Hello Everyone,


I hope you are well and enjoying the welcome bursts of summer sunshine.


We have managed to come to the end of another Arts Society year and one that has been a challenging one! The pandemic and its effects have forced us into lockdowns, to be separated from our families and friends and despite of vaccinations, continues to be problematic with quarantines, social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Our sympathies go out to all those directly affected by  the Coronavirus. 


In terms of the Arts Society, as we became separated from one another and the things we enjoyed were closed down, we started to communicate in other ways and your committee worked hard behind the scenes to find ways of sharing our love of the arts, to learn about Zoom and to maintain some social aspects so important to our society.


We had many things to learn and to struggle with, but as some societies were forced to shut down for a year, we delivered more, with 15 lectures instead of the usual 10. Among the diverse topics we enjoyed was the art and architecture of Old Shanghai: British influence on design in St Petersburg and the elaborate Jewelled Journeys of the wealthy.  Music topics focused on Stravinsky, Ballet Russe and Beethoven. Tradition and Modernism in architecture was debated, as was colour in English Garden Design and we were treated to fresh encounters with contemporary sculpture and the public space.


As we were not allowed to travel, our much loved days out and the UK and Overseas trips were put on hold. Then new technology enabled virtual study days  and we particularly enjoying a virtual trip to Venice with a live link to our lecturer at the Ca d’Oro.


Now, Covid allowing, we are looking forward optimistically to welcoming you all back to our first live lecture at the Blackwell Grange on 20 September 2021 at 6.30pm. Lydia Bauman will speak on ‘The Mona Lisa and Other Housewives’  and how Leonardo created the icon of mystery that is the Mona Lisa?


On Monday 18 October 2021 at 5.30pm we will hold our AGM. This will be followed at 6.30pm by Harry Fletcher talking about the Scottish Colourists and the link to French Post Impressionism.


That is the good news. Perhaps not so good is that we have been forced to raise the Annual Membership Fee to £55.00 per member. All costs have increased such as lecturers fees, travel costs and room hire charges. We have also looked at ways to reduce our costs. An innovation for 2021-2022 is to have a Zoom, instead of a live lecture for January and February 2022. In the winter months of bad weather, we can enjoy a lecture from home. In February, this will be a live link to the Mauritshuis in Holland. 


In terms of residential trips - we have postponed the UK Trip to Cardiff until 2022. The Overseas Trip to Italy is still on the cards for this year, but we are waiting for confirmation about that. Other trips for 2022 are also in the planning stage.


For Christmas this year we hope to have two live lectures forming a study day with Christmas lunch in the middle. We will welcome back Anne Haworth with her new study day on ‘The Artisans of Venice’. Her themes will include : From Artisans to Angels: Guilds to Gold: Pigments to Perfume, Silk to Serenades. From Chandeliers to Shoes: Goblets to Gondolas: Mirrors to Marquetry and Porcelain to Paper.


The Christmas lunch is in the planning stage with the Blackwell and we are hoping to have a set-meal with table service, with traditional festive fare and a good vegetarian option and puddings! More about that later.


So - I hope we have whetted your appetite and interest in what is to come. Thank you all for your support this year and we hope you will renew your membership and send it all off to David Phillips (Membership Officer). We would really appreciate a prompt response. Please meet our deadline of Monday 6th September 2021 to enable us to process all membership details for Head Office and our AGM. 


All that remains is to wish you all a very happy summer break - and we look forward to welcoming you all back again at the Blackwell Grange on Monday  20 September 2021 from 5.30pm for the 6.30pm Lecture.


With very best wishes to you all.




From Jenn Bullen:

UK Welsh Tour 2021


Sadly, the UK Welsh Tour which was due to take place next month has had to be postponed because there has not been enough time to finalise the Itinerary. The hotel was all booked and all was in order there but it has been difficult to settle the Itinerary due to the pandemic. I have therefore taken the decision to move it to  2022 and the dates are 30th June to 3rd July. I do hope there will be a good take-up for this which should be a very enjoyable excursion.



From Rosalind Platts:

Church Recording - Volunteers needed

When life returns to normal we hope to start making a record of Church Furnishings of St. John The Baptist in Egglescliffe (just over the river from Yarm) and we would welcome more volunteers.

We describe the furnishings in sections, Memorials, Metalwork, Stonework, Woodwork, Textiles, Paintings, Library, (including local records), Windows and Miscellaneous.

Each object is described, measured and photographed and we try to find out the date, donor and history. We will meet together as a team, working in pairs, previous experience not necessary, perhaps meeting one morning every 2 weeks.

An initial meeting, at the church, will be notified in due course.

If you are interested or would like to know more please contact me or 01642 701007


For further information please contact