News April 2021

News April 2021

23 Mar 2021 - 11:00 BY Vivienne Lester

FROM THE CHAIR                           Judith Furner

As I write, the sun is peeping through the clouds, and spring is beckoning.  Even more springlike is the promise of easing of lockdown, which should be well under way when you receive this Newsletter.  As far as The Arts Society Eastbourne is concerned, we seem to have established our lectures by Zoom very satisfactorily, and the number of viewers is rising each month.  We are optimistic that we shall be able to meet in East Dean Hall again in the autumn – watch this space! 

We have greatly appreciated Doris' contribution to the committee and even more to the provision of tea and cakes.  This latter is currently dormant, and Doris has decided to retire from the committee (temporarily, I hope), although she has promised us that she will return to the tea and cakes once we are back in the Hall.   We shall miss you, Doris, and very much look forward to your return when we are all able to meet again.

As you know, we have our AGM in May, and I would urge you to vote in order to ensure that we are quorate.  It is hard to believe that I have been on this committee for over a year now.  It has been an enormous privilege to have worked with such a dedicated colleagues, and such a loyal membership.  Thank you all.

LECTURE PROGRAMME                 Chris Pulling

Following current Covid restrictions, the committee have taken the decision to postpone live lectures until September 2021, at the earliest. Online lectures are a positive addition to our Arts Society while we are unable to meet at East Dean. Members are now able to connect to these lectures using their landline or mobile phones which  really does enable everyone to join us.

For the final lectures of this season, April is Dr. Caroline Levisse who will be giving her lecture on Berthe Morisot: Her Life & Career, who from her first Impressionist paintings in the 1860s and 1870s to her bold late works, worked with a passion and dedication that used to be socially accepted only when displayed by men. This is followed in May with Alexandra Epps lecture on Peggy Guggenheim, the ‘poor little rich girl’ who changed the face of twentieth centry art.

Next season’s programme for 2021/2022  will be an amalgamation of postponed and new lectures. With a miscellany of topics which include members’ requests with the addition of the following lectures which I’m delighted to showcase, a full synopsis can be found on our Website.

Naïve Art - Linda Smith simple, unaffected, and unsophisticated – usually specifically refers to art made by artists who have had no formal training in an art school or academy.

Howard SmithCreating the Golden era of Transatlantic Liners. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was the domination of shipping routes to and from America, that was the golden prize. Here’s the fascinating story of how each company positioned itself in the size of liners, the luxurious environments with posters, art, ephemera and the stark economics of luxury liner travel either side of the Great War. The breath-taking interiors as portrayed in the Shipbuilder special supplements of the day

Jacqueline Cockburn – Fantasy comes from the ghosts – Gaudi & Other Catalan Architects. In this lecture, his work will be explored in detail. It will be shown how he engaged with nature and worked with extraordinary ceramicists, ironworkers, tilers and decorative artists. We will look at his public and private buildings and his relationship with a wealthy and demanding patron. Private, shy and retiring he was also humorous and witty in his extravagant style.

A newly accredited lecturer, Charlie Foreman will lecture on 8 Buildings for 8 Faiths in London. Appreciate the astonishing range of signature buildings of faith communities settling in London.

To comply with Copyright Laws and The Data Protection Act, recording of lectures given by The Arts Society Eastbourne is prohibited.

LECTURES AT HOME               Nick Clive-Matthews

Having commenced our series of TASE Zoom lectures back in December with that brilliant speaker, Leslie Primo, giving us a suitably seasonal lecture on the Journey of the Magi, we moved seamlessly into 2021 with two dramatically contrasting lectures. The word dramatic accurately describes both these lectures, but for completely different reasons and once again our hard working Programme Secretary, Chris Pulling, had come up with two more great choices. As our talks are always planned some eighteen months ahead, she would not have known how apposite the second lecture would prove to be, albeit in a somewhat macabre way. Giles Ramsay’s talk on 18th and 19th Century Theatre was entertaining from all aspects, providing us with a romp through the history of drama from the court masques and pageants of the 16th century, through to the late 19th and early 20th Century productions which have given us the theatre we recognise today. He managed to cover not just the development of the structure of the modern theatre building, but also the accompanying changes in presentation and declamation, amply illustrated with examples of comedy and tragedy both on and off the stage. All of this was further enlivened by the occasional excerpts from well known plays, which provided us with the ‘spot the actor’ challenge, something no doubt some of us find a little more demanding as time passes by, but great fun, nonetheless.

February’s lecture by Imogen Corrigan on the Black Death, could not have taken us to a more strikingly different subject. From the light and amusing world of the theatre in the previous lecture, we were now plunged into the terror and despair of 14th Century Europe, as a new disease with obnoxious symptoms and a high fatality rate, spread out rapidly from the ports of the Adriatic and Mediterranean to engulf the entire continent, with further outbreaks occurring intermittently until the late 15th Century. In contrast to our modern Coronavirus ‘plague’ it affected old and young alike, killing some 50 to 60% of the population swiftly and indiscriminately. Despite the apparently gruesome subject matter, Imogen provided us with a delightful trip back in time, explaining the artistic and, very much intertwined, religious effects of the epidemic. There was a surprising amount of humorous content amongst the art of the time and we finished on an uplifting note, as the huge loss of life ultimately contributed to the loss of feudalism, a general increase in living standards and the flowering of Renaissance art.

It is so good to be able to enjoy such informative and educational talks from the comfort of our own homes. We have three more cracking lectures coming up in the Spring, so do try and join us if you can.

FROM THE TREASURER             Chris Dye

Our subscriptions for the 2019/2020 season stood at £48. Historically these  have increased by around £1.00 per year which would have resulted in £49 in 2020/21 and £50 for the upcoming 2021/22 season. We all know what happened a year ago however and due to reduced lecture fee expenditure and use of reserves, we were able to have a one year reduction to £28. We felt this was fair to members and were delighted that you agreed and (unlike a number of other Societies), we maintained a full complement!

Your previous Treasurer (Teresa Sibley) felt that it was prudent to keep a reserve approximate to one years essential running costs. I have to confess that when I first took over, I thought that this was maybe a little excessive. However she has been proved so right – and thank heavens we had that to fall back on during this extraordinary period! I have therefore recommended to your committee that we continue with that policy – and they have agreed. However, with careful budgeting we have managed to keep the subscriptions at the 2019/2020 level of £48. Most expenditures are back to normal now and so there is little leeway for additional savings.

Some members expressed surprise that your subscriptions fund a national levy contribution to the national Arts Society organisation. This is an essential use of funds and overall good value. However, along with local levies and national insurance policies this will amount to £15.43 of your subscription next season. Your local Society will therefore receive £32.57 per member for all lectures, postage and other administrative/running costs – which I am sure you will agree is excellent value for money!

Finally, the Membership Secretary and I have completed an exercise on Gift Aid contributions and notice that only 41% of members have given us permission to reclaim this. We will therefore be sending out forms to those of you who may have inadvertently not completed these in order that we can take full advantage of this resource. There is of course no obligation for you to do this, but if you are content to do so, it is no detriment to yourself and of financial benefit to your Society.

Thank you again for your loyalty to us and I look forward to actually seeing you again before too long.

FROM WINDSOR TO ETON              Janet Fortnum

In February the East Sussex Arts Society arranged this virtual walk and invited neighbouring Societies, for a small fee, to join them.  So, from the comfort of our homes on a freezing cold day,  some 100 of us participated on Zoom to watch Barbara Askew guide us from Windsor to Eton.  Barbara is an accredited Arts Society and Blue Badge London Guide who talked us through our ‘walk' accompanied by photos of places we visited and even a video of the Eton Boating Song!

We began with an old painting of Windsor Castle, showing it strategically positioned on a hilltop and at the shortest place to cross the river, with photos of the Castle today.  Inside to look at some of the magnificent rooms with walls and ceilings covered in paintings, also mantlepieces by Grinling Gibbons.  A team of craftsmen worked in the chapel and apartments to restore them after the fire in 1992.  We saw photos of some of the wonderfully refurbished rooms which Barbara said now looked better than ever.  We walked along the Long Walk to Windsor Home Park where the Queen still rides her horses and saw Frogmore Mausoleum, Frogmore House and Frogmore Cottage now used by Princess Eugenie and her husband.  Their first baby was born just a day before our 'walk'. Walking into town we went along Church Lane to a pub called 'The Nell Gwyn', renamed 'Prince Harry' in 2018, and on to the site of the first Guildhall in Windsor.  The new Guildhall has an impressive statue of Queen Anne who had a sad life, plagued by ill health, having 17 pregnancies and dying aged 49.  Her coffin was so heavy it took 14 men to lift it.  Along Queen Charlotte's Street, the shortest street in Britain, to  where some of the pavements have large metal discs marking the Queen's Walkway, opened by her on her 90th birthday in 2015.  There are 63 of these roundels marking each year of her reign. Down Thames Street, with its restaurants and pubs, there are strap-like heavy metal pieces in some of the kerb stones which were put there to prevent the carriages of earlier years rolling down the hill!

Crossing Windsor Bridge we came to Eton, much older than Windsor dating back to Saxon times.  In the High Street we could see Tom Brown's Tailors who have made uniforms for Eton College for over 200 years.  Boris Johnson and Prince William have been members of the elite Eton Society, nicknamed 'Pop'.  'Pop' students are entitled to wear spongebag trousers and gaudy silk waistcoats instead of the regular Eton uniform.  Then, after over an hour's 'walking', we arrived at our destination in Eton's playing fields having enjoyed all we had heard and seen.

HON. SECRETARY'S REPORT           Jennifer Walker

In February the East Sussex Arts Society arranged this virtual walk and invited neighbouring Societies, for a small fee, to join them.  So, from the comfort of our homes on a freezing cold day,  some 100 of us participated on Zoom to watch Barbara Askew guide us from Windsor to Eton.  Barbara is an accredited Arts Society and Blue Badge London Guide who talked us through our ‘walk' accompanied by photos of places we visited and even a video of the Eton Boating Song!

We began with an old painting of Windsor Castle, showing it strategically positioned on a hilltop and at the shortest place to cross the river, with photos of the Castle today.  Inside to look at some of the magnificent rooms with walls and ceilings covered in paintings, also mantlepieces by Grinling Gibbons.  A team of craftsmen worked in the chapel and apartments to restore them after the fire in 1992.  We saw photos of some of the wonderfully refurbished rooms which Barbara said now looked better than ever.  We walked along the Long Walk to Windsor Home Park where the Queen still rides her horses and saw Frogmore Mausoleum, Frogmore House and Frogmore Cottage now used by Princess Eugenie and her husband.  Their first baby was born just a day before our 'walk'. Walking into town we went along Church Lane to a pub called 'The Nell Gwyn', renamed 'Prince Harry' in 2018, and on to the site of the first Guildhall in Windsor.  The new Guildhall has an impressive statue of Queen Anne who had a sad life, plagued by ill health, having 17 pregnancies and dying aged 49.  Her coffin was so heavy it took 14 men to lift it.  Along Queen Charlotte's Street, the shortest street in Britain, to  where some of the pavements have large metal discs marking the Queen's Walkway, opened by her on her 90th birthday in 2015.  There are 63 of these roundels marking each year of her reign. Down Thames Street, with its restaurants and pubs, there are strap-like heavy metal pieces in some of the kerb stones which were put there to prevent the carriages of earlier years rolling down the hill!

Crossing Windsor Bridge we came to Eton, much older than Windsor dating back to Saxon times.  In the High Street we could see Tom Brown's Tailors who have made uniforms for Eton College for over 200 years.  Boris Johnson and Prince William have been members of the elite Eton Society, nicknamed 'Pop'.  'Pop' students are entitled to wear spongebag trousers and gaudy silk waistcoats instead of the regular Eton uniform.  Then, after over an hour's 'walking', we arrived at our destination in Eton's playing fields having enjoyed all we had heard and seen.

FROM GUILFORD STREET              Dorothy Watson

It seems ages since we all met up at East Dean Village to listen to lectures and catch up with our friends over a cup of tea and delicious cake.  Nobody could have anticipated the impact of the pandemic over the last year, and whilst things – for the moment at least – are not as they were, we have been fortunate to maintain our links with each other via the ‘magic’ of technology, and the magnificent efforts of our committee in bringing us together on Zoom.

The national staff, currently working from home, have been no slouches either. Their work on creating the Arts Connected website has been inspiring and if you haven’t yet taken a look at what is on offer I would urge you to give it a try.   (www.connected.theartssociety.org/talks-lectures)  The site is easy to navigate and offers an Aladdin’s Cave of goodies, including a series of talks under the heading of Lectures at Home.  Subjects range across the history of hand-painted chinese export silk and the link with the East India Company; Rescuing old Diaries; the link between Old Master paintings and contemporary photography, Aboriginal Art, to name a few. This spring the Arts Society has commissioned more talks over the next three months.  Also on offer are exclusive music recordings in partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, classes on how to mix your perfect cocktail for classic movie evenings.

We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that life gets back to normal in time for the autumn meetings at East Dean.  In the meantime, enjoy the rich variety of what is on offer at Arts Connected – I for one shall be mixing a cheeky cocktail or two this weekend!

HOLIDAY IN HARROGATE                David Lester

At last, a face to face encounter!!!!! Those of you who booked for this trip in June 2020 will be pleased to hear that, if the government plans to exit lock-down are adhered to, we will be able to go as planned from June 11th to 15th this year. For those of you who rolled over your booking from last year, all you need to do is pay the balance due in mid-April. We are going to reduce the numbers on the trip to make social distancing on the coach easier but we may still have a few places if anyone would like to join us. Please contact David on 01323423058 or 07880 745800 as soon as possible.

 

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