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Talks 2021
2022 Talks
Talks Programme for Arts Society Woking 2022 
Click here to view our Talks programme for 2022

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The Arts Society Woking Talks Programme 2022

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
Our new venue is 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.

Tuesday January 11th 2022

Talk: Clara, Rhino Superstar and Wonder of the Grand Tour

Brought up as a house pet by a Director of the Dutch East India Company in India, from a young age, a rhinoceros called “Clara” was shipped to Holland in 1741 and spent nearly 20 years touring Europe as one of the wonders of the age. She visited all the major Courts of Europe including that of King Louis XV of France. She died in London in 1758. Clara has been recorded in paintings, prints porcelain, bronze, clocks and even hair styles. This talk explores the charming story of this magnificent beast, only the third or fourth rhino to be seen in Europe, through contemporary records and works of art.
Speaker: Clive Stewart-Lockhart
Clive studied on the Sotheby's Works of Art course and has now been working in the fine art world for 40 years. He is Managing Director of Woolley and Wallis, the UK's leading regional auctioneers in Salisbury and has been a specialist on the BBC Antiques Roadshow for over 20 years. Has also talkd on cruise ships as well as for many other groups, and recently published a major article in the Journal of the Decorative Arts Society on Betty Joel.

Tuesday February 8th 2022

Talk: Agatha Christie, Queen of Crime

Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s greatest crime writer; her books sell over four million copies worldwide every year and there is a continual demand for new adaptations to be made of her work. She led a sheltered and privileged life in her native Torquay which was not dissimilar to the characters she invented. She was brought up in the comfort of upper middle-class society and she too had mystery in her life. To find out more about this remarkable author who created Poirot and Miss Marple book this biographical talk. It will surprise and enlighten you about how she developed her talent for writing having never attended a proper school
Talk - Agatha Christie - Normandy Guildford Surrey 
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)
Portrait photograph by Professor John Hedgecoe in 1969
Speaker: Jane Tapley
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 and 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.

Tuesday March 8th 2022

Talk: The Artists of Montmartre: Pilgrims of Babylon

There is no name more evocative of Bohemian life: of high spirits, decadence, poverty, and revolutionary art in Paris, than Montmartre. In reality it was little more than a rundown suburb overlooking the city, bristling with windmills. But the garden cafes, the dancehalls and cabarets, and the ramshackle studios that spilled down the hillside of Montmartre would become the inspiration and home to some of France’s greatest artists.

From the Moulin de la Galette where Renoir painted Parisian’s dancing in the afternoon sunlight, to Toulouse Lautrec’s vivid images of the Moulin Rouge, the smoke filled cabaret where the can-can was danced to Offenbach’s music, to the shabby garrets of the Bateau Lavoir where a group of artists headed by Picasso would paint canvases that would shake the foundations of Western art, this lecture charts the course of this extraordinary artistic life.
Woking Arts Society talk at Normandy Village Hall 
“The Spirit of Montmartre”
By Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
Speaker: Douglas Skeggs
Douglas read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980. In that time he has given over 8000 lectures to universities, colleges and art societies. He was the director of The New Academy of Art Studies for three years and is presently a regular lecturer at The Study Centre, Christie's course 'The History of Art Studies' and other London courses. Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, MI5 headquarters, the Captain's Room at Lloyds, and an aircraft hangar in a German NATO base. Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and has taken numerous tours around Europe.

He has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on Whistler and the exhibition video on William Morris. Three one-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland. He has published five novels, which have been translated into 8 foreign languages, and his book on Monet, River of Light, has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France

Tuesday April 12th 2022

Talk: Katherine de Medici: Poor Queen: The Story of Three in a Marriage

This is the story of this unfortunate young woman who left Florence to be Queen of France, and the unhappy life that
followed. She was a brave woman, who suffered every indignity at the French Court, but survived all her enemies.
Talk in Normandy Guildford by Carol Rayman 
Wedding of Catherine de Medici and Henry, Duke of Orléans
Painted byJacopo da Empoli
Speaker: Carol Rayman
Carol has lectured for many years to universities and art organisations in America and on cruise boats. She was an official guide at the British Museum and has published articles on samplers. Her lectures range from the role of the royal mistress in history to more scholarly lectures on Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Tuesday May 10th 2022

Talk: Marathon !

One of the world’s most popular athletic events commemorates Pheidippides’s epic run from the battlefield of Marathon to his native Athens. Apart from the amazing courage of Pheidippides, why remember a battle that took place over two and a half thousand years ago? Since the 19th century, historians have argued that it was a crucial event, one that had decided ‘the whole future of human civilisation’. As John Stuart Mill put it, ‘the Battle of Marathon, even as an event in English history, is more important than the Battle of Hastings’. Rupert re-creates the background and the battle itself in thrilling detail. He looks at the various ways in which ancient Athens has influenced our art and culture, and argues that Marathon was, indeed, the battle that saved ‘Western Civilisation’. Eye-opening, edge-of-your-seat stuff.
Talk in Normandy Guildford by speaker Rupert Willoughby for The Arts Society Woking
Pheidippides as he gave word of the Greek victory over Persia at the Battle of Marathon to the people of Athens
Luc-Olivier Merson (1869)
Speaker: Rupert Willoughby
Rupert Willoughby is an historian and Classicist, a poet, a father and a wild swimmer with a passion for castles, lakes and uncovering the layers of the past. A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London (where he immersed himself in the ‘Byzantine’, or medieval Greek Empire), he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin, and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village, and the whimsical, yet scholarly Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture. Rupert also contributes regular obituaries to The Daily Telegraph. Accredited to the Arts Society since 2011, he is an experienced lecturer, who is known for his light, humorous touch, his love of narrative and his vivid evocations of the past. Rupert’s forefathers were Vikings and his foremothers were Tatar

Tuesday June 14th 2022

Talk: The Making of Landscape Photographs

A fully illustrated talk with an excess of 60 images exploring the relationship between the making of an image and the way
in which it is perceived by the viewer. Further discussion around the eye and the brain being an extraordinary double act
made up of visual references and intellectual interpretation.
Landscape photograph by Charlie Waite - Speaker at Arts Society Woking talk in Normandy Guildford 
Landscape photograph by Charlie Waite
Speaker: Charlie Waite
One of the world's leading landscape photographers, he has lectured for 25 years throughout the UK, Europe and the US.
Has held numerous one-man exhibitions in London, exhibited twice in Tokyo, and was awarded the prestigious honorary Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photographers, as well as a Direct Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society. In 2007, he launched LPOTY - UK Landscape Photographer of the Year. Amongst many publications, the most recent includes Landscape; the Story of 50 Photographs (2005), and Arc & Line (2011). He was invited by the Royal Academy to exhibit in 2015's summer exhibition.

July 2022

No Talk (Summer break)

August  2022

No Talk (Summer break)

September 13th 2022

Talk: The Era of Everything

Many of us find contemporary art challenging, strange, provocative or downright silly. How are we meant to respond to and appreciate art that so often seems to provoke, to reference its own (sometimes arcane) histories, to shock or confound? This lecture helps to unravel the step changes in art that have taken place since the 1870s, exploring how we got from Impressionist paintings of light-dappled rivers that sought to reflect the realities of modern life in all its fleeting beauty to the interactive, immersive, ephemeral and ‘post-medium’ art of today. In a world where anything now goes, how we might learn to look and confidently assess the latest developments in art? This is a highly informed but entirely approachable guide to the very best in contemporary art, giving you the tools to appreciate, critique and judge today’s art for yourself.
Talk by Jacky Klein - art historian publisher writer and broadcaster
Ai WeiWei, Sunflower Seeds, 2010
Tate Modern, London
Speaker: Jacky Klein  
Jacky Klein is an art historian, publisher, writer and broadcaster, specialising in modern and contemporary art. After studying at Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she worked as a curator at a number of leading galleries: Tate, the Barbican, the Courtauld and the Hayward. In 2008. She is the author of a bestselling book on British artist Grayson Perry (Thames & Hudson, 3rd edition 2020) and co-author of a number of other titles.

Jacky has presented and contributed to a range of television programmes for the BBC and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's arts review programme, Front Row. She has appeared on Channel 5, the Travel Channel and Bloomberg TV, and has written and presented a number of online films and livestreams for Tate, Christie's, HENI Talks and the Art Fund.

Tuesday October 11th 2022

Talk: Coffee from Arabia to the Coffee House. The Art and History of Coffee Drinking

Long before cappuccinos and skinny lattes, all the world’s coffee traded through the tiny port of Mokha in Yemen.
Popularised in Constantinople, Vienna and Amsterdam, the first English coffee house opened in the 1650’s and by 1700 there were 500 in London alone. Beginning as ‘sobering meeting places’ they were frequented by artists, authors and politicians where the debating of literary and political ideas was encouraged, as seen in early prints and lithographs. The marketing of coffee went through distinctive art nouveau and art deco periods and we see it included in works of the major French Impressionist
Woking Arts Society - The Art and History of Coffee Drinking
An 18th century Coffee House in Fleet Street
Speaker: Christopher Bradley
Expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. As a professional tour guide and lecturer he has led groups throughout the Middle East and Asia. Has written extensively on Arabia and is the author of The Discovery Guide to Yemen, Insight Guide to the Silk Road and Berlitz Guides to Libya; The Red Sea; Oman; Cairo; Abu Dhabi and Nile Cruising.
As a photographer has pictures represented by four photographic libraries. A broad range of lecturing experience, including to the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Institute of British Architects. As a film producer and cameraman he has made documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic TV and Channel 4.

Tuesday November 8th 2022

Talk: The Art of Ceremonial Music

The UK provides some of the biggest Ceremonial Events in the world and arguably the best in the world but why is that?
How do the military prepare for major events such as State Opening of Parliament, State Visits, National day of Remembrance, Royal Weddings or even a State Funeral?
The Art of Ceremonial Music talk at Normandy Guildford Surrey
Trooping the Colour
Speaker: Graham Jones
Dr Graham Jones started his professional life as a musician in the British Army and over a glittering career spanning nearly forty years he retired as the Senior Director of Music, Household Division and Director of Music, Coldstream Guards a position unequalled throughout military music in Great Britain. During his illustrious career he has recorded over 40 albums and been responsible for the largest commissioning programme of wind band music in recent history commissioning over 30 new works for wind band. He pioneered a music education programme with the University of Salford for military musicians resulting in a new Master of Music in performance degree. Graham was made a Member of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace for outstanding service to military music in 1993.
Having retired, at the start of 2012, from military service Graham is enjoying a second career as a guest conductor, adjudicator, guest speaker, lecturer, clinician, recording consultant and educator. He is also the Artist Director of London International Band Week, music consultant to Henley Music Festival, resident conductor of the British Imperial Orchestra, visiting conductor in residence at Troy University, Alabama, USA and guest lecturer on cruise ships.

Tuesday December 13th 2022

Talk: A Right Royal Christmas. How the Royals celebrated Christmas from William the Conqueror to the Present Day

Our royal families have celebrated Christmas throughout their long history, from William the Conqueror making sure of his claim to the English throne by being crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. Feasting on a spectacular scale characterised medieval Christmases – we read of extraordinary culinary delicacies served to Henry II, crane’s flesh, peacocks and herons. Present-giving always marked the season, from the extravagant – the City of London presented Richard II with a camel and a pelican – to the witty – Mrs. Thatcher sent the Queen a pair of yellow washing-up gloves having seen Her Majesty doing the dishes without any. The Royal Christmas Broadcast is now an established part of our celebrations and we shall hear extracts from George V’s, George VI’s and our present Queen’s addresses.
This lecture explores these Royal traditions, many of which we have adopted as a necessary part of our own celebrations.
How the Royals celebrated Christmas from William the Conqueror to the Present Day Queen Elizabeth
2019 Christmas message  
Speaker: Roger Askew
Roger was a chorister at Wells Cathedral School and a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with an honours degree in English. He combined a teaching career with professional singing in London, and after obtaining a further degree in Music became Director of Music at Daniel Stewart’s and Melville College in Edinburgh.
After retiring in 2003 he returned to the south of England. He is President Emeritus of The Stoke Poges Society and Joint Chairman of the Arts Society Windsor.

Prior Year's Talks
To see the activities in previous years, click on the year; 2021 / 2020 / 2019 20182017 20162015 2014 20132012 2011 2010
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