Bookham Decorative and Fine Arts Society

logogroupphotoSociety Chairman Brian Williams reports that despite the inclement weather, usually rain and the ever present road works around the village the evening lectures have proved as popular as ever with an audience of 150 + regularly attending throughout the winter.

Our lecture programme continues in May with a presentation by Guy Rooker ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Form with Function – A Surgeon’s Viewpoint’.  Guy comes to NADFAS not from the arts world but from the world of science in general and surgery in particular. He uses this knowledge through a world of art and specifically the remarkable contribution made to our understanding of the subject by Leonardo da Vinci.

The origins of armour worn by the European knight, ‘The Knight in Shining Armour Dressed: Art, Battle and Pageant’ is the June lecture by Nigel Arch. He shows how and why armour fell out of use on the battlefield and considers the concept of chivalry expressed in tournaments and elsewhere.  He relates this to the emergence of the interest in armour in the 18th and 19th centuries in poetry and painting and of the knight in memorials to the fallen of the Great War.

guildfordclockA non-technical and not-too-serious account of Mozart’s masterpiece, ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ is the final lecture in July before the summer break.  Jonathan Hinden who is a musicianwith wide experience as player, conductor and teacher explores the opera’s characters and story with musical illustrations on the piano focussing on the composer’s ability to express character and mood through music and with a brief look at the circumstances and context of its composition.

Our programme of visits for this year began in March with a look at two historic buildings on our doorstep.  How often do we walk past The Guildhall and the Abbot’s Hospital in Guildford High Street and wonder what is behind the facade?  Both are Grade I listed buildings of great importance to the town.  The former was at one time a courtroom and still houses the Council Chamber.  During our guided tour of the building we learnt about the history of the building which dates back to the 15th Century saw one of the finest collections of municipal silver in the country and viewed the High Street from the balcony underneath the famous clock.

The Abbot’s Hospital was founded in 1619 by George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury to provide homes for twelve single men and eight single women under the care of a resident Master. Behind the splendid facade lies the Upper Courtyard built in the style of an Oxbridge college.  Our tour included a visit to the chapel which has the most magnificent early 17th century stained glass windows and the Common Room where the residents meet for social occasions.  In 1984 a set of flats was built in the lower courtyard around a communal garden providing accommodation for seven couples.   The Hospital is an oasis of calm in the busy High Street and must be one of the most desirable places to live in Guildford – unfortunately only residents of Guildford or those with close ties in the town are eligible!

In May we are staying in East Anglia for four days to study the ‘Historic Houses and History of Suffolk’. This will be followed in June with a day visit to Waddesdon Manor when summer should have arrived and the Rose Garden will be in full bloom. 

During March we held an afternoon tea party for our new members at The Old Crown in Bookham and I am pleased to say 7 out of our 9 new members were able to attend.   We discussed our forthcoming program of events for 2016 and the work that we do within the local community.  Three longer term members also attended to put a non-committee perspective on the afternoon.  The Crown laid on a lovely spread of sandwiches and cakes and a bottomless tea pot.  I hope everyone had an enjoyable time.

We still have a few vacancies so if you know of someone who would like to join us now is a good time to encourage them to give us a try.   I will just reiterate that existing members can bring along a guest to our monthly lectures if they inform myself or another committee member beforehand.  There is a charge of £5 per visitor and visitors are restricted to 3 lectures per year.  Contact numbers for the committee are on the website

John Cook

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