• Henley DFAS

Past Special Interest Days

John Constable Thursday 9 March 2017 (Booking on Thursday 19 Jannuary)

Lecturer: Sue Jenkins

Nature and Naturalism - The Suffolk Landscapes and Portraits of Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and Sir Alfred Munnings

This Study Day will mainly explore the landscape of Gainsborough and Constable who were both born in Suffolk, looking at how their upbringing laid the foundation for their subsequent work.  For Gai

Hokusai Thursday 22 June (Booking Thursday 20 April)

Lecturer: Marie-Therese Barrett MA

The Arts of Japan and Europe: Fascinating Parallels and Contrasts throughout History

This survey of Japanese art throughout history, from pre-history to the 19th century, reveals surprising similarities and fascinating contrasts with Western art of the same period.  Japanese approa

Queen Elizabeth Thursday 2 November (Booking 21 September)

Lecturer: Leslie Primo BA MA

Foreigners in London 1520-1677: The Artists that Changed the Course of British Art

This Study Day will look at why foreigners were preferred by the aristocracy in London to native-born painters and why foreigners came in the first place, what was their motivation and what was the

David Phillips Tuesday 13 March (booking Thursday 18 January) Venue: The Finlay Suite, Phyllis Court Club Begins at: 10.30 a.m.

Lecturer: Mr David Phillips

Connoisseurs’ Conundrums – Fine Art Forgery

In this enthralling look at the difficulties facing the professional art historian, David Phillips will take us behind the scenes of the museum world to help us understand the issues and controvers

Mary Alexander Thursday 7 June (booking Thursday 19 April) Venue: The Finlay Suite, Phyllis Court Club Begins at: 10.30 a.m.

Lecturer: Ms Mary Alexander

New York New York – A Virtual Day Trip
 Join us on this much acclaimed ‘time travel’ virtual tour of New York with art historian and Arts Society favourite Mary Alexander.
David Rosier Wednesday 24 October (booking Thursday 20 September) Venue: The Finlay Suite, Phyllis Court Club Begins at: 10.30 a.m.

Lecturer: Mr David Rosier

Chinese Imperial Textiles of the Qing Dynasty 1644-1911

This Study Day promises a feast for the eyes as David takes us through his exploration of the Court Costume and Dress Accessories worn by the Imperial Family.

Chloë Sayer, Thursday 7 March 2019 (booking Thursday 17 January) Venue: The Finlay Suite, Phyllis Court Club Begins at: 10.30 a.m.

Lecturer: Chloë Sayer,

Frida Kahlo: Mexican Art and Culture

Chloë Sayer, who has led tours in Mexico, is the ideal guide to take us through Frida Kahlo’s flamboyant, turbulent life and passion for ancient Mexican culture which was expressed in her costumes

Lars Tharp Thursday 13 June (booking Thursday 18 April) Venue: The Finlay Suite, Phyllis Court Club Begins at: 10.30 a.m.

Lecturer: Lars Tharp

Rags and Riches: London High Life and Low

Lars Tharp’s day will open with “Harlots, Rakes and Crashing China” linking the life and works of William Hogarth to the wider world of ceramics.

Siân Walters Tuesday 12 November (booking Thursday 19 September)

Lecturer: Siân Walters

Raphael and his Rivals

(Please click blue print above for booking instructions). Raphael, one of the world’s great artists, died in 1520 in Rome aged 37 at the height of his artistic career in which he rivalled both established painters such as Michelangelo and younger contemporaries such as Sebastiano del Piombo. 

Acclaimed art historian Sian Walters will mark the forthcoming 500th anniversary by tracing Raphael's extraordinary development from modest commissions in his home town of Urbino to a position as one of the leading artists at the court of Pope Julius II in Rome. 

Raphael - Study of Two Apostles © Ashmolean Museum

The National Gallery in London has announced a major Raphael exhibition in 2020.



Monday 2nd March 2020 (booking 16th January 2020)

Lecturer: Peter Medhurst

W.A.Mozart: The Golden Years in Vienna 1781-1791

Peter Medhurst is a musician, singer and scholar who has performed and lectured throughout the world.  His enchanting and thought-provoking presentations include digital projections, recordings and live examples sung and played at the piano. He returns to give us an extra special occasion. 

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Thursday 4th June 2020 (booking Thursday 16th April 2020)

Lecturer: Mary Alexander

Why Paris? 1900 - 1947

Following her very popular New York Special Interest Day, Mary Alexander returns with another entertaining and stimulating day “exploring how and why the city of Paris has acted as both a magnet and a cauldron of talent for aspiring artists and designers during the first half of the twentieth century". 

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Tuesday 10th November 2020 Three lectures online at 10.30am, 11.45am and 2.00pm These will be recorded for a limited time

Lecturer: Neil Faulkner

Lawrence of Arabia

This fascinating day, to be given by the author of the recently published Lawrence of Arabia’s War, draws on years of field research. Neil Faulkner’s interest in T.E. Lawrence was sparked during a 10 year archaeological project in the deserts of southern Jordan.

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Tuesday 20th April 2021 - Three Virtual Talks Lecture 1: 10.00am-11.00am  Lecture 2: 12.30pm-1.30pm Lecture 3: 3.30pm-4.30pm

Lecturer: Mark Cottle

'When England had Scarcely Begun': Sutton Hoo and the Lindisfarne Gospels

Sutton Hoo and the Lindisfarne Gospels provide remarkable insights into the England of the 7th century. 

Sutton Hoo, Near Woodbridge, Suffolk


Early in the century, a great ship was dragged ashore from the river Deben in Suffolk. 

It became the burial place of a powerful Anglo-Saxon warlord, buried with a mound of treasures from all over the known world.  Fine weaponry, gold coins and exquisitely crafted jewellery reflected levels of sophistication which were a revelation. 

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Wednesday 9th June 2021 at 10.30am online.

Lecturer: Peter Medhurst

The Genius of Beethoven - 250 Years Celebration Special Interest Day
The Genius of Beethoven - 250 Years Celebration 
This Special Interest Day follows the lecture on Beethoven on Thursday 20th May.

Lithograph Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Ferdinand Schimon

Peter Medhurst, renowned musician, singer, lecturer and scholar, follows his May lecture on Ludwig van Beethoven with a Special Interest Day devoted to the composer Beethoven
(as in his Mozart 2020 duo). 

Beethoven is one of the most admired composers in the repertoire.  His exceptional creativity is set against both his increasing deafness and a period of turmoil in European history. 

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Thursday 4th November 2021 10.30am-16.00pm. Online.

Lecturer: Suzanne Perrin

The Silk Road: Past and Present
10.30am-11.30am 1st Lecture: The Historical Background
12.30pm-13.30pm 2nd Lecture: More recent history and artifacts
13.30pm Questions on the morning sessions
15.00pm-16.00pm 3rd Lecture: The modern Silk Road.
16.00pm Questions and overall discussion on the day
The Silk Road has held a fascination for travellers since the early Christian era, and many traders, religious pilgrims and conquerors have passed through the settlements and towns that stretch from Central Asia to the East China Sea.  Along the various routes that make up the network of the ‘Silk Road’ – itself a misnomer – flourished an exotic mixture of cultures from Arabic, Turkic, Iranian, Indian, Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan sources.
Mogao Caves, Dunhuang
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Discovering London through Detective Fiction: From Sherlock Holmes and his Contemporaries to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers Tuesday 5th April 2022, at the Kempster Hall, Christ Church, Reading Road, Henley. Coffee 10.30am, first lecture 11.00am. Booking online or live on Thursday 17th February. Cost £30.00 for both. Scroll down for Booking Form.

Lecturer: Richard Burnip

Discovering London through Detective Fiction: From Sherlock Holmes and his Contemporaries to Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers
Click here for Booking Form.

This Special Interest Day will be held at the Kempster Hall, Christ Church. Reading Road, Henley. 


Offices of The Strand Magazine, publishers of Doyle, Christie and Sayers stories

The day will provide an overview of some of the key developments in detective fiction from the 1880s to the 1930s, with particular reference to the use of London in those works. 
Holmes and Watson in Regent Street
Sherlock Holmes from page to screen - the evolution and revolution of an icon
In 1921 Conan Doyle named four people who, aside from himself, played key roles in shaping the public image of Holmes. This lecture will look how at their respective contributions influenced each other from the 1890s to the 1920s. When Conan Doyle gave up provincial medicine for professional writing his own knowledge of London increased rapidly, and we will also explore some of the surprising ways in which this was reflected in the Holmes stories. 
Martin Hewitt makes a dramatic discovery
The contemporaries of Sherlock Holmes 
There were many other detectives whose authors tried, with varying degrees of success, to step away from the shadow of the mighty Sherlock.  From Arthur Morrison’s painstaking Martin Hewitt to Baroness Orczy’s ground-breaking Lady Molly of Scotland Yard, a richly diverse gallery of inspired creations helped make London the capital city of crime fiction, along with anti-heroes such as the confidence trickster Romney Pringle and the terrifying Madame Sara.
Lady Molly of Scotland Yard
Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers in London
Although Conan Doyle’s final Holmes stories were written in the 1920s, they were set back in a vanished past. 100 years ago Christie and Sayers were bringing their detectives into the post-Great War world and this lecture looks at their use of London in the 1920s and 30s and how they placed Hercule Poirot and Lord Peter Wimsey in the heart of the great city; a revealing investigation in itself. 
Audley Square, Mayfair, marital home of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane
Richard Burnip
Richard took a BA Hons in English Language and Literature from the University of Manchester, followed by an acting diploma at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. He combines acting, writing and lecturing.  He has lectured in many venues including the National Army Museum and the Museum of London.
Richard has contributed to, among others, The Journal of Popular Film and TelevisionThe Sherlock Holmes Journal, and the P G Wodehouse journal Wooster Sauce.  A specialist in voice work, he has narrated numerous documentaries and 150 audiobooks
The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth 1 to Elizabeth Taylor Wednesday 8th June 2022 (Booking Thursday 21 April)

Lecturer: John Benjamin

The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth 1 to Elizabeth Taylor
This Special Interest Day examines four hundred years of international jewellery design, showing the changing styles from the pomp of High Renaissance enamelled gold work to the glamour of Harry Winston diamonds. 
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Hogarth: Harlots, Rakes and Crashing China: Hogarth’s Pots Wednesday 30th November 2022 (Booking Thursday 15 September) at Phyllis Court

Lecturer: Lars Tharp

Hogarth: Harlots, Rakes and Crashing China: Hogarth’s Pots
European society and culture changed dramatically in the mid-18th century. This was an age of opportunity and change, enlightenment and innovation, but also materialism, exploitation and injustice. In an affluent, cosmopolitan Europe, the seeds of modern empire, revolution and global war were being sown.
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Post-Impressionist Art Thursday 2nd March 2023 at The Henley Rugby Club (Booking Thursday 19th January 2023)

Lecturer: Dr Caroline Levisse

Post-Impressionist Art

During the 1860s and 1870s, the Impressionists challenged the artistic establishment and its rules, forever changing painting. By the mid-1880s, when Impressionism finally enjoyed some success with the public and collectors, other artists were ready to push painting further. Among them, Seurat, Cézanne, van Gogh and Gauguin.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat, 1884

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The Golden Age of English Music  (1563-c1640) Tuesday 20th June 2023 (Booking Thursday 20th April 2023) At St. Mary the Virgin Church, Hart Street, Henley

Lecturer: Peter Medhurst

The Golden Age of English Music (1563-c1640)

For this Special Interest Day Peter Medhurst will explore in greater depth some of the themes of his May lecture.

The reigns of Elizabeth I and James I of England are jointly regarded as one of the great moments in English music, when composers such as William Byrd, Thomas Morley, Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tomkins produced works of extraordinary originality and depth.  The Special Interest Day focuses on the various forms of music that were used at the time - lute songs, madrigals, keyboard music and church music - and throughout the day the talks are illustrated with live performances on the piano.


Flemish Virginals after Jean Couchet
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