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January 2011


The Art Fund, Past, Present and Future

Mary Yule bravely stepped into the breach to replace our advertised January lecture. She entertained us with an absorbing exploration of the Art Fund, its history, its aims, and the enormous amount of art works it has saved for the nation, either through gifts and bequests made by individuals, or through donating funds to various large or small galleries and museums to help them in their purchases. It is supported by some 80,000 members and makes millions of pounds in grants to prevent paintings and artifacts considered part of our cultural heritage being exported abroad. She showed us slides of some of the treasures now in the major English and Scottish museums, thanks to the Art Fund, including the recent find of the Anglo Saxon Staffordshire hoard. These two illustrations are examples of works saved by Art Fund support.

Leonardo Da Vinci
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
and Saint John the Baptist
Diego Velázquez
The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus')


Looking after your pennies

In spite of what the old adage says, the pounds do not look after themselves. We are desperately looking for a volunteer to act as our Treasurer and join our committee. Dr Pat Stuart has been valiantly keeping an eye on things since David Wines stepped down, but would like to hand over to someone more qualified as soon as possible. If you are an accountant, or have held a similar position for another charitable organisation, please help us out and contact our Chairman Judith Virgo in person or by email at Her telephone number is 01603 454578. Your Society needs you!

Membership renewals

The letter inviting you to renew your membership will be sent out in March together with our new form asking you to complete a direct debit instead of payment by cheque. This will save our Membership Secretary and our Treasurer a considerable amount of work in dealing with a large number of cheques to pay in, together with the ensuing record keeping, and we are confident that it will prove convenient for members as well.

The early bird catches the Lecture

From the beginning of our new lecture year in May we will be starting our lectures at 7p.m. instead of 7.15p.m. This is to ensure that – if lecturers have to get the London train – there will still be time for questions, and that a volunteer will not have to emulate a grand prix driver in order to get them to the station in time. This new start time will be printed on the new membership and programme card, and there will be other reminders, but please make a mental note of this change. We would like to avoid members missing part of the lecture, and the disturbance to the lecturer if they have arrived after the start! Many thanks.

Keep in touch

Don’t forget that if you change your email address there is a facility on our website on the Contact Us page, to inform us quickly and easily. For next year’s Visits and Events we will be sending out our information sheets in pdf format to all email-enabled members, which is now the vast majority. We don’t want you to miss out on information and postal mailings will be reduced to cover only the small number of members who do not have email.


Please note, the date for the April lecture is Tuesday 19th April and not as printed on your programme card.

February Lecture – “Banks, Burgundy and Piracy”

The Rt. Revd. Dr. Christopher Herbert will explore what has sometimes been called the Northern Renaissance: that flowering of art in Bruges in the 15th century.

Jan van Eyck, Madonna and Child
with Saints and Canon Joris van
der Paele

He will examine not only the great artists of that age, such as Van Eyck and Hans Memling, but will set them in their political, cultural and religious context. Dr Herbert recently retired as the Bishop of St Albans and has an international reputation as an authority on Christian art and a PhD from Leicester University. This promises to be a absorbing evening, and we look forward to seeing you there.




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