A letter from your Chairman: Rita Smith - Spring 2022


Hello Everyone,


I hope you are well and enjoying the welcome bursts of sunshine, seeing trees changing to green and gardens full of bright colours. Here in The Arts Society it has been good to return to live lectures and social gatherings. We have had some excellent lecturers and a diverse range of topics. During the wintery months of January and February we introduced Zoom lectures with virtual links to The Fan Museum in London and The Mauritshuis in The Hague. That is something we will continue for 2023 with exciting virtual links to Rome and to Amsterdam.


Successful developments since then have been planned study days and a study lunch. Harry Fletcher not only told us about The Scottish Colourists, but also did a lovely painting demonstration. Lizzie Darbyshire told us of the beautiful paintings of John Singer Sargent which was followed by much lively chat and a lovely lunch. To celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, we will have a special study day in June, with the return of popular lecturer Andrew Prince, with new themes related to jewellery and royalty which is bound to be lots of fun.


We are pleased to say that our UK trip to Cardiff and South Wales, all being well, will go ahead in June, as will the overseas trip to Puglia in October.


As part of our Arts Development programme a £250 Community Grant from The Arts Society has been awarded to a Primary School in Darlington to enable them to bring in local artists to deliver workshops with the children.


We would like to encourage more people to join our Society. There is a change to the May lecture which will now be Caroline MacDonald-Haig on the topic ‘Habitat Catalogued’. It will also be a ‘bring a friend for free’ evening! 


I would like to thank our committee for all their hard work and enthusiasm and for the help of our members who have also supported and helped out on different occasions. If anyone would like a chance to join the Committee, please come forward and to talk to myself or any Committee member about what is involved. 


We look forward to seeing you at our lectures and future special events.


With very best wishes to you all.


Andrew Prince.png

10.00 am Arrivals and Coffee

10.30 -11.30  Lecture one: A Portrait of Jewels Following Missing Treasures Through Canvas

Andrew was inspired to produce this talk after visiting the National Portrait Gallery. Seeing all the Tudor, Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs, dressed in their finery, he wondered where had all their spectacular jewels gone? Among the many jewels he traces, Andrew follows ropes of glowing pearls that belonged to Catherine de Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and now Queen Elizabeth II.


He also follows a spectacular and historic diamond that belonged to King James I and was later sold, worn by Marie Antoinette, stolen during the French Revolution, purchased by a Russian Aristocrat and later mounted in a tiara by Cartier for an American heiress, who then became a British Member of Parliament.


Jewel hunting has never been more fascinating.

Lunch 12.00-1.30pm


2.00-3.00pm Lecture two: Royal Jewels and the American Heiress: Antique Treasures from the New World.


3.30 pm Close

Queen's Platinum jubilee:

I have cause to be grateful for royal visits. When the HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited my school in 1961 she awarded us an extra week's holiday.  It should have been only an extra day. This breached the statutory requirement for the number of teaching days in a year and an amendment had to be allowed just for us!

Jubilee Study Day with Andrew Prince

June 16 2022 

Worsall Village Hall 10.00am -3.30pm


Address: 3 Church Ln, Yarm TS15 9QB link:


Cost and how to pay: cost £45


Please pay and book your place:


Contact Della Kerr
Tel: 01325 721458


9 Hurworth Road,

Hurworth Place,




Please make cheques payable to South Durham & North Yorkshire Decorative & Fine Arts Society


Or by Bank Transfer to


A/C: 00017726

Sort code: 40-52-40


If you pay by bank transfer be sure to give your details to Della.

Andrew Prince



Andrew Prince's consuming passion for jewels can be traced back to him swallowing one of his mother's pearl earrings as a 3-year old. Andrew's exquisite jewels have adorned celebrities including Michael Jackson, Miss Piggy, and the stars of Downton Abbey.

His entertaining and informative lectures on the history of jewellery and fashion have delighted audiences around the world. I still remember, from the most recent talk for us about the extension to Queen Adelaide's personal railway coach to allow her feet to fit in when she was sleeping.


In this talk Andrew shows that following the turbulent political times between 1870 and 1929, which culminated in the final collapse of the Russian and European Monarchies, countless astonishing art and jewel collections were dispersed, looted or sold.


Fortunately, this coincided with the growing wealth and power of America and its industrial millionaires, who were intent on creating sumptuous palaces of their own and filling them with the greatest paintings and furniture, together with weighing down their wives and daughters with the finest of recently purchased royal jewels.


In this talk Andrew explains how these fabulously wealthy heiresses then married into the British aristocracy, bringing many of these treasures with them. He shows with the decline of aristocratic power and the British Empire, how these legendary jewels have again been parted with and can now been seen by everyone in the world’s great museums.