• Henley DFAS

Welcome to The Arts Society Henley

                                                                     The Arts Society, Henley
The Chairman, Robert Gurney, Vice Chairman Monnik Vleugels, and Committee of The Arts Society, Henley, are committed to offer every one of our members an exciting selection of Lectures, Special Interest Days and Day Visits for all to enjoy.  As we cannot meet face to face for the time being, we shall bring them to you through the magic of Zoom, with wonderful virtual live Lectures and Special Interest Days, with live questions to follow. A variety of fascinating virtual Day Visits will be hosted by the most outstanding guides, hand picked and recommended by other Societies. 
To get a flavour of what we do, here is our September newsletter:

        The Arts Society Henley                                                                                                
September 2021

        President: Lady Camoys                                                                  
        Registered Charity No. 289323




Dear Members,

Welcome to our newsletter for September, heralding days of soft sunshine and beautiful autumnal colours. Let us hope it really is the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", to quote John Keats. (Click here  to remind yourself of the poem!).

Katerina Burgess, our Chairman, has decided to retire after several very successful months in office. Her leadership skills were invaluable to all the Committee during the dark months of lockdown and her inspiration and encouragement were much appreciated by us all. We owe her a sincere debt of gratitude for all she did for TASH. Thank you, Katerina.
Professor Robert Gurney, OBE, has most kindly stepped into the Chair.   Robert has been our Vice-Chairman since November 2020, having previously been a member of the TASH Committee organising Special Interest Days.  He is Professor of Earth Observation Science in the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, and for many years was Director of the Earth System Science Centre there.  He was previously Head of the Hydrological Sciences Branch at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Maryland.  He has a first degree from King's College London and a PhD from the University of Bristol.  
Of utmost importance, may I remind everyone that our lecture on Thursday 16th September at 10.45am and repeated in the afternoon at 2.15pm will take place live in the Ballroom at Phyllis Court.  On this occasion there will be no simultaneous broadcast on Zoom.
We would like to reassure you all that every member of the Committee has had two Covid vaccinations. It is expected that every member of the audience will also have had two vaccinations. If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, please ensure you have taken a Covid test within the preceding 24 hours.  It goes almost without saying that you should not attend if you are displaying any positive Covid symptoms. Wearing a mask is voluntary. We are sure you will understand that we need to ensure maximum safety for all. Chairs in the Ballroom will be placed some inches apart and there will be ample ventilation in the room.  
Coffee will be served in the new conservatory at the back of the Ballroom prior to the morning lecture.

Please note that this month's lecture is entitled 'Ghastly Good Taste - The Highs and Lows of British Interior Design', given by Matthew Williams.  This is different from that published in the calendar.  Unfortunately, Ian Keable, who was to have delivered the original lecture, was unable to fulfil the commitment. See more details of the new lecture further down. 

The Committee has planned a mix of in-person and on-line events at least until Christmas. Do scroll down to the next section to see them all.
What a superb start to the month we had, with a wonderful party on Wednesday 1st September to welcome back our members face to face, after months and months of events held online.
We were delighted that over 70 members attended the party and judging by the smiling faces, enthusiasm and crescendo of chatter everywhere we, the Committee, cautiously deemed the party a wholehearted success.
Our chosen venue, Badgemore Golf Club, was ideal for the event.  There were hanging baskets filled with flowers everywhere to greet us on arrival, a lovely light and airy room set aside especially for us, and a delicious tea served by charming, conscientious waiting staff.
It certainly was an afternoon to remember.  We were particularly pleased that so many attended. Please click here if you would like to see more pictures of the party.
Now some preliminary details about our forthcoming Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 3rd November 2021, to be held in the Town Hall, Henley at 10.30am (please note earlier start time).      
Firstly, we are delighted and proud to welcome Emma Leahy to our AGM. Emma was the final year student at the University of Reading Art Department who won the first prize, awarded by TASH, in June, for producing the best proposal as to how she would establish herself after graduation.  Click here to see a picture of Emma and an example of her work.  Emma will show some of her work and give a short talk, in addition to the regular talk after the formal AGM (Psychology of a City: The Architecture of St Petersburg, given by Rosamund Bartlett).
In line with the Constitution, members are advised that if they would like to introduce a resolution at the Annual General Meeting on 3rd November, they must forward the resolution in writing to the Secretary at least 35 days prior to the holding of the Meeting.  Therefore any proposed resolutions need to be forwarded to Monnik Vleugels at the latest by 29th September.
Any such resolution shall have been duly seconded and shall be included in the agenda with the names of the proposer and the seconder.

Contact details : monnik.vleugels@gmail.com ;
5 Wharfe Lane, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2LL

Our Chairman, Robert, is in charge of Special Interest Days at present but needs to relinquish this post now that he is Chairman. There are three Special Interest Days per year and this really is an interesting and rewarding post. The whole Committee work very closely together and all new Committee Members are given huge support and guidance. Do give Robert a ring on 07828 505 133 or 01189 661 234 if you think you could fill this role. 

In addition, we need a new treasurer!                                

You will recall when Sue Launders left us in the spring to move near to her family in Hampshire, we were fortunate to have Roger Dye take over as an Acting Treasurer.   Roger is the recent Chairman of the Marlow Branch and a bit of an Arts Society ‘veteran’.

Roger has kept the books straight, advised the Committee on a number of matters and will present the 2020/21 financial report at our November 3 AGM.

We need to find Roger’s successor and the best time will be from the AGM with a suitable hand-over process in place.   Roger tells us that financial matters are quite straight forward in our Society and can be picked up quite readily.   You don’t need to be a wiz accountant but an affinity with numbers would be useful!

Is that person YOU?!   Hopefully it might be and you would join a Committee rejuvenated post the Covid closedown to restart a full programme of TASH activities from 16th September onwards.

We think the first step should be a chat with Roger on 01628 477084 to give you the first impression if the role is something you would like to take on.   He is looking forward to your call!

From time to time we are asked, quite rightly, how members' subscriptions are apportioned. Here is some of the regular expenditure. Needless to say, this goes up every year, never down!

Firstly, all societies pay a generous annual Capitation Fee to Head Office equal to £14.00. In return every member receives two splendid magazines, one in the spring, one in the autumn. In addition we are sent virtual lectures every month, as well as individual offers such as discounts on cruises and wine tastings. Head Office also offers immense support and advice on a huge range of subjects to all societies, and this has been particularly invaluable over the last couple of years.

Naturally lecturers command a sizeable fee both online and live. They average around £600 for our two monthly presentations. 
  In normal times there is a considerable fee to be paid for the use of our Lecture and Special Interest Day venue.  Phyllis Court charges around £1,750 for each day we use its excellent facilities for our lectures. There are printing costs for our annual brochure and calendar, as well as some small stationery and postal costs.

We do support many deserving projects, in particular Young Arts. 

 For example, in this somewhat challenging year,  we have supported a variety of primary and secondary schools to allow them to support the arts in a number of ways, as well as funding a Prize for Graduate Ambition at the University of Reading.  There are also Committee members' expenses from time to time, though these are kept to a minimum.  Needless to say Committee members work on an entirely voluntary basis.
With our charitable status, we do rely heavily on Gift Aid, so hopefully all members who pay tax are happy to subscribe to this .... it costs nothing to the individual. If you would like to discuss this with our Acting Treasurer, Roger Dye, please telephone him on 01628 477 084 or 07866 456 909.

Perhaps you will now understand why every penny is precious to us! Bearing all this in mind, we do hope you think that being a member of TASH is good value for money.

On a less serious note, we have a lecture on Thursday 16th September to look forward to and a virtual live walk (online) in Milan on Thursday 30th September.

In addition, the Arts Society Chiltern Hills Area are holding a Special Interest Day on Wednesday 17th November 2021 entitled How to View Art Like an Expert.

There are plans afoot for more live events for next year and these will be put on the website as soon as they are confirmed, as well as in the newsletters.  They will, of course, be subject to any possible new government rules as the year progresses.

Now scroll down for details of everything mentioned above.

Very best wishes

Ginnie Johnston


Thursday 16th September 2021
Lecture at 10.45am repeated 2.15pm
at Phyllis Court

Ghastly Good Taste - The Highs and Lows
of British Interior Design
given by Matthew Williams

Thursday 30th September 2021
Virtual Tour at 10.30am
A Live Virtual Tour of the Best of Milan
escorted by Veronica Azimonti

Wednesday 13th October 2021
Virtual Tour at 3.00pm (please note change of time)
A Live Virtual Tour of Diocletian's Palace in Split
escorted by Kristina

Thursday 21 October 2021
Lecture at 10.45am repeated 2.15pm
at Phyllis Court

Gustav Klimt and Fin de Siècle Vienna Society
given by Colin Pink

Wednesday 3rd November 2021
AGM at 10.30am followed by Lecture 
at The Town Hall, Henley (please note venue)
Psychology of a City:
The Architecture of St Petersburg
given by Rosamund Bartlett 

Thursday 4th November 2021
Virtual Special Interest Day
The Silk Road: Past and Present
given by Suzanne Perrin

Thursday 18th November 2021
Lecture at 10.45am repeated 2.15pm
at Phyllis Court
The Story of the Cook Sisters and
How They Used Opera to Save Lives
given by Anne Sebba 

Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Virtual Tour at 10.30am
A Virtual Live Tour of Ravenna Mosaics Workshop
with Silvia

Wednesday 8th December 2021
Virtual Tour at 4.00pm (please note time)
A live Tour of Stockholm
escorted by Per

An email will be sent to you the day before
each virtual event 
with a link to it.
Our live lecture at Phyllis Court on Thursday 16th September 2021 
at 10.45am and repeated at 2.15pm

Ghastly Good Taste:  The Highs and Lows of
British Interior Design 1880 - 1980
given by Matthew Williams

This lecture looks at the enormous changes in our homes over a hundred year period, encompassing aspects of household taste from Victorian clutter to the psychedelic ‘throw away’ furnishings of the 1970s.
Although in many ways light-hearted, the lecture examines how social upheaval, war and technological advances transformed our homes.

Matthew Williams lectures widely on the subject of design and is especially interested in that of the 19th and 20th centuries.  He has been the Curator of Cardiff Castle since 1990 and has published widely in art and architectural journals. 
A Virtual Live Visit to Milan
on Thursday 30th September 2021 at 10.30am

escorted by Veronica Azimonti

Our tour guide, Veronica, has a Masters Degree in Art History, and will show us the highlights of Milan, starting from its Cathedral, the heart of the city since 1386.

Veronica will explore its mesmerising marble exterior, before walking on to see the incredible architecture of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, often described as the world’s first shopping Mall.
Moving on to Piazza Scala, Veronica will focus particularly of course on the Teatro alla Scala, the world famous opera house, and its history.
An email will be sent to you
the day before the Visit
with a link to it.


with Lynne Gibson
Date  Wednesday 17 November 2021 
Would you like to develop your confidence in looking at Art?
Do you want to discuss your opinions with insight?
Put away your headphones, take your nose out of the catalogue and discover a strategy for looking at Art.  Become an active, rather than a passive, viewer.  It is a tool for life: simple and effective. 

We will put it into practice, through small group work, by looking at a range of paintings, and by discussion and sharing of ideas.  For this reason, numbers present are limited.
This study day is a must for anyone interested in visiting galleries, exhibitions and art museums. 

‘See’ more!  Learn to trust your eyes and enjoy Art to the full.
Venue: The King’s Church, Raans Rd, Amersham HP6 6LX     10.30am - 3.00pm

Cost  £42 .  This includes coffee and sandwich lunch
Open to both The Arts Society members and non-members. 

There will be a follow up SID by Lynne Gibson on 14 January 2022 “Encaustic to Acrylic” for which a separate booking is required.

BOOKING is online with  eventbrite.co.uk   Please click this link:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/what-makes-a-painting-a-work-of-art-tickets-167198444047
 Please also email the following details to Felicity Sykes at acechilternhills@theartssociety.org
 I have booked  ………place(s) for the Special Interest Day 17 November 2021 at £42 per person
Name:   …………………………………….                       Society or contact  ………………………………………………
Email:   …………………………………………    In case of emergency, telephone contact:   ……………………………  
Please let me know if you have any food allergies or intolerances. 
This booking is non-refundable (unless there is a government Covid lockdown on the day).
 For further information contact Felicity Sykes by email acechilternhills@theartssociety.org
by telephone 01296 620830.
To see the original flyer please click here.
Online Lectures from
The Arts Society Head Office
As mentioned in previous newsletters, The Arts Society Head Office in London has compiled a series of fascinating online lectures for all its members across the world. Please click on the following link to see the latest. It is charming, interesting and informative and a pleasure to read. In addition there are special offers on wine tastings and Staysure Insurance.
Contact Number and Email address for
Chairman and Vice Chairman
If you need to contact our Chairman, 
Professor Robert Gurney OBE,
his telephone number is
07828 505 133 and 01189 661 234
and his email address is
If you need to contact our Vice Chairman,
Monnik Vleugels,
her telephone number is
07505 778 405
and her email address is
Copyright  2021 The Arts Society Henley, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you are a member of The Arts Society Henley.

The address for all correspondence is: 
Professor Robert Gurney OBE,
Chairman, The Arts Society Henley
104 Hamilton Road
Reading RG1 5RD



Our Background

The Arts Society Henley (formerly Henley Decorative & Fine Arts Society) was founded in 1976 by Françoise  White, with our first lecture in January 1977.  The membership grew rapidly and now stands at about 626. 

The Arts Society Henley is one of over 385 societies throughout the UK, in mainland Europe and New Zealand as well as 35 societies in Australia as part of the Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Society (ADFAS) with a combined membership of over 98,000 worldwide. 

Before Covid struck, our lectures were held in the Ballroom at Phyllis Court Club in Henley. We shall return to normal at the first opportunuty. When all is back to normal we have a morning lecture starting at 10:45am and the same lecture at 2:15pm on the third Thursday of the month, except July, August and December.  There are 10 lectures each year with two in November, one being at the AGM. We also have three Special Interest Days where we embrace a subject in greater depth.  Four day visits are arranged each year to exhibitions, houses, museums and many other places of interest.  In addition, in normal circumstances we have a short holiday in the British Isles in the spring and in the autumn a holiday abroad, accompanied by expert guides.
Do email your news, views and photographs to Ginnie Johnston (Website and Newsletter), at henley@theartssociety.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
To find out more about The Arts Society world wide, its structure and history, visit theartssociety.org website.
To find out more about becoming a member of The Arts Society Henley, please go to Join Us.



Registered Charity No. 289323                                  Photograph of Henley above by kind permission of photographer Tim Hodges ARPS