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Talks 2022
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The Arts Society Woking, Talks Programme 2021

All Speakers are carefully chosen based on their reputation for attractive and well-presented talks with good pictures.
Our talks are held on the second Tuesday of the month except July and August (when many members are on vacation).
They start promptly at 10.30 am but doors open 9.45 am for tea and coffee
From October 2021, they will be at our new venue, Normandy Village Hall.
Address: Manor Fruit Farm, Glaziers Lane, Normandy, Guildford Surrey GU3 2DT
Members may bring a visitor, but the same person may not be a guest more than twice a year. While we do not charge a Visitors fee, Visitors may want to make a donation to the Society of (say) £5.
See our current year programme below or click here to view our talks for 2022

January 13th 2021

Talk: Coloured Sculpture: What’s All the Fuss About?

Throughout most of the nineteenth century, it was considered almost a crime for Sculptors to apply colour to a statue. Such practices, it was thought, defied the dominant aesthetic of neoclassical statuary — the pure, undifferentiated, classical white marble body inherited from ancient Greece. Gradually, through the centuries, the conservative stranglehold loosened and various forms of coloured sculpture began to catch on. Coming to the present day, Tom Flynn has written books about Sean Henry's coloured statues.

Sean (whose Mother, Rosalind Henry, was a Member of The Arts Society Woking) has won a broad international reputation as one of the most talented British artists of his generation. This talk investigates the fascinating controversy about the use of colour in statues over time and asks what all the fuss was about.
woking statue of woman in shopping mall
Speaker: Tom Flynn
Tom is a UK-based art historian, writer and art consultant. He holds a BA Honours degree (First Class) in Art History from the University of Sussex, a Masters in Design History from the Royal College of Art and a doctorate from the University of Sussex. His interests include contemporary art, sculpture history, museology and the history of museums, art crime, issues in cultural heritage and the historical development and professional practice of the European art markets.

February 10th 2021

Talk: Pleasure, Sin and Men with Fish Heads: The fantastical works of Hieronymus Bosch

Was Bosch hallucinating from too much ergot-infected wheat when he created his works over 500 years ago?

Monsters and morals, pleasure and sin, heaven, and hell; the strange works of Hieronymus Bosch are considered an anomaly in the history of art. They are filled with grotesque images of fantastical creatures surrendering to lust, desire, fantasy, and angst.

His most famous work, the triptych ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, illustrates the danger of giving in to temptation. It includes a highly inventive hell scene that is still regularly censored today!

This talk looks at arguably the most enigmatic figure in art history, and the fantastical and strange works he created
Lecture at Arts Society Woking Surreey - February 2021
By Hieronymus Bosch
Speaker: Stella Lyons
‘Without sacrificing scholarship, Stella Lyons has a most engaging way of hooking an audience into sharing her passionate interest in art history, drawing three dimensional human stories and experiences from the two-dimensional canvas’ – Maeve Kennedy, writer and Arts correspondent for The Guardian

Stella Grace Lyons is a freelance Art History speaker, speaker and writer accredited with The Arts Society who has talkd worldwide.

March 10th 2021

Talk:  Restoration Theatre -  Rakes, Fops and Wenches

The return of Charles II led to the re-opening of theatres after the 18 year closure of public playhouses under the Commonwealth Government. The new theatres saw the first actress on the stage replacing the cross-dressing males. Great actors and lively audiences in Restoration Theatre brought the morals of the court onto the stage in its comedies of city life and an era of great playwriting was unleashed.
Speaker: Malcolm Jones
Malcolm studied at University of London, King’s College London and RADA. He has worked as an actor, director and teacher and backstage at the Royal Opera House. He was Workshop and Events Manager at the V&A Theatre Museum in London for 10 years. Since 2009 he has talkd on the V&A Short Course and Year Course Programme on Theatre and has also worked on the Art and Expression Programme. He has taught at Rose Bruford College, Mountview Theatre School, The Actors Centre and RADA.

He has written material for The National Theatre Education Department and contributed as a speaker on theatre to many television programmes while working at the Theatre Museum. He talks for Road Scholar USA, for Theatre groups visiting London and he has talkd in America.

April 14th 2021

Talk: Vincent van Gogh – Madman or Genius?

There has never been fascination in an artist to rival the Dutchman who simply signed his work 'Vincent'. We are all aware of the recent exhibitions and the remarkable prices realised for this humble artist's work. Most of us appreciate the beauty of his efforts but how much do we know about the man himself? This talk considers exactly why, despite never selling a painting and his committing suicide in poverty, no art historian today denies his genius. There are extraordinary, little known facts to be revealed, while enjoying the remarkable range of his talent. Though seeming so extreme and exceptional, the tragic story of his loveless life is deeply moving, and his humanity makes a lasting impression.
Vincent Lecture - Woking Arts Society 
Speaker: Anthony Russell
Anthony has travelled the world, combining painting with tour lecturing - principally to American university students on bespoke tours. Now based in London, he spends much of his time lecturing and undertaking research, while assisting at the British Museum with outreach events and visiting speakers. As an advocate of non-violence, he is the author of the book Evolving the Spirit - From Democracy to Peace, commended by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Laureate, as meaning a great deal to her.

May 12th 2021

Talk: Medieval Castles: An Alternative view.

This talk offers a little-regarded alternative viewpoint of life in English medieval castles: that of the ordinary folk. Using archaeological evidence gleaned from historic building survey, contemporary literature, artistic representations, graffiti, and architectural history this talk presents the story of the masons, carpenters, cooks, clerks, servants, stable-hands, and lower status visitors to great castles. Instead of studying towers, gatehouses, and great halls here we delve into the kitchens, stables, staircases, cellars, and garderobes to uncover evidence of the non-elite response to elite buildings.  
Medieval Castles Lecture - Woking Arts Society 
Painted by Gerard Horenbout (1465 – 1541)
Speaker: James Wright
James is a buildings archaeologist from Triskele Heritage, based in Nottingham. With over twenty years of professional experience, he has published several books and articles concentrating on mediaeval and early modern architecture. James is interested in how we can use the evidence of physical structures to understand the realities of the everyday existence of ordinary people living in elite buildings

He has spoken to a wide variety of organisations including Historic Royal Palaces, the National Trust, Gresham College, Shakespeare400 and the Museum of London. Lecturing is his favourite part of his job as he passionately believes that there is simply no point in carrying out research unless you actually tell folk what you have been doing! .

June 9th 2021

Talk: The Subtle Science and Exact Art of Colour in English Garden Design – why gardening can rank as a fine art.

In 1888 Gertrude Jekyll wrote a short but seminal article in The Garden in which she urged the readers to “remember that in a garden we are painting a picture”. As an accomplished watercolour artist, Miss Jekyll was familiar with the principles of using colours, but she felt that in gardens these principles “had been greatly neglected”. This talk looks at how to apply these principles in designing a border, but it also looks at the ways in which a border is different from a painting. However, it goes further than this and looks at how contemporary work of the likes of Turner, Monet, Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Hockney evolved in parallel with ideas about what a garden or border should look like.  
Garden lecture - Woking Arts Society 
“GARDEN” by David Hockney  
Speaker: Timothy Walker
Since 1986 Timothy has given 1,500 public talks as part of his work as Director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden from 1988 to 2014. Botanic gardens are often described as living museums, and garden curators talk about them in the same way as museum curators talk about their collections. Since 2014 he has been a college speaker and tutor at Somerville College Oxford. Gardens are often thought of a place where science and art meet on equal terms and his talks investigate this relationship. 

July 2021

No Talk (Summer break)

August  2021

No Talk (Summer break)

Tuesday September 7th 2021 - This Talk will be on Zoom only

Talk: Albrecht Dürer’s visit to the Netherlands in 1520/1521

Albrecht Dürer’s pension was suspended after the death of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian, and so he made the journey in July 1520 from Nuremberg to the Netherlands to seek the patronage and re-instatement of his pension from the new Emperor Charles V. This took him a year to achieve and a lot happened in that time. He moved in court circles where he and his work were much admired.

Dürer continued working on his woodcuts. He transformed woodblock printing through the use of fine, graceful lines, intricate details, and subtle graduations which made him famous throughout Europe. He also continued painting creating, in particular, some brilliant portraits two of which are illustrated here.

In his quest to discover the truth in all things he became a supporter of Martin Luther and when his doctrines were making him enemies he wrote a letter asking that “Luther should be protected for the sake of Christian truth as this is of more importance to us than all the power and riches of the world because all things pass away with time, truth alone endures forever.”
1520 Distemper on canvas. “Portrait of a man”   1521 Oil on oak. “Portrait of a man with beret and scroll”
Speaker: Clare Ford-Wille  
Clare has an Honours degree in History of Art, Birkbeck College, University of London and her regular commitments include the Centre for Lifelong Learning, London University, National Gallery, V&A Museum, WEA, Morley College, the City Literary Institute, the Art Fund and National Trust. Study tours abroad.

Tuesday October 12th 2021 - The first meeting at Normandy Hall

Talk: Banksy – Fraud or Genius

The talk will trace the story of Banksy’s humble beginnings as a tagger on the streets of Bristol in the 1980’s to one of the most recognisable names in the art world. We will examine the reasons behind his incredible rise, looking at some of his famous stunts and discuss what his influence has been on the art market today and look at what his legacy, if any, might be.
Banksy Art - Woking Talk 
Banksy graffiti in Palestine
Speaker: Pepe Martinez
Pepe qualified as a London blue badge tourist guide in 2011, graduating at the top of his class. Since qualifying as a guide he has specialised in the graffiti and street art of East London. Before becoming a London blue badge he was a tour manager for 15 years, travelling extensively, all over the world.

Pepe can organise and arrange talk facilities in central London. He can also combine a talk with a walk about street art and graffiti in the East End and can also organise a practical spray session, giving your group an opportunity to have a go at creating their own works.

Tuesday November 9th 2021 - at Normandy Hall

Talk: A brief history of wine

Wine has been part of our global society for over 7,000 years, and the talk tells of its origin and appearance in all societies across the Mediterranean and through Europe. There is rich evidence of the role wine has played in these societies and how it became an important component of faith, well-being, and festivity. From the kwevris of Georgia in 5,000 B.C., the symposia in ancient Greece, the thermopolia of Pompeii, the hospices of Europe, to the dining tables of fine society wine has been ever present. Drawings, paintings, engravings, buildings, pottery, and wine labels themselves all contribute to the story.  
Wine history lecture - Woking Surrey Arts Society 
Discovered recently, this thermopolia was a fast-food stand meant for the lower-class Pompeiians
who didn't have cooking tools or amenities of their own to eat, drink, and socialize.
Speaker: David Wright
David has been a wine retailer, importer, and distributor for 30 years. In that time, he has publicly presented tastings and talks on wine to trade and private audiences. These have taken the form of wine ‘tastings’ or charity events where a particular subject is presented, and wines tasted. He has developed a talk, A Brief Story of Wine, a great subject, and full of rich evidence, going back 7,000 years, in the form of paintings, decorated drinking vessels, buildings and literature that contribute to the story. 

Tuesday December 14th 2021 - at Normandy Hall

Talk: Joseph of Nazareth: Best Supporting Actor

The figure of Mary’s husband Joseph is familiar from Christmas cards, carols, cribs, and nativity plays, yet in the Bible he never speaks a word. It took many centuries for the quiet carpenter to emerge from humble obscurity and for artists to make his image visible. This talk explores the many legends and faces of Joseph through the ages, from wizened old man to powerful guardian. Come and discover the hidden depths in that simple bearded figure on your Christmas cards; but please remember that although this talk may be particularly appropriate for December meetings, Joseph is for life, not just for Christmas. 
Joseph and Mary Christmas Lecture - Woking Arts Society  Joseph & Mary travelling to Bethlehem  
Speaker: Amina Wright
Amina Wright is a curator of historic art collections and exhibitions. She has produced several major exhibitions on eighteenth-century British Art and Old Masters and published and talkd widely in these areas. At the Holburne Museum in Bath she was a key member of the team that delivered the museum’s successful redevelopment and has also worked as a collections and interiors curator for English Heritage and for the National Trust, among others. Amina has recently been awarded an MA in Christianity & the Arts at King's College London and is now Senior Curator for the Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. 

Prior Year's Talks
To see the activities in previous years, click on the year; 2020 / 2019 20182017 20162015 2014 20132012 2011 2010
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