You are here > Home > Newsletter > April 2011


Veronica Veronese
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

April 2011


Lillie Langtry by Sir Edward Poynter

The obelisk from Philae at Kingston Lacy

Art for Arts’ Sake

This was the basic tenet of the Aesthetic movement. Anne Anderson gave us an enjoyable and instructive introduction in her lecture Aestheticism: Beauty in Art and Design. Those who have booked our visit on Thursday 5th May to The Aesthetic Movement 1860–1900 at the Victoria and Albert Museum will have had their appetite whetted for that occasion. Anne talked about the cult of beauty that developed in the late 19th century – the main originators being Whistler and Rossetti, and the movement’s main critic being Ruskin. This developed into a cult of personality with an emphasis on androgyny, which challenged Victorian notions both of femininity and masculinity. Its followers were full of self love, and were heavily satirised in the cartoons of the day. The movement lead eventually into the decadence of Aubrey Beardsley – where ugliness and evil were portrayed beneath a veneer of beauty. The scandalous trial of Oscar Wilde, who had made the movement his own, at the Old Bailey in 1895 brought the Aesthetic movement to its end.

Membership renewals

If you have not already done so, you are invited to renew your membership to our Society as soon as possible; we look forward to welcoming you to a lecture programme that promises to cover a variety of subjects, presented by lecturers old and new. If you are late in renewing you may miss out on ………
Our May lecture………
………which will be the first of our year. This will be a fascinating exploration of the eccentric William Bankes, who converted Kingston Lacy into the house we see today. He was a member of parliament, a lifelong friend of Lord Byron and had a passion for ancient Egypt and fine art. During the Peninsular War, Bankes served as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington; all in all he had an extraordinary and adventurous life that ended sadly in scandal. Because of this, it has only been recently acknowledged that his work on ancient Egyptian monuments is vastly important.

Report on the Annual Directory Meeting, from your Programme Secretary

At the end of March, Naomi Milne and I attended our third Annual Directory meeting at Kensington Town Hall in London. This is the annual event where hundreds of NADFAS programme secretaries from all over Britain go to meet both new and established lecturers. In the morning 26 lecturers new to NADFAS gave two-minute presentations in the main auditorium. Even in such a short time it is possible to pick out a lecturer with enthusiasm, style and a good voice, as well as interesting subject matter.

The afternoon is a chance to make contact with any of over 150 lecturers who are advertising their lectures. It can be quite a cattle market! We had made a plan of who we were most interested in discussing a possible visit to Norwich DFAS and provisional bookings can be made at that time. It was a very productive but exhausting day and we feel that we are drawing up a good programme for you for 2012/13.
Liz Pierce

Our charitable gift for the year

If you would like to read a report of the charitable donation we made during the year 2010/2011 please go to “What we do” on our website and click on arts activities for young people in the third paragraph. The committee are presently discussing plans to support a project in the year 2011/2012; the aim is to benefit young people who would not normally have access to arts activities to enjoy an arts event that is both fun and educational. More details will be published in due course.

Don’t forget

At the beginning of our new year in May lectures will start promptly at 7.00pm to give the lecturer time to answer questions; we hope that this will please members who have felt disappointed in the past by the lecturer having to dash off to catch the train!

What’s on and where?

One of our members suggested a mention of what’s on at local and London galleries and museums might be useful (thank you, Peter). So here is a selection
(check details on their individual websites) –
Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich
Restless Times: Art in Britain 1914–1945, until 25 April 2011
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Basketry: Making Human Nature, until 22 May 2011
The Courtauld Gallery
Life, Legend, Landscape: Victorian Drawings and Watercolours, until 15 May 2011
National Gallery, London
Jan Gossaert's Renaissance, until 30 May 2011
An American Experiment: George Bellows and The Ashcan Painters, until 30 May 2011
Royal Academy London
Watteau: The Drawings, until 5 June 2011
The Wallace Collection
Esprit et Vérité: Watteau and His Circle, until 5th June 2011
National Portrait Gallery, London
Camden Town and Beyond (Robert Bevan, Harold Gilman, Spencer Gore and Walter Sickert), until 31 August 2011
British Museum, London
Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World, until 3 July 2011
Tate Britain, London
Romantics, until 31 July 2011
Watercolour, until 21 August 2011          
Tate Modern, London
Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, until 11 September 2011
Imperial War Museum
Women War Artists, until 8 January 2012


Any comments or queries about the contents of this Newsletter, or suggestions for future items, please email