology doctorate from Roehampton University in London.
She has been lecturing for the past eleven years both in the UK and internationally. She is also principal lecturer on the NADFAS South West Area’s History of Art course and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Roehampton University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Wed 14th June 2017

Jane Austen - a Life

Jane Tapley
Blue Badge Guide and Lecturer

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Lecture details to follow.

Image: of Jane Austen
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Jane Tapley (pictured) is currently Special Events Organiser, Theatre Royal Bath. Interviews visiting actors, writers, directors. Lectures regularly to theatre going societies, NT and history and fine arts groups. West Country Tourist Board Registered Blue Badge Guide/Lecturer. Author and researcher of theatre programme notes on Hamlet, Sheridan's The Rivals and Jane Austen's Emma. Theatrical landlady! Home Economist. Consultant to various TV productions of Jane Austen adaptations on food in the 18th and 19th centuries. Hosts and cooks period meals in her Regency house in Bath for the Jane Austen Festival and other literary groups.

Wed 9th August 2017

St Paul’s Cathedral: How Fine Art Reflects the Changing Faces of Wren’s Cathedral

Brian Stater
Lecturer on Photography, Architecture and History

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The fabric of St Paul’s has barely been altered since the day it was completed by Sir Christopher Wren, in 1711. Yet the way in which it has been represented by the artists who have sketched, painted, photographed and engraved it reveal a multiplicity of meanings, evolving over the centuries. This lecture therefore uses fine art to trace the fascinating different cultural identities of Wren’s building as they have developed in the building’s history. The series includes a design sketch in Wren’s own hand, a Canaletto painting, a newly-discovered 19th century engraving, and on to a famous image of St Paul’s at the height of the London blitz. 
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Brian Stater’s chief interests lie in photography, architecture and history and he combines all three in his lecturing career. He has taught at University College London, since 1997 and became a NADFAS lecturer in 2003. He is a member of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and an exhibition of his own photographs has been staged at UCL. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the skills of some great photographers of the past, he has begun to work with a pre-War Leica camera, as used by his great hero, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and many others.

Image: of Brian Stater
Wed 13th September 2017

Foreigners in London 1520-1677: The Artists that Changed the Course of British Art

Leslie Primo
Art Historian and National Gallery Lecturer

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Lecture details to follow.

Image: of Hans Holbein the Younger - self portrait
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Leslie Primo holds a BA in Art History and an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Was Visiting Lecturer in Art History at the University of Reading in 2005 and 2007, and gives lectures and guided tours, plus special talks, at both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Also lectures at the City Literary Institute, and has presented a series of talks at the National Maritime Museum and the Courtauld Institute.

Image: of Leslie Primo
Wed 11th October 2017

Coffee 9.30 for 10.00am

Annual General Meeting
followed by

Art and Revolution: Russian Culture in the 20th Century

Dr Rosamund Bartlett
Writer, Translator and Lecturer

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In no other country did art play such an important role in national life in the 20th century as it did in Russia. Before the 1917 Revolution, Russian artists of the calibre of Kandinsky, Malevich and Stravinsky emerged for the first time as leaders of the European avant-garde. They were not only consummate professionals and peerless artists in their own right, they were revolutionaries, committed to forging a new artistic language. This lecture explores the nature of the revolution which took place across the arts in Russia on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution. It will show how artists of the avant-garde took a leading role in early Soviet culture, and explain what happened under Totalitarianism, when Stalin started subjecting painters, musicians and writers to ideological control in the early 1930s, focusing on key figures like Shostakovich and Malevich. Finally, we shall seek to answer questions such as: What happened to Russian culture after the “death” of the avant-garde? What was Socialist Realism? Who were the dissidents? What are the great masterpieces of Russian culture in the 20th century? 

Image: of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Rosamund Bartlett (pictured) has a Doctorate from Oxford and has held senior university posts, most recently at the European University Institute in Florence. Specialises in comparative study of art, music and literature, and currently writing a book on the Russian Avant-Garde and European Modernism. Author of several books, including biographies of Tolstoy and Chekhov, whose works she has also translated for Oxford World's Classics. Extensive experience lecturing in Russian cultural history at venues such as the V&A, the National Theatre and Covent Garden, and broadcasts regularly on the BBC. Often invited to lecture on tours, and is founding Director of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, set up to preserve the writer's house in Yalta.

Wed 8th November 2017

Pearls and Pomegranates, Peacocks and Pipes: The Hidden Language of Renaissance Art

Shirley Smith
Art Historian and Lecturer
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It is sometimes difficult for us to understand the full meaning of a painting from the past due to the wealth of symbolism it contains, much of it obscure to us today but instantly recognizable to contemporaries. This lecture aims to peel back the layers of Renaissance art by deciphering the meaning of some of these symbols - spiritual and secular, virginal and vulgar – and so enable us to read these paintings as had the people for whom they were intended. 

Image: by Jacobo Tintoretto - The Origin of the Milky Way. Circa 1575.
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Shirley Smith graduated from the University of East Anglia with a first class honours degree in the History of Art, specialising in the Italian and Northern Renaissance. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a part-time lecturer for the University of East Anglia and for the Department of Continuing Education of the University of Cambridge. Has run study days and certificate courses as well as residential weekend courses. Also lectures to the Art Fund and individual clubs and societies. She is particularly keen to set the art and architecture of the period in the context of the society for which it was produced.

Image: of Shirley Smith
Wed 13th December 2017

A Christmas Pie

Jeanne Dolmetsch LRAM
Musician and Lecturer

There will be Christmas Drinks and Mince Pies after the lecture
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Explores the evolution of Christmas customs and folklore down the ages. We examine holly, mistletoe, fir trees, glass balls, robins, reindeer, yule logs, puddings, cakes and St. Nicholas. The 16th-century story of Jack Horner and his Christmas Pie is retold, and we experience the bleak times when Christmas was abolished under Cromwell and mince pies were made illegal! 
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Jeanne Dolmetsch (pictured) is the Granddaughter of Arnold Dolmetsch, pioneer of the Early Music Renaissance. Trained by her father Carl Dolmetsch to play recorder, viol and harpsichord and studied violin and piano at the Royal Academy of Music. Specialist in the interpretation and performance of 16th, 17th and 18th century music and has given concerts and lecture recitals worldwide. For many years worked as a craftsman at the Dolmetsch Musical Instrument workshop and from 1972-2001 was assistant director and then director of the Haslemere Festival of Early Music, founded by her grandfather in 1925.

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.