2017 has been an excellent year for our society. It has been a year of reflection and celebration of the past, about change and very definitely enjoying the present.
The National Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) took the decision to rebrand this year. The purpose was to make its aims clearer to people – members and non-members and to clarify that the society is no longer just a national organisation but is spreading now to encompass a worldwide audience. NADFAS has therefore become The Arts Society.
Henley as part of NADFAS has therefore become The Arts Society Henley. Other than a change of name and logo, locally our society will remain largely unchanged. Hopefully its members will continue to enjoy all the high quality lectures, study days, day visits and holidays that we have all come to expect and experience.
Also in 2017 The Arts Society Henley celebrated 40 years of Henley Decorative and Fine Arts Society. HEDFAS is the second largest regional society in the UK, with over 650 members. A branch of the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), which has over 98,000 members nationwide, HEDFAS was founded in 1976 by Francoise White and held its first lecture in January 1977. The group continues to grow, holding 10 lectures per year in the grand location of Phyllis Court’s Ballroom.
2017 has been a very eventful year for our society. At the AGM in April we were joined by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Lord and Lady Camoys, June Robinson and others from NADFAS and many of past HEDFAS Chairmen. We were treated to an exceptionally good lecture by John Benjamin on The Life of Goldsmith, Henry Murphy. There was a comprehensive display of photographs showing HEDFAS events through the past 40 years and a beautiful banner decorated by our local young artists depicted a Henley scene. Having watched The Lady Camoys cutting a celebratory cake, members received a gift of chocolates.
A particular highlight of the year was on Tuesday, 20 June when HEDFAS marked it’s 40th anniversary with a celebratory afternoon tea at Phyllis Court Club hosted by Dr Loyd Grossman. Over 150 members of the society enjoyed tea and scones in the Finlay Suite as they were entertained by Dr Grossman in conversation with Alvi Shaw, a HEDFAS committee member and former chairman.
Loyd Grossman, President of NADFAS , was highly complimentary of the society, stressing its value. “It’s a huge force for good in encouraging people to develop an interest in the arts,” he expressed. “[The members] are fuelled by real love and enthusiasm.” The guests at the event were enthralled by tales of Dr Grossman’s remarkable life, from his work as a TV personality and acclaimed gastronome, to his passion for history, heritage and the arts.
Anne Balgarnie, Chairman of HEDFAS, said, “The 40th Anniversary Tea was a wonderful occasion for our members who enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea in a perfectly air-conditioned room. It was an absolute delight to listen to Loyd Grossman, President of NADFAS, and hear all about his life from studying at UCL to performing at Glastonbury!”
With scrumptious food and splendid company, the 40th Anniversary Tea was a perfect way to honour the success of HEDFAS.