Summer 2024 Lunch

Tuesday 11th June 2024

We have booked a Summer Lunch at Middlethorpe Hall in June. This seems a much more attractive time of year to arrange a lunch. The gardens will be at their best and we shall have the Oak dining room exclusively for us. The meal will be reasonably  priced, and it will be an excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Posted by John Finn in Events, News, Visits | Study Days

April 14, 2024 – News from the Chair

The Arts Society York


Supporting Decorative & Fine Arts
President: Mr George Smith, MBE
Ms H S Byard
Mrs P N Crookenden
Mrs R F B Wivell
From: Chairman
Helen Gregory
The Old Orchard
18 Woodlands Grove
York YO31 1DL
01904 430844 / 07770 685701

14 April 2024

Dear Member,

I am sorry if you feel you are getting more mailings from me than the postman! However, with the venue changes communication is important and the AGM is on 23rd April.  The reports for this have been sent and the Financial Report will be arriving soon.


There has been lots of information about this; it is really important to register your car number on arrival on the screen in our lecture room. You have 3 hours free parking. If a demand is wrongly received from the parking company, as one or two members did after the last meeting, all you have to do is send a copy of the letter to  and she will cancel it.

An extra 2 hours is £1.50 but you must pay for this at the reception desk before you leave.


As you are aware we are able to use the room opposite our meeting room for booked lunches and have chance to sit with other members for sandwiches and coffee. This is a special arrangement for the meetings.

The sandwiches are £8.00 and tea/coffee £3.75 per person. This must be booked in advance
before April 17th with Joanna Finlay at
Please pay by BACS if possible to The Arts Society York - sort code 40-52-40 a/c 00016815 ref -LUNCH.

Joanna kindly offered to add this responsibility to her workload which we really appreciate.


If you wish to eat in the bar area, the food must be purchased there and you should speak to the staff if you have any allergies



This tour has been arranged in response to requests for an opportunity to explore in greater depth the contents and gardens saved by King Charles for the nation.

We shall have experts in their field to guide us on a Chippendale Tour, Art Tour, Clocks and Mechanical Tour and also have the opportunity to visit the Elizabethan Walled Garden.


A visit to Sicily has been rearranged for 2025 and spring will be a perfect time to see the beautiful Island.
It will also be slightly cheaper for the single supplement than the one previously arranged for this Autumn.

The itinerary includes a tour of Mount Etna and then travel to Palermo which is a beautiful city.
Marsala will be tasted at a well known winery and the stunning mosaics at Monreale will astound us.
Delicious meals and tips are included as usual and a knowledgeable guide will accompany us throughout which makes this a very good value holiday.

Joanna Finlay has all the details of these visits and it is advisable to book early to ensure a place:


Carole Galpin organised our very successful visit to the M&S Archives and the Brotherton Gallery in Leeds and has planned two further Special Interest Days:


A DAY OUT IN EAST YORKSHIRE    Thursday 23rd MAY 2024

Coach leaves York (Memorial Gardens) 9.30am  Returns 4.00pm 

Cost £52 includes coach, entry to both houses and tea

A visit to two fine Historic Houses


This is a most interesting house east of Beverley (not to be confused with Burton Agnes).

It has been home to the Constable family for over 700 years. There are many grand rooms, exquisite furniture and collection of country house paraphernalia including a display of some weird curiosities from around the world. The 300 acres of parkland are the best documented design of a landscape by Capability Brown.
A coach has been arranged and a light lunch will be available in the Stables cafe.


This is a fine Regency house with gardens and parkland. We shall have a private tour of the house and tea will be served in the walled garden conservatory



Coach leaves York 9.30am   (Memorial Gardens) Returns 5.30pm 

Cost £65 includes coach, entry to all venues and lunch


Bishop Auckland has been transformed owing to the magnificent muti-million pound investment by the philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer, who was born in Stokesley



This is one of the best preserved palaces with splendid Gothic rooms and a private chapel.
The fine collection of Zuberon paintings saved by Jonathan Ruffer from being sold at auction are on display in the Castle.


This is the only UK gallery devoted to the art, history and culture of Spain. It was officially opened by the Queen of Spain and Prince of Wales in 2022. Works by El Greco and Velasquez are among those on display.


Opened in 2023, this unique museum looks at how faiths impacted on Britain over 6,000 years.
Carole will have booking forms for both visits on Tuesday or you can contact her on


AGM 23rd April

The AGM will start at 12.00 before the lecture and our President George Smith is planning to chair the meeting, for which we are very grateful.


These are due on May 1st and as I mentioned in my report will stay at £60 per member which is the same as last year.
If you have a Direct Debit, can you please check that it is for the correct amount? BACS payments are also a help to Rose, our Treasurer "Reference -SUB".

Because of Charity regulations we are not allowed to take subscription payments on our Sum-Up credit card system, so if you don't use the other means of paying, then a cheque is fine but too many means we incur extra charges.


Next Meeting 23rd 1.15pm

The Chair – 2,000 Years of Sitting Down by Marc Allum whom many will recognise from the BBC Antiques Roadshow. This promises to be a very interesting lecture when thinking back how styles have changed over the years and many designs have become iconic collection pieces.

A recent exhibition at the V&A was very interesting and I am sure Marc will be happy to give an insight into the behind - the- scenes arrangements of the television show.


All good wishes,


Posted by John Finn in News

April 2024 – News from the Chair

The Arts Society York


Supporting Decorative & Fine Arts
President: Mr George Smith, MBE
Ms H S Byard
Mrs P N Crookenden
Mrs R F B Wivell
From: Chairman
Helen Gregory
The Old Orchard
18 Woodlands Grove
York YO31 1DL
01904 430844 / 07770 685701

April 2024

Dear Member,

Our next meeting is on 23rd April and is also our AGM commencing 12pm. You should have already received the Agenda, my Chairman's report and the Minutes of the 2023 AGM. The Financial Report is expected from the Accountants this week and will be forwarded to you.

I hope you enjoyed our first meeting at the Marriott Hotel and I am sure we shall soon settle in to our new venue. It is a bit of a learning curve working out the logistics of the meeting and we are aware that there were a few teething problems. Unfortunately a very few people received parking notices but these were incorrect and the hotel immediately cancelled them. We just need to be made aware of any problems and are pleased to let you know how supportive the hotel staff are. They are an absolute delight to deal with and nothing is too much trouble for them. We are very lucky to be developing an excellent relationship with Imogen Webster who is responsible for events.

I am attaching the instructions we gave out last month for procedures at the hotel. The most important reminders are:

1) Register your car on arrival

2) Pre-order lunch with Joanna Finlay 10 days before the meeting and pay by BACS if possible.

This is then available at the reduced rate in the room we have booked.

3) If you wish to eat in the bar area, this is a different arrangement and you pay for that at the

bar. It is also where you should purchase food if you have any allergies so that the staff are


News of other Activities:

The Danesgate Exhibition at The Council Offices in York produced some outstanding work by the children. It really was a display of many skills including different types of craftwork using wood, ceramics and art materials. May Townsend worked with the staff of the Art Department and our Society has sponsored the prizes. These are vouchers given to the prizewinners to enable them to choose their own art materials.

The Heather Foster Prize was awarded to a thirteen year old boy who explained how his painting depicted the experience of overcoming a difficult period in his life. His ambition is to continue painting even when he has left school.

Visits - organised by Carole Galpin

A Day out in East Yorkshire Thursday 23rd May

This an opportunity to visit Burton Constable Hall and Wassand Hall, both very interesting fine country houses. Burton Constable, home to the Constable family for over 500 years, is special and displays curiosties from around the world. It is an Elizabethan house with over 30 rooms, 300 acres of grounds designed by Capability Brown and furniture by Thomas Chippendale. It has been described as one of Yorkshires most spectacular country houses.

Wassand Hall is a fine Regency house which is still a family home with very attractive gardens. We shall have a private tour of the house and tea in the walled garden conservatory.

Discovering Bishop Auckland Wednesday 3rd July

Bishop Auckland has been transformed with the restoration of Auckland Castle, the Spanish Gallery and the Faith Museum. There is so much to see and the area around the Castle is very attractive.

It is a place once visited I am sure you will want to return. The Spanish Gallery contains many well known Spanish paintings, including the Zuberans, but also keeps up to date with changing exhibitions. Lunch is included in this visit and the whole day is one not to be missed.

Carole Galpin has organised both visits and has all the details so please join us.

Summer Lunch Middlethorpe Hall Tuesday 11th June

There has been a good response for the lunch and it is possible that we shall use the Oak Room and the adjoining Dining Room so that we can take more numbers.

Functions such as this do give us the opportunity to catch up with friends and get to know each other. I also urge new members to come so that we can welcome you in a relaxed atmosphere. It is very important that you feel part of the Society and get to know us.

Please see me (Helen Gregory) for further details and a booking form

Special Visit to Dumfries House 13th-15th October

Following our previous visit last year which was so popular, Joanna Finlay has managed to arrange a special visit for us to learn more about the contents of the House. We shall hear expert talks about the Chippendale furniture, Works of Art, Clocks and Mechanical items. These are in much more detail than in a usual guided tour. We shall visit the House on both days so you really will get to know it well and also have chance to go to the walled garden with the Head of Gardens or her deputy.

Joanna Finlay has all the details of this visit but unfortunately there is now only availability for people willing to share a room as all single rooms are booked.

Lecture on 23rd April after the AGM

Our speaker is Marc Allum who many of you will recognise from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow

His subject is The Chair 2000 Years of Sitting Down, probably something we have never given much thought to so I am sure there will be some big surprises with styles changing. There have certainly been some dramatic designs over the years and many have become collector’s pieces. You may have one!

Please do read the attached regarding arrangements at the Delta Marriott and soon I am sure we shall feel very much at home there.

All good wishes


Posted by John Finn in News

Lectures at the Delta Marriott – Important Information

Information about our move to the Delta Marriott Hotel York

Many members will remember the Marriott as The Swallow Chase with the saddle in earlier days. It is on Tadcaster Road (A1036); when leaving the City Centre along Tadcaster Road the entrance is immediately past the greenery of the Racecourse opposite Ainsty Grove.


There is a large car park but obviously spaces depend on the number of guests who are at the hotel. (Disabled spaces are on the left as you enter the hotel grounds)

For this reason until we know how it works it would be easier if possible you could “Car Share”. This would certainly help and also there are frequent buses which stop outside the hotel.

No 4 Bus Clifford Street (via the Railway Station and The Mount) to Acomb

every 16 minutes. Journey time 10 mins from Clifford Street

No 12 Bus Monks Cross (The Stonebow, the Railway Station, Askham Bar, Tesco)

every hour takes 16 mins from The Stonebow

Coastliner 843/840 from Scarborough/Whitby to Leeds every 30 minutes,

takes 15 mins from The Stonebow

Askham Bar Park and Ride does not stop outside the Marriott but goes to the Station

Obviously these buses also run in the opposite direction and if you check the stops you will know which is most convenient.

Parking at the hotel

This is free for the first 3 hours and then £1.50 for extra 2 hours and £3 for 3 hours.

Any excess payment must be paid to Hotel Reception before you leave.


Lunch Arrangements

A selection of sandwiches will be available with tea or coffee.

The choices offered will change at subsequent meetings.

Sandwiches are £8.00 per person and coffee/ tea £3.75

These will be served in a very pleasant room with round tables next to the lecture room.



to confirm that you plan to have the sandwich lunch to be eaten in the booked room

Payment should be made when ordered by BACS to:

The Arts Society sort code 40-52-40 a/c 00016815 ref: Lunch

Alternatively, if you would like to eat in the bar area you pay separately. However this does seem to take quite a time but if you just want a coffee/tea and a light snack that is possible. This doesn’t need to be pre-booked but as mentioned service can be a bit slow. You could always

have something after the meeting and even relax on the terrace in good weather.






Posted by John Finn in News


Chairman’s Report 2023-2024
During my membership of the Arts Society York there always appear to be challenges for the members of the Committee. Previously there has been the name change from NADFAS followed by the problems caused by Covid. This last year has been no different as it was becoming increasingly obvious that we should have to find a new venue for our meetings. It was apparent that the future of the Society was at risk owing to the increased costs of holding meetings. Also, having enjoyed many happy years in the Gimcrack Room, we had to move to the Ebor Suite. This had advantages but was not ideal. The Racecourse was unable to confirm that there would not be further increases in our charges. It is understandable that a business has to make commercial decisions and as a charity we did receive a reduced rate but decided that another venue had to be found.
Various alternatives had been investigated in the recent years but nothing was found to be suitable.
Luckily the Delta Marriott Hotel appeared to fulfil most of our needs. Obviously we need to make some changes to the way we organise our meetings and this has involved much discussion between the Committee and the hotel. However, the staff have been fantastic and a pleasure to deal with. They are really committed to ensuring our meetings are successful. Having only had our first meeting there we still need to settle in. The good news is that financially it has been the correct decision.
The major event in 2023 was the 50th Anniversary of the Society. This was celebrated appropriately at The Merchant Adventurers Hall in York, a beautiful setting on a lovely June evening where we were able to be outside in the garden. The Clerk and staff worked very hard to ensure a very successful celebration with wine and delicious canapes prepared “in- house” and we are so grateful for their support.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of York were able to be our guests and were very impressed by the display of the history of the Society which was produced by May Townsend, Susan Dudley-Smith and Susan Elliott. The Arts Society National Chairman and Florian Schweitzer also came specially from London for the evening.
As we return to normal activities it is good to resume holidays and day visits again. Already we have had most interesting holidays in Normandy and Ayrshire where we visited Dumfries House. These were organised by Joanna Finlay who ensures that all details are taken care of. The meals are delicious, hotels are well sourced and visits arranged to places of differing interest to appeal to everyone.
It is a very enjoyable way to get to know each other and make new friends. Also the holidays are good value when you consider what is included in the total cost. Joanna’s next visit is a return to Dumfries House where we shall be able to have specialist talks on the contents of this beautiful property rescued by King Charles. As members of The Arts Society, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
In her role of Committee Member for Special Interest Days, Carole Galpin has produced some very imaginative visits out. Derby Museums and Pickford House were a new experience for most of us and very impressive. The Marks and Spencer Archives in Leeds was another “find” of Carole’s.
It certainly brought back memories of items we knew from the past and amazing what articles used to be sold by the company in our youth! The Brotherton Library and The Burton Gallery also added to the enjoyment of the day.
Carole has further plans for a visit to Auckland Castle and also a day in East Yorkshire visiting two historic houses
Jane Ashby and Carolyn Haynes have been very supportive in their roles as Vice-Chairman which I really appreciate.
Jane has a huge task keeping the membership details up to date. She has to ensure that Head Office has accurate membership details There is much paperwork and record keeping involved. This takes many hours of her time as well as recording the minutes of the Committee Meetings which can be quite lengthy.
Although some members have had to resign for various reasons our numbers are healthy and new applications are being received. The support of members is really appreciated and it would be good to hear of anyone who would consider joining our Committee. We are a friendly team and even helping out at meetings initially would be very useful. Then you can get to know us.
Carolyn Haynes is to be congratulated on arranging splendid lectures. She has chosen inspirational topics and several have exceeded all expectations from what the title may have suggested. The range of subjects is chosen so that there should be something to appeal to everyone and these are planned well in advance. Already most of the 2025 programme is booked as the best speakers are in considerable demand. Carolyn, Jane and I recently attended the Directory Day in London which is where the accredited lecturers are given a very short time to introduce themselves. It also gives us an opportunity to meet potential speakers which is useful.
At this point I wish to thank Rose Xu. In fact “thank you” does not seem adequate for all the work Rose does. She works incredibly hard dealing with the finances. There is tremendous effort
in-putting all our financial transactions on a system which the accountants require. This involves every payment and debit we receive for all our activities. I urge you at this point to pay by BACS as much as possible, ensuring you put the correct reference for each payment.
The bank limits the number of cheques we pay in each month without an extra charge.
May Townsend is the Committee member responsible for Young and Community Arts providing tremendous support for Danesgate School which educates over 170 pupils aged 5-16 who have special needs. May liaises with the dedicated staff of the Art Department and we have been able to provide extra financial support. The Art Department had a sink which was totally unsuitable and so we decided to help. The most appropriate sink was expensive so we were delighted that Derwent Lions generously offered to help with the purchase. We are very grateful to the Lions for making this possible. The Arts Society head office also makes grants available for Community projects which May applies for when possible and these are added to our Danesgate support, particularly for the Annual Exhibition prizes at the Council Offices in York.
There was an unexpected surprise for us just before Christmas when I was contacted by the Arts Society Treasurer to say that head office had received notice of a legacy from the family of Yorkshire artist Heather Foster. In her will Heather had specified that the legacy had to go to a local Society for the promotion of art in the community. It was decided that one of the prizes awarded to the Danesgate Art Exhibition would be named the Heather Foster Prize. Heather’s family were very pleased with this decision and it has been awarded to a pupil from the school, who described to us how art has changed his life.
I hope members look at our web-site It is very impressive, one of the best! All the work of John Finn, who also produces the rolling slides each month which keep you informed of our activities. We are so grateful to John who provides the technical expertise which we need and he is a valued member of the team
Most importantly I wish to express my grateful thanks to George Smith MBE, our President.
I appreciate his advice and support of the Society. George has such a wide knowledge of the art world and he is a source of great knowledge and insight.
Helen Gregory
Posted by John Finn in News

Annual General Meeting 2024

The 51st Annual General Meeting of The Arts Society York will be held at the Delta Marriott Hotel, York on Tuesday 23rd April 2024 at 12.00
The Agenda for the Annual General Meeting is as follows:
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
3. Adoption of the Chairman’s Report
4. Hon. Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of the Audited Accounts
5. Election of Officers and Committee
6. Appointment of Accountants for the year commencing May 2024
7. Appointment of Hon. Solicitor for the year commencing May 2024
8. Proposal to increase the subscription fee to £65 per member per annum for the year 2025 (to remain at £60 for year 2024)
9. Any other business
The following have been nominated by the Committee
Chairman Helen Gregory
Joint Vice- Chairman & Hon. Secretary Jane Ashby
Joint Vice-Chairman & Lecture Secretary Carolyn Haynes
Hon. Treasurer Rose Xu
Visits Joanna Finlay
Special Interest Days Carole Galpin
First Aid & Registration Susan Dudley-Smith
Young & Community Arts and Noticeboard May Townsend
Committee member Anthony Hammersley
Posted by John Finn in News


This has been a year of adjustment after two years of uncertainty. We are gradually returning to pre-Covid activities although a sense of caution still prevails.
Membership numbers did decline owing to various reasons but I am happy to say we have had a very encouraging number of new members. There are also further ones who have attended as guests but intend to join as full members in May. They are very welcome and the Committee appreciates the support of all members.
As the situation returns to normality we have, as expected, had to deal with increased costs of hire charges for the Racecourse, the technical help at lectures, increased lecturers’ fees and travel expenses. We also have to pay an affiliation fee to the Arts Society for each member. Therefore it is unavoidable that membership subscriptions have to be increased and for this year it has to be £60 per member. The Committee has considered other venues but these do not provide the facilities or certainty of availability which the Racecourse offers.
Jane Ashby and Carolyn Haynes have been very supportive in their roles as Vice-Chairman, which I really appreciate.
Jane has a huge task keeping the membership details up to date. There is a lot of paperwork and record keeping involved. This involves many hours of her time and she also records the minutes of the Committee Meetings which can be quite lengthy at times. She does this with great patience and always has required information at her finger-tips
We have had some excellent lectures this year and Carolyn Haynes has to be congratulated on presenting a varied and attractive programme. Most lecturers are chosen from The Arts Society Directory after they have undergone quite a vigorous selection procedure. During Covid they had to present on Zoom but we are gradually returning to “live” presentations which are easier to judge.
At this point I wish to thank Rose Xu who succeeded Caroline Hepworth as Hon Treasurer. This is not an easy role to take on and Rose has worked tirelessly to acquaint herself with all the finances of the Society. I am very grateful to her for her hard work in managing our bank accounts and payments.
Joanna Finlay has planned exciting visits and these are an excellent way to have a holiday which is well organised with a range of activities – interesting houses, museums, art galleries, delicious meals and experience different cultures and ways of life. A well-trained guide adds to the enjoyment and we also have the opportunity to get to know each other better. The May visit to Sicily was a real success. In fact so successful that next year we may explore another area of this lovely island.
Joanna spends much of her time planning these visits and it was disappointing that we could not go ahead with the Manchester visit. The itinerary was really interesting and often it is only by visiting places that one discovers unknown treasures.
Normandy is our next holiday in June and we shall be based in the attractive city of Rouen.
Susan Elliott organised a Special Interest Day to Renishaw Hall, home of the Sitwell family who have lived there for over 400 years, so the history of the building and contents was fascinating.
Susan also took us to the Piece Hall at Halifax and Shibden Hall, home of Anne Lister and the setting of the television series Gentleman Jack.
Susan is relinquishing her role organising these Interest Days to Carole Galpin who will be assisted by Tess Finnamore. Carole has already put together a very interesting itinerary for our visit to Derby.
Happily Susan Elliott is staying on the Committee and will take responsibility for updating the noticeboard to keep you up to date with new activities.
I would urge more members to join us on these visits. We often have spare capacity and greater numbers help to reduce the overheads of such events. Everyone is welcome.
Our Christmas Coffee and Mincepie morning at The York Medical Society Rooms was very well received and an excellent opportunity for the Committee and members to mingle and chat to each other. Hopefully we shall be able to repeat a similar event.
Our Young and Community Arts project is being led by May Townsend and she has worked enthusiastically to support the young people at Danesgate School. The pupils have learning difficulties but the art work they produce is outstanding. Interestingly it was pointed out to us that, unlike many mainstream pupils who are often given a specific topic, these children are encouraged to display work which is of specific interest to them. We sponsored prizes for the exhibition they displayed at the York City Council West Offices last year and are also presenting the prizes for this year’s exhibition. Do visit the exhibition before it closes on 17th April 2023.
May is also working with the school for the craft department to produce a new bookcase for our library. This should present the books more safely for members to borrow, as well as supporting the craft department in gaining extra skills.
Susan Dudley-Smith is a valuable Committee member as she is a qualified First-Aider, joins Jane Ashby on the Reception Desk and accepts the guest bookings. Susan is always willing to help in other roles which is much appreciated.
We are grateful to John Finn for his excellent work in keeping our website current and producing the rolling slides shown at each meeting. This technical input is fantastic and certainly needs great expertise.
I must pay tribute to my predecessor Helen Byard for all the help and guidance given to me in taking over as Chairman. She set a very high standard to follow and put procedures in place to follow for the smooth running of the Society. Therefore, I am delighted that we are proposing Helen be appointed Vice-President of The Arts Society York. This is a well-deserved recognition for all the hard work she put into the Society during four difficult years.
My grateful thanks are also due to our President, George Smith MBE. George is a very supportive President, keenly interested in all our activities and always available to discuss arrangements and offer sage advice when approached. I value his wisdom and friendship very highly.
As you will see from our new programme we have an exciting year ahead. Our 50th Anniversary Celebration takes place at The Merchants Adventurers’  Hall on Wednesday 21st June 6.00pm to 8.30pm. The National Chairman Liz Woods will be attending and I hope as many members as possible will enjoy the celebration on what is Midsummer’s Day.
50 years is a tremendous achievement and hopefully with your help, our membership will grow to enable more people to enjoy and explore different forms of art available.
Helen Gregory
Posted by John Finn in News