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Newsletter December 2014

The HEDFAS Quarterly Newsletter
                                                                                                     December 2014

Our Christmas Party on 5th December

A warm welcome to the final edition of the HEDFAS Newsletter for 2014. 

 Animated gold sparkling Christmas wreath    This is our fourth and final newsletter for 2014 and we hope you will enjoy reading all about our activities over the last few months. Our four newsletters present a fascinating picture of all the places we have visited and Study Days we have enjoyed during the year.  But that is only  a part of the HEDFAS story: our Young Arts have played a most important role, with workshops for the younger children in the spring and a national competition for local A level students in the autumn, in which we have achieved great success for the fourth year running; our Church Recorders finished their almighty project at St Mary's in Henley with an unforgettable presentation in November to mark the occasion; and our Heritage Volunteers started complex book repair work at Lincoln College, Oxford.  To round off the year we had a wonderful Christmas party.  All in all 2014 has been a bumper year and we confidently expect 2015 to be equally good!
A very happy New Year to you all.                                         Editor
 Animated gold sparkling Christmas wreath


                                                                                                  A Message from the Chairman

  There have been a few changes and challenges during the year but I’m pleased to say all is well and the year ahead looks very promising. In line with NADFAS traditions, we have introduced new ideas and systems, supported various Area projects and maintained a strong team of volunteers. The Church Recorders in particular deserve a special mention. Their hard work and patience have produced an excellent result. Our latest Committee Members are all doing a great job and we hope more will join us very soon. We are a lively and successful Society so thank you for your continued support. I wish you all a very happy New Year.
                                       Pauline Simmonds

                   Our Autumn Holiday to the South of France was the most resounding success,
                            filled with culture, delectable food and wine, sunshine and laughter:
                                       The Painters of Provence 24th - 28th September

                                                                      Chapter 1

  Hotel Mercure, Saint Raphael Valescure

  We left Henley armed with detailed notes prepared by Alvi.  Unfortunately our flight was delayed by an hour. The weather on our arrival in Nice was overcast, but this was the only day when the sun did not shine brightly.  In fact the weather became warmer every day of our stay. En route to the Hotel Mercure, Saint Raphael Valescure, we stopped at La Domaine des Colettes in Cagnes sur Mer, the house where Renoir spent his last 12 years.  Within the house there are 10 Renoir paintings and inside the studio there are the easel, paints and wheelchairs used by the painter.  Renoir suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and painted with difficulty so the paintbrush had to be secured by bandages to his hands. 

After the visit we went straight to our hotel at St Raphael, set within a private estate with a golf course.  The sight of the greens and fairways may have made any golfers in our group wish they had time to play!

Dinner was preceded by a welcome cocktail in the foyer.

           La Domaine des Collettes

                                                                       Chapter 2

  The next morning we made our way with our driver Didier to Cap Ferrat to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild where we used audio guides that gave us full details of the villa, its contents as well as its eccentric owner Beatrice.  In her bedroom were chairs for her pet mongoose and poodles and she even arranged a poodle wedding with guests and her pets were required to wear full morning dress.  The collection of furniture, drawings, tapestries and china mostly date from the Louis XV and XVI periods.  Beatrice liked to dress in 18th century costumes of which there were examples.  The gardens together with the views over the coast were stunning.  Whilst we were there the fountains played to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. 

We drove the short distance to Villefranche where the old citadel overlooks the fishing harbour and marina.  The bay is considered to be the most beautiful on the Mediterranean coast.  After lunch we drove to Vence to the Rosary Chapel which Matisse considered to be his masterpiece.  Sadly when it was consecrated in 1951 he was too ill to attend.  Matisse had been asked in 1947 by his former nurse, who was now a nun, to build a chapel with a stained glass window.  The window is named The Tree of Life and shows yellow cactus flowers against tapering blue ovals.  The nuns found the Way of the Cross mural, which is a series of numbered drawings with blank faces, apart from the image of Christ's face on St Veronica's handkerchief, troubling, but in time grew to appreciate what Matisse had achieved.  This chapel in its simplicity left an indelible impression.

Our final visit of the day was to the Fondation Maeght at St Paul de Vence.  The collection of contemporary art was founded by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght following the death of their youngest son in 1953.  The building was designed by a Catalan architect José Luis Sert, a pupil of Corbusier and friend of Joan Miro.  The permanent collection has around 6000 pictures by every major artist of the past century.  Chagall's mosaic Les Amoureux and Miro's Solar bird are incorporated into the building fabric.



                                                                         Chapter 3

  A later start saw us driving to Aix-en-Provence complete with our Whispers sets and earpieces, where we met our local guide. Our first stop was the studio used by Cézanne where we saw the articulated doll that he used for female figures.  He was shy of women and so did not employ them as models.  Also on display were a number of artefacts used in his paintings such as skulls and a dish.  There was also the tall ladder which he used to paint objects from different perspectives. Cézanne liked to paint outside and was able with the aid of his gardener to put his ladder out through a window.  The Montagne Sainte Victoire situated behind the town was painted almost obsessively by Cézanne.  He died from pneumonia after working in a storm.

Our informative guide then led us around the town and into St Sauveur Cathedral which Cézanne attended daily.  The Baptistery dates from the 5th century when baptism was for adults and involved full immersion.  Our guide told us that the orientation of the Baptistery allowed candidates to enter from the west, the dark side, and move to the east after immersion and thus into the light.

After lunch most of us visited the Musée Granet where Sue Jenkins provided information regarding the works on show by use of the Whispers.

A comparatively early return led to a few of us using the hotel pool.  The usual complimentary glass of wine on the terrace was taken before another lively, noisy dinner.


                                                                          Chapter 4


A scenic drive along the Corniche took us to Antibes, an important trading post since the 5th century, but now a select resort with the yachts to prove it. Once there we visited the Picasso Museum housed in the Chateau Grimaldi which was used for six months as a studio by Picasso in 1946. 

The museum houses works by Picasso, Leger and Miro.  Picasso had been invited to produce large works but the walls were crumbling and so he was forced to paint on cement boarding.  He used household paints to overcome the problems of the material.

After lunch we left for Biot to visit the Musée Fernand Leger.  Not everyone visited but those that did were able to see the bright primary colours used in the mosaics, stained windows and the paintings of tubular people:  a 'chacun à son gout' and it was very much to this writer's taste.  Our final visit was to Vallauris, famous for its craftsmen potters where Picasso chose to live in 1947. 

Then a quick return to the hotel along the motorway meant there was time for packing prior to the usual glass of wine on the terrace and another lively dinner. 


                                                                         Chapter 5


Our final day was spent in Nice where we visited the Musée Matisse in Cimiez which is devoted to the works of Matisse and is set in a part with Roman remains. 

This was our last chance to benefit from Sue's knowledge via the Whispers.  Didier dropped some people after this visit at the Chagall museum whilst others were dropped in Nice old town to find lunch before our return to the airport.

We had a most enjoyable and interesting time in Provence learning about the painters who made it their home. 

Many thanks to the indefatigable Alvi for organising the holiday and staying cheerful throughout and of course to Sue who endeavoured to educate us.

                                                   John Elam

       A huge thank you to Alvi Shaw and
Tim Green for their splendid photographs.


                                                   And now for news of holidays in 2015:

  Sicily has been chosen for our holiday abroad in the autumn.  Sicily really is one of the most interesting and surprising places in Europe. Anyone with an eye for culture, a scintillating history going right back to Greek and Roman times, wonderfully preserved archaeology, an extraordinary volcano, superb wine and food, a beautiful coastline and wall to wall sunshine will love it.  Sicily is famous as the melting pot between east and west with invasions from the Greeks, Normans, Phoenicans and the Moors, with living proof of this everywhere.
Editor's Note - don't miss this opportunity to go.  I write the above as one who has been there and seen it for myself.  Book now before all the places are taken.

              The Splendours of Sicily: Wednesday 19th - Sunday 26th September 2015



All details of the trip are on the Holidays Page of this website. Just click on the fifth title at the top of this page to get to it.

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. 

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


               Our spring holiday from Sunday 29th March to Wednesday 1st April 2015 is to the
                                                         Derbyshire Dales and Peaks


The Derbyshire Dales and Peaks are a most beautiful part of England, some of it  an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  We shall enjoy four delightful days exploring the area. 

          Alvi Shaw 0118 940 3147


 Our last Day Visit of the Year was an Expedition to London on Thursday 2nd October to visit    
    The Nooks and Crannies of Southwark, in the company of the ebullient Mr Andrew Davies



In the Footsteps of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens and a general potted history of the area, the walk, led by Andrew Davies, summed up the 4 Ps ..... Pubs, Playhouses, Prisons and Prostitutes .......

For those of the 50 people on this trip who were not familiar with this part of London, the Southwark walk produced a constant source of surprises and wonder.

Playhouses and Shakespeare :  we met at the New Globe Theatre, but soon were led to the site of the original Globe Theatre, a short walk away.

Pubs and Prisons and Dickens. We walked through a labyrinth of lanes, wharfs and pubs, familiar to Dickens including  Little Dorrit's house, and on to the last surviving wall of the old Marshalsea Debtor's Prison where Dickens' parents spent several years.

Prostitutes, known in the Victorian period as "Winchester Geese", were prolific in  this area at the time.  However the poor hapless women, ultimately vilified, were buried in a small unconsecrated graveyard which today is under constant threat from building developers. The gate into the site is bedecked and festooned with ribbons and flowers and tributes to the sad "fallen women". 
We were constantly in the shadow of the Shard and wandered by contrast into the stunning interior of the Hop Exchange building, the magnificent Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market and  Guys Hospital Chapel off Borough High Street, along which Chaucer and his followers travelled. Andrew constantly drew our attention to the various buildings on both sides of the Thames pointing out the contrasting architecture from the Christopher Wren buildings and on through the different eras to the ultra modern buildings of Foster and Rogers that seem somehow to blend and merge in a wonderfully changing skyline.  All in all a marvellous day.

                                           Shirley Arber


                           News from Heritage Volunteers: The Henley HEDFAS Bookies

                     Campion Hall

            Oxford Union Library

             Christ Church College

                       Stonor Park

    Lincoln College
   Henley has a long and proud record of book conservation work. By the 1990s we were working at Worcester College, then to Campion Hall, the Oxford Union Library, Christ Church College, back for a second time to Stonor Park and now in 2014 we are settled in for at least the next two years at Lincoln College Library.

I started in 2000 at The Oxford Union, which unlike the other libraries is an active ‘lending library’ as well as a holding library of both old and rare books and pamphlets. In those far off days Margaret Baily was Chief Bookie and kept us up to the mark in following the strict routines and procedures required in cleaning and repairing books that are fragile and sometimes extremely valuable.  Many are written in Greek, Latin or Hebrew and any bookie with the skill to decipher even the title page is a most welcomed addition to the team. The temptation with books and pamphlets in English is to read rather than repair! Many an interruption has been caused by reading aloud fascinating snippets from political, social, religious and scientific thinking of the past.

We moved on to Christ Church in May 2004. Christ Church library is a magnificent 1770’s building complete with contemporary library furniture and holds 40,000 books. It is vast and cavernous and before its renovation in 2009 was the coldest work place this side of the South Pole! We started as the junior partners with Abingdon & Witney and Cotswold DFAS groups but very early on Henley took the lead under the unifying leadership of Judy Deppe. The diversity of the books we worked on made our four year stint a great ‘learning experience’ as the modern jargon puts it.  Not only were we cleaning and recording but our repair work ranged from the routine tears and splits in the ageing leather boards to intricate page tears and the making of boxes and book shoes. Our stay was drawn to a close when the major refurbishment started.

In 2010 we returned to the warm, sunny work room of Stonor Park at the invitation of  Lord & Lady Camoys.  Here the private family library gave a fascinating window into the threats and challenges facing one of the principal Roman Catholic families of England from the height of their persecution through to modern times. Some of the books & pamphlets have no named author, nor printer for the simple reason that to lay claim to such material meant a heavy fine, imprisonment or even death. Family prayer books and devotional works, alongside nineteenth century plays and entertainments written by the family for performances with other local families gave an endearing almost ‘Jane Austen’ glimpse into the life of that time.

Ann Lincoln took over the leadership role from Judy while at Stonor and with her keen finger on the pulse of opportunity we won, from strong opposition, the opportunity to work at Lincoln College in 2013.  Founded in 1427, the library has always been significant and is now housed in the converted All Saints Church in Turl Street. Sadly at this point Ann Lincoln bowed out and I have taken on the leadership role. We have now spent a year in the Senior Library focused on cleaning the valuable collection of books left to the College, since its foundation, by different generations of Fellows and supporters. This October we had another of our periodic retraining sessions with Caroline Bendix, perhaps the leading UK book conservationist, the senior advisor to the National Trust and to many of the country’s major libraries. The Henley HEDFAS bookies team, reinvigorated with new talent, is now back to the complex and satisfying work of conservation repairs.

We are looking for up to three new recruits. Good eyesight, a steady hand, a cheery nature, a willingness to work in a disciplined way and commitment to give us one Monday in three is all that is required! Do please make contact on
07776 160812.                              Hugh Fitzwilliams          

  Hugh Fitzwilliams

               Judy Deppe

                 Ann Lincoln

         All Saints Church


     Lincoln College Library

                                   Young Arts Scores Again for the Fourth Year Running!

Alex Harding's picture

 Georgina Dale's picture

This year our September lecture was a very special day, not just for HEDFAS, but for four exceptionally gifted young A level art students, three from Henley College and one from The Piggott School. In conjunction with HEDFAS Young Arts, the work of these four Sixth Form students was chosen to be put forward for a national competition organised by NADFAS.  In recognition of this Diana Hadaway, Vice President of HEDFAS, presented Alex Harding, William Totman and Georgina Dale (all Henley College students) with a prize of £50 each and a Certificate of Excellence, at the start of our afternoon lecture. Eleanor Day (The Piggott School) was unable to be present so her prize was sent to her.

NADFAS, in conjunction with the Royal Society of British Artists, has organised their fifth annual exhibition, to be held at the Mall Galleries in London in March 2015.  

This year 52 NADFAS Societies submitted 370 art works from 89 schools for inclusion in the exhibition. The RBA Council chose just 20 pictures from all those put forward - so they had difficult choices to make. These pictures will be hung alongside professional artists and the successful students will have the title RBA Scholar during the exhibition itself. The exhibition is open to all, especially members of HEDFAS.


Early in November NADFAS informed us that Eleanor Day's picture had been selected for the exhibition. Very many congratulations to Eleanor. This is the fourth year running that a picture from HEDFAS has been selected.  We are unbelievably delighted and proud of our young artists. 


 William Totman's picture

 Eleanor Day's picture

On 11th November we had an inspiring Study Day, superbly crafted by Ms Vivien Heffernan 
               and dramatically assisted by Edmund Kingsley reading passages from Shakespeare.
 Murderers, Magicians, Madmen and Monarchs: Shakespeare through Artists' Eyes


  On Tuesday 11th November we spent a memorable Study Day with Vivian and Edmund looking at artists who have been inspired by Shakespeare.

Vivian started,  most appropriately for the day, 11th November, with matters of war and remembrance, with Richard III.  Through the plays we were able to explore paintings by major artists such as Hogarth, Turner, Fuseli, John Singer Sargeant , Millais and William Blake.  The experience was given more depth and meaning by Edmund’s readings of some of the great speeches.  Our final play was The Tempest, and reconciliation.  The day ended with a palpable buzz of excitement from the member                          Una Murray-Wood


                                     A Very Special Day for our Church Recorders:
          The Presentation of the NADFAS 'Record' to St Mary's Church, Henley-on-Thames
                                                              on Sunday 16th November
                                            Members of the Church Recorders team from Henley and Goring DFAS
                                     who have worked on this project together for nearly seven years to bring it to fruition



There was a festive air present on Sunday 16th November 2014 when the Church Recorders team presented the completed ‘Record’ of St. Mary the Virgin Henley-on-Thames to the Rector & Church Wardens, thus becoming one of approximately 1750 Parish church ‘Records’ completed by NADFAS.

Henley DFAS were joined by members of Goring DFAS for this project under the umbrella of NADFAS and together became an effective, efficient and friendly group of 25 people.

From the outset this inexperienced group were aware that we were undertaking a huge project which needed great patience and attention to detail, however as leader of the team I am confident that we rose to the challenge and the resulting ‘Record’ is quite beautiful and much admired by the Rector and congregation.   The 9.30am Sung Eucharist concluded with celebratory drinks and a splendid cake which was much enjoyed by all.   This was a fitting close to the proceedings.

It is hoped that some members of the team may begin work on a ‘Church Trail’ in the New Year.                              Geraldine Crippen


                      Some of the pictures contained within the Record are on the Church Recording page of this website. 
                       Please click on Church Recording at the top of this page and scroll down a short way to find them.

 Animated Christmas tree animation with flashing lights

  And finally, we had a wonderful Christmas Party
                              on 5th December 
                  for our last reunion of the year.

 Animated Christmas tree animation with flashing lights


To celebrate the start of Christmas, the Chairman and Committee of HEDFAS hosted a most splendid party at Badgemore Park Golf Club on Friday 5th December. 

It was a truly memorable occasion attended by over 100 people and there was much merriment and joyous laughter as we all mingled with one another, chatting and making new friends. 
Our Master of Ceremonies, Ann Downing, had organised a most entertaining light-hearted quiz which many of us thoroughly enjoyed. 

Did you know that in 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' the total number of gifts given is 364?  Or that Tom Smith devised the first Christmas cracker in 1846?   And in Victorian England postmen were popularly called Robins because of their red uniforms? And William Strickland brought the first turkey back to Britain from the New World in 1526? We were all highly amused by so many entertaining facts about Christmas.

Badgemore Park proved to be an excellent venue with a lovely room overlooking a very chilly but beautiful golf course.  The canapés were delicious, served by charming, courteous staff. Altogether it was a most successful occasion and the Chairman and Committee were so very pleased to welcome you all to the party.

                                           We do hope you have enjoyed this Newsletter, full of Christmas sparkle.  We look forward
                                                       to seeing you all again at our first lecture of the year on Thursday 15th January, 
                                                              Power, Propaganda and Men in Tights: English Art under the Tudors,
                                                                                               given by Miss Linda Smith.