Evening Lectures 30 10 2017

New to Berkhamsted on the Arts scene


The Ashridge Decorative & Fine Arts Society (ADFAS), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is hoping to start a regular evening session of talks this autumn aimed at anyone with an interest in the arts.
If you have had a busy day, an ADFAS evening talk is the perfect way to unwind with a drink in relaxed surroundings and in great company.
To give you a taste of what we have to offer, we have two introductory events in October and November - details of these are below.
Both events will be held at The Court House, off Berkhamsted High Street, HP4 2AX - for directions Click Here.  Doors open at 7.30pm, the talk starts at 8.00pm and we will finish at 9.00pm.

Tickets cost £8.00 per talk including a glass of wine or soft drink.  These can be purchased using the relevant Eventbrite link below.

The first of these talks was felt to be a great success by the nearly 50 attendees present, which included a large number of new faces and also several young Arts students. As a result, your Committee now hopes to formalise Membership of this extra parallel arm of ADFAS activities in the near future.  We shall therefore be seeking views widely to guage long term interest in this venture. Clearly the individual membership cost will be dependent on total numbers, and thus the size and nature of the venue required to accommodate us on a regular basis.  

As you will see from one of our recent announcements, this wider membership will enable us to extend our support to the local community through our Young Arts projects. 

So if you would like to meet new people with similar interests and hear a fascinating talk from one of our excellent speakers from The Arts Society panel, then why not come to this event. Just follow the link below as this event is for you!!

Similarly, if you have friends on Facebook who might be interested, please feel free to encourage them to come along.  They will thank you!! 

Click on any selected ADFAS Evening Lecture Event below to display any further details available.

Evening Lecture Programme 

Green Lady          October 10  2017                    Lobster without words        November 8 2017

Tuesday 10 October 2017 - Have you good taste? - David Phillips

About the lecture

That was the title of a survey conducted by The Listener magazine, to test the nation’s artistic judgment.

David gets us to try one of these tests, and discover what a puzzler for the connoisseur this question really is. 

The problem is that questions of taste mix up judgments of artistic quality with notions of social acceptability. We focus mostly on the social side, and brace ourselves to confront what constitutes badly behaved art.  Ostentation, political incorrectness, sentimentality, nudity and the merely unfashionable can all qualify.

But we are still left with some objects that escape all those categories, and are just “kitsch”.  In pursuit of a definition, we take a light-hearted tour past some wonderful artworks, including works by Constable, Stubbs and Dali, as well as some wonderfully awful ones.  

Green Lady              Gnome              ChipMirror

We look at some real park railing specials, as well as pictures by Tretchikoff and the American Thomas Kinkade, to discover what they have in common.  We watch the development from cliché to kitsch, as commercial artists crank up emotive features for commercial effect, to the point of caricature. 
No promises though that we’ll find that we always agree on which of the things we’ve been looking at are in good taste - and which are kitsch.

About the lecturer - David Phillips

Our speaker studied History at Oxford, and from 1968-82 worked for Nottingham Castle Museum.

David Phillips 2

David then became a Lecturer in Museum Studies and Art History at the University of Manchester.

Published a book about museum practice with Manchester University Press, Exhibiting Authenticity 1997

He has been an accredited lecturer for NADFAS, now The Arts Society, for a number of years.


Booking Facilities through Eventbrite

Please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adfas-evening-event-10-october-2017-tickets-37874347192

Wednesday 8 November 2017 - From Wild Beasts to Pickled Sharks - Linda Collins

About the lecture - 'From Wild Beasts to Pickled Sharks'

The opening of Tate Modern in 2000 took London by storm. Thousands more visitors than expected piled into the building. Modern Art in the capital became more fashionable overnight. But for many visitors, looking at Rodin’s ‘Kiss’ for example, they found it difficult to see today why it was modern. Ditto for Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’. But we are looking at these pieces with a hundred years separating us and them. In that time, both these works have been accepted into the mainstream and cease to shock us anymore. We see them on mugs, umbrellas and fridge magnets – they have lost their ability to shock us.

The Kiss


We can see perhaps why the Fauves created such a stir by their use of completely unnatural colours instead of shading, but the ‘Kiss’ just looks tame these days – beautiful, but tame. In its day, however, to see a natural and un-idealised body portrayed – a real person in other words – was quite shocking. Marble was more generally associated then with tombs or classical statues than with real, live bodies. Rodin has taken the Dante story of Lancelot and Guinevere and turned it into a sculpture.

The fact that these two were brother and sister-in-law would probably have added to the scandal.  Notice, too, that it is Guinevere who has Lancelot in an embrace rather than vice versa and it doesn’t look like she wants to let him go anytime soon.  But we are made of sterner stuff these days and it takes a lot more to shock us. A dead cow perhaps – or an unmade bed?



  Op Art stripes



It is fascinating to look at works of 20th century art and set them within their own time. For example, Brigit Riley’s Op art stripes were just perfect for their time in the 1960s. No need for experimenting with drugs – just stand in front of a Riley painting for a while, stare at the centre until it moves and voilà. Or perhaps many people did both at once….





Marcel Duchamp fooled us all when he created his ‘ready mades’ and changed the course of art in the process. Art becomes art because the artist says it is.





And what about this pile of bricks? 

How much more interesting it is to know that Carl Andrés first exhibition was not the success he had hoped for and so he returned the bricks to the brick makers where he had bought them and only kept one sculpture. By the time of the next show, the colour of the bricks had changed and they were no longer yellow….a limited edition was born.

Modern art takes more research in order to understand it.  We need to try and place it within its own time and to see it as far as possible through the eyes of the people who would have viewed it then.  In many cases, it can make us laugh, but it can also make us angry (even though it is difficult sometimes to know why) and it can energise us.  It all depends on how we look at it.




About the lecturer - Linda Collins

Linda was employed by the Historic Royal Palaces for more than twenty years before becoming an independent lecturer and lecture organiser. 

linda collins

She holds a BA(hons) in Early Italian art; an MA in the works of Georges de la Tour, and a Diploma in French language and Culture.
Researching for her MA in Paris and spending much time in the country has led to Linda having a special interest in French Art, but working amongst the paintings in the Royal Collection has also been fascinating and compelling. The opening of the New Cumberland Art Gallery at Hampton Court Palace for example was wonderful because it has brought together works by Caravaggio, Holbein, Rembrandt, Gentileschi (both father and daughter), Gainsborough and many, many more in a beautiful historic setting.
She has spent much of her time lecturing to adult education groups, Fine Art societies, Antique groups, The National Trust, U3A, and various universities.
Linda has been lucky enough to lecture worldwide and she has fairly recently returned from her third lecture tour of Australia and New Zealand for the The Arts Society (previously known as the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts – shortened to NADFAS).
She has been filmed for a PBS TV series looking at Tudor Art and is in the process of putting a book together on the history of Modern Art in Paris.
She works as a freelance lecturer at the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Modern and is honoured to say that she is an accredited The Arts Society lecturer! 


Booking Facilities through Eventbrite

Please go to      https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adfas-evening-talk-linda-collins-from-wild-beasts-to-pickled-sharks-8-november-2017-tickets-37875383291

January 2018 - To be advised

 TheArtsSociety supported Purple

To see the wide range of topics and lecturers ADFAS has enjoyed over recent years and are planning for the future, then look at the Events and Archive tabs above.
Please note: We were made aware that one of our attendees had software compatability problems using an Apple laptop with the Eventbrite ticket purchasing function.  Our Treasurer had an alternative link on hand which worked a dream, thus gaining a satisfied attendee!  If you have any similar issues, please contact us through the ADFAS website.