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Newsletter April 2015

                            The HEDFAS Quarterly Newsletter
                                                                                                     April 2015

                     A warm welcome to the first edition of the HEDFAS Newsletter for 2015. 

A Message from the Chairman

Pauline Simmonds

           Geraldine Crippen

              Ginnie Johnston

  A lively and successful Society never stands still and as I reported at the AGM we are now the second largest NADFAS Society with about 640 members.

Sadly we must say goodbye to some of our Committee. Louise Marten and Jillie Drucker are standing down after three and five years and have done an excellent job, by raising the profile of Young Arts in Henley or by selecting some really great Lectures. They have brought their own individual style to the job and we thank them for their contribution.

Geraldine Crippen and Ginnie Johnston are  retiring, having served on the Committee for eleven and fifteen years respectively and it is impossible in this small space to do justice to all the things they have done for HEDFAS over the years.

They were Joint Chairmen from 2005-2008. Geraldine has also organised Study Days, Visits and more recently been Vice Chair, a role she undertook whilst still Leader of Church Recording, a very rewarding but demanding task.

Ginnie has been Membership Secretary, Secretary and latterly IT Specialist, responsible for the development of our Website, Newsletter and E-mail facilities, all of which have given much pleasure to members and are of major importance to HEDFAS. Ginnie has given generously of her time, been great fun and we thank both of them warmly for all their hard work and loyalty.

Richard Fletcher is also retiring after eleven years of dedicated and much valued service as Treasurer and Secretary, two highly significant posts on any Committee. He will be greatly missed.

So a few changes but, in an age of increasing technology, we are delighted to say hello to six new Committee members introduced below.  All have different strengths. We welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them.
                                                                              Pauline Simmonds
         Louise Marten

            Jillie Drucker

        Richard Fletcher


                          And now, may we introduce you to our new Committee Members
                                             who have been elected to take office at the
                                            Annual General Meeting on 1st April 2015:

  Mrs Anne Balgarnie is now  
        Vice Chairman,
    an officer of the Society

        Mrs Jane Rix is now 
     in charge of the website
    Dr Elizabeth Jarvis is now  
    taking care of Young Arts



        We are delighted that they have  
                    joined the team.

      A very warm welcome to them all.

         Mr Hugh Fitzwilliams is now 
       leading the Heritage Volunteers
        (co-opted onto the Committee
                           in 2014)


Mrs Pat Josebury is now
                 Hon Secretary,
          an officer of the Society

Mrs Jenny Homer is now in charge
       of the newsletter and slides

         Mrs Cherry Tyer is now
           Programme Secretary


                                                     Here is some holiday news:    
                   Stop Press:  We have two places available for our trip to Sicily from
                                            Wednesday 19th to Sunday 26th September 2015.  

                 Il Duomo, Syracuse


  If you have never been to Sicily, you have missed one of the best, most remarkable places in Europe. Due to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, Sicily has been influenced by the Greeks, Normans, Phoenicans and the Moors, each leaving their mark, and providing a rich collection of stunning temples, churches, medieval towns and hidden gems.  For more details of our visit please visit the Holidays page on this website.

   The visit will be led by Alvi Shaw and 
 accompanying Art Lecturer Sue Jenkins.

    Cost £1089 per person in a shared
 twin/double room (plus £185 single room
             occupancy supplement).

The price of the tour will include return airport transfers in the UK, return flights, accommodation as described, coach travel in Sicily, entrance fees and guides as necessary, gratuities and the services of the tour leader and art lecturer.  

                     Il Corso, Noto

        The Temple of Hera at Selinunte
                                                                      Please telephone Alvi Shaw on 0118 940 3147
                    or email her on to request a booking form if you would like to go.

                        Here are the first mouth watering details of our two holidays in 2016:
                                In the spring we shall visit Dartmoor and the Devon Coast
                                          from Monday 25th to Thursday 28th April 2016
            The Passage House Hotel

                 Buckland Abbey

                      Buckfast Abbey

We shall be staying at the ***  Passage House Hotel, overlooking the Teign Estuary, a modern hotel with spa and leisure centre. 

Proposed visits include Knightshayes Court (NT), the work of the Victorian William Burges, who built Cardiff Castle, with one of the finest gardens in Devon;  a drive across Dartmoor stopping at Widdecombe and the Clapper Bridge.

We shall visit Buckland Abbey (NT), home of Sir Francis Drake, and Buckland Gardens, 10 acres of different gardens set in a lovely Devon valley.

We shall also visit Saltram House (NT) with a Robert Adam interior and overlooking the River Pym;  Buckfast Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery rebuilt in the 1930's;  Castle Drogo (NT), the last castle built in Britain and currently undergoing a massive conservation project;  and Killerton (NT), a fine 18th century house with a wonderful costume collection.

                 Knightshayes Court

                         Saltram House

Castle Drogo

               The visit will be accompanied by Alvi Shaw and Art Lecturer Sue Jenkins, with Jeremy Brabyn our driver.      
                                             Cost £410 per person (plus single supplement of £45) based on 40+ members.
                                                                                           £420 (35 to 39 members).
              This includes accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis, four lunches, all entries, guiding and coaching.

                                                   To reserve a place please telephone Alvi Shaw on 0118 940 3147
                                             or email her on to request a booking form.

   For our autumn trip we shall visit Budapest with an optional three day extension to Vienna


In September 2016 we shall visit Budapest for four days with an optional three day extension to Vienna.  These two great cultural centres are now only two hours apart by coach.  Full details to follow.

   If you are interested in the holiday to 
       Budapest/Budapest and Vienna
                  please contact 
     Alvi Shaw on 0118 940 3147
                  or email her on



         For the first of our Day Visits for 2015, we had a superb day in Chichester visiting
the Pallant House Gallery and Chichester Cathedral, on Tuesday 10th February. 
This was very special as it was Dr Pat Righelato's inaugural HEDFAS excursion as
leader of  Day Visits.  With the excellent support of her husband Dr Renton Righelato,
the day went like clockwork and everyone enjoyed it enormously. 
Even the drizzle failed to dampen our spirits!

 Pat with Beth Funnell

Lunch at the Pallant Gallery
     Enjoying the stained glass window
Members who joined the party to Chichester in February were rewarded for their rather early start with a full and instructive day's visit to the Pallant House Gallery and the city's Cathedral.
Our visit started with an excellent lecture by Beth Funnell on the Pallant's special exhibition, Conscience and Conflict, the artistic response to the Spanish Civil War. It was a bonus that the lecture room had fine modern paintings by British artists.

Beth then joined us as we went around the exhibition which included many rarely seen works and some more famous paintings such as Picasso's Weeping Woman.

We had time to take in the gallery's eclectic permanent collection before lunch and moving on for a guided tour of the Cathedral.
Chichester Cathedral's claims to fame include the medieval tomb of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and his wife which inspired Philip Larkin's poem "An Arundel Tomb" and, most notably, modern works including a Chagall stained glass window, paintings by Graham Sutherland and Hans Feibusch, a tapestry by John Piper and an interesting Franco-German tapestry, replete with symbols, designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer.

It was a fascinating  surprise for those who had not visited the cathedral before to discover the intense colour and spiritual intensity of the modern works of art.
After a very full and interesting day, the bonus was that there were no holdups on the way home as our excellent coach driver, Jamie, brought us back to Henley in good time.
                                            Pat Righelato

              Picasso's Weeping Woman

                  Chichester Cathedral

           The Franco-German tapestry


                                    March is a very important month for our Young Arts and
                                                 this year they have been busier than ever.
               HEDFAS is proud to have been a major sponsor of the Henley Youth Festival 
                                                                from 9th to 20th March. 







                                          Did you know that HEDFAS is recognised as one of the foremost
                                                                    NADFAS societies for their work with Young Arts?

  Once again our youngsters' creative abilities exceeded all expectations.   In conjunction with the Henley Youth Festival, HEDFAS sponsored fifteen workshops in 11 primary schools and one secondary school in the Henley area, from 9th to 20th March 2015.  The children fashioned masks, globes and scenes from The Tempest, and loved every moment of it. 



                   Pupils from Peppard, St Mary's, Valley Road, Sonning Common, Rupert House, Badgemore, Shiplake Primary, 
                                    Kidmore End, Bishopswood Primary, Sacred Heart, Nettlebed Primary and Gillotts took part.  

Dr Brian Squabbles and his red van visited Nettlebed Primary School on 17th March. Clearly the day was an
unqualified success!  Below is a letter from a parent whose lucky son was part of the action.


“Like most Mums I ask daily how school was and what they did?  Standard response is "fine”, “can't remember”: with an 8 year old boy probably not surprising!

However on Tuesday the minute I walked in the door from work Daniel declared he had had the best day ever at school. He described how they used their imagination, the teams they had been in, the activities they did and why he liked it. It was a real pleasure to see him so excited!” 

    Comment from the Teacher
I was with the class for the first hour and loved  it. Unpacking the van was really exciting. As each child brought an item  out to lay on the grass they were already saying “This is a” .... or “this could be used as...”  

I tried my best to persuade Tom to teach my Year 3 French class when he came to take over from me, but he was having none of it!

                                                                              We must be getting something right!

                              On Sunday 22nd March the Mayor of Henley presented the prizes at the Henley Youth Centre. 

         And with our other Young Arts hat on .......... another great success

               Eleanor at the exhibition
                    with her picture


The 298th RBA Annual Open Exhibition was on display at the Mall Galleries from 11th to 21st March 2015.

From 370 art works submitted by 52 NADFAS Societies, from 89 schools, the Royal Society of British Artists chose just 20 paintings.  The young artists became known as NADFAS RBA Scholars for the duration of the exhibition. 

For the fourth year running one was selected from our HEDFAS  entries: the picture on the right was painted by Eleanor Day, from The Piggott School, Wargrave. Many, many congratulations to Eleanor!

Footnote:  to her surprise and delight, Eleanor was contacted by a prospective buyer, and may have sold her picture at the exhibition arranged by NADFAS, prior to the exhibition at the Mall Galleries. She is now considering changing her educational direction and transferring to an art degree or art foundation course.  We wish you all good fortune in your chosen career, Eleanor, and are so proud of your achievement.


        Eleanor with James Horton,
              the President of the
     Royal Society of British Artists.

       We had a particularly interesting and entertaining Study Day on Wednesday 18th March:
                               Love, Power and Scandal: A Royal Jewel for Every Occasion

                       Susan Rumfitt

Nell Gwyn

                    Queen Victoria

We were delighted to welcome back Susan Rumfitt, who had previously given us a fascinating lecture on "Rococo Revived - The Garland Style of Jewellery" on 19th October 2006. Today, in her charming manner, she skillfully wove a wonderful tale of power, intrigue, greed, envy and opulence as she demonstrated the extreme importance of jewellery to our Royalty throughout the ages. 

Starting with Henry VIII and his many wives, she gave us a fascinating insight into the symbolism of the priceless jewellery blazoned upon him and his wives so that all could appreciate his supreme power and wealth. 

For the second part of the day we learnt about the scandals associated with Royalty including Charles II and Edward VIII, as they lavished diamonds and pearls upon their favoured paramours.

Finally Susan talked about love and sentiment associated with Royal jewellery - engagements, weddings, anniversaries and periods of mourning, from the 19th century to the present day.

Princess Diana

Susan's audience was positively buzzing with excitement as she revealed some fascinating and sometimes eye watering facts, never to be mentioned in the school history books!  We had a most entertaining and indeed very educational day.

                    Henry VIII

                Wallis Simpson

   Queen Elizabeth II


           Our Heritage Volunteers continue to do sterling work at Lincoln College, Oxford

In October 2014 our Heritage Volunteers had another of their periodic retraining sessions with Caroline Bendix, perhaps the leading UK book conservationist, as well as senior advisor to the National Trust and many of the country’s major libraries. Reinvigorated with new talent, they are now back to the complex and satisfying work of conservation repairs.  If you would
like to become a Heritage Volunteer, please telephone Hugh Fitzwilliams on 07776 160812.
                               Our New Members Coffee Morning on Tuesday 24th March


For the fourth year running we had a most successful New Members Coffee Morning,  held at the Chantry House in Henley, on Tuesday 24th March. 

Pauline Simmonds, our Chairman, welcomed everyone to HEDFAS and gave a brief outline of our many activities, in particular our work with Young Arts and Heritage Volunteers, as well as our Lectures, Day Visits, Study Days and Holidays.

Committee Members mingled with guests, chatting about all that goes on within HEDFAS and outlining their responsibilities on the committee.  It was a delightful morning and we do hope that all our new members will really enjoy everything that we have to offer.

               A warm welcome to all!



             Our spring holiday this year was to a most beautiful part of the British Isles -
                   The Derbyshire Dales and Peaks, from 29th March to 1st April 2015

                                                                   Our intrepid travellers, the HEDFAS Holidaymakers

Chapter 1
Kedleston Hall, home of the Curzon family

       Studying the notes at Kedleston

                  Lee Wood Hotel


Our first visit was to Kedleston Hall, home of the Curzon family since the 13th century.  After touring this fine Palladian house we all sat down to the first of the three lunches included in the holiday. 

                       Tissington Hall

En route to Buxton we stopped briefly at The Tissington Estate, home of the Fitzherbert family since Elizabeth I, where we were welcomed by Sir Richard Fitzherbert personally.

                   Sir Richard Fitzherbert

Our hotel, overlooking Buxton, was a welcome sight after a long day and we gathered again for dinner which was absolutely delicious!  Indeed, the meals were one of the high points of our tour.

         Kedleston grounds, designed by
                        Robert Adam

       Sue Jenkins studies the saloon
                       at Kedleston

           Lady Curzon's peacock dress


Chapter 2

          The David Mellor Factory and
                        Design Museum     


          Eyam  - "The Plague Village"
        Some of the homes of the 260
               plague victims of 1665

Day Two and we were off to the David Mellor Factory and Design Museum.  David is an award winning silversmith and cutlery designer and we were given a private tour of the factory by Thomas, a real character!  Alas the shop proved irresistible to most of us and we came back laden with parcels. 
Then on to Castleton where we learned about the stone Bluejohn, unique to this area, then to Eyam "The Plague Village" with its story of self-sacrifice, and finally to Bakewell where
we tasted the famous Bakewell pudding (not tart which was a later American invention).  The road through these villages wended through glorious countryside past stone walls and baby lambs, and the sun shone.
    Thomas at the design bench at the
            David Mellor Factory

           A delicious lunch at Eyam

Chapter 3
The River Derwent, bridge and house at

      Haddon Hall's main courtyard

Chatsworth House on Day Three was the highlight for many of us but plans for the afternoon had to be altered as the weather was awful. 

Sue and Alvi managed to persuade Haddon Hall to open just for us (NADFAS has real clout!).  They were getting the house ready for the official opening the following day and so we had a very special private tour with excellent guides.

         Braving the wind at Haddon Hall
         The painted hall at Chatsworth

         Haddon Hall's ancient kitchen

Chapter 4

                     Renishaw Hall

          Lunch at Renishaw Hall

  Calke Abbey, the abandoned home of the 
             Harpur Crewe family

On our final day we enjoyed another private tour, this time at Renishaw Hall, home of the eccentric Sitwells since the 17th century.  Again the guides were first class, showing us the house's treasures as well as talking about the history.  We enjoyed another excellent lunch of poached salmon in the restaurant.

En route back to Henley we made a brief call to Calke Abbey for a cup of tea and a quick look at this, a sad reminder of all the grand houses that have fallen into disrepair or disappeared altogether. Owned by the National Trust, Calke has been left in its mouldering state much as it was when the Trust took it over: a startling contrast to all the glorious houses we had seen earlier.

           An Irish pig at Calke Abbey

As usual, Alvi had provided us with useful background notes to the area and places we were to visit.  On the coach Sue supplemented this with her encyclopaedic knowledge of art and regaled us with amusing anecdotes about the Mitford girls and the Sitwell family.

Thank you, Alvi and Sue, for showing us another lovely part of England and for all your hard work to make the trip such a success.
                                                 Judy Ginder

      Renishaw Hall Italianate Gardens

       The Cellist at Renishaw Hall

    Some of the Harpur Crewe collection
            of several thousand birds
                                                    A huge thank you to Richard Lloyd and Alvi Shaw for their delightful photos.

                                                   And finally, a valedictory postscript:

It has been exactly four years since the idea of a website, and soon after an on-line newsletter, was mooted at a Committee Meeting, and as I was rash enough to put forward the suggestion, all eyes were turned upon me to undertake the task.

My enthusiasm rapidly turned to panic when I realised I had agreed to take on a technical IT assignment about which I knew absolutely nothing!  I had no choice but to roll up my sleeves and take my first tentative steps into the minefield of on-line artistry.  Rising from the Slough of Despond, I slowly began to understand the whys and wherefores of the task in hand, but not without a multitude of mistakes and unsuccessful attempts at making it look vaguely presentable!


                        Ginnie and the sub editors

I have, however, been blessed with six and sometimes seven sub editors, constantly at my side, seen here in the picture.  Together they  have advised, inspired, cajoled, and often been most vociferous in their criticism if schedules are   running late (usually supper).

These four years have gone by so quickly, and the panic has long since turned into real pleasure.  I do hope you have enjoyed the website and newsletters up to now, and I know that they will continue to flourish under the expert hands of Jane and Jenny.

After 15 years on the Committee, I shall miss it greatly, but my enthusiasm for HEDFAS will never wane and I look forward to enjoying all it has to offer for many years to come.
                        Ginnie Johnston