News

Porto and Lisbon Visit Report

VISIT TO PORTUGAL 9th-13th SEPTEMBER 2018

Our trip to Portugal began with a delayed flight, with the result that we arrived in Porto late in the evening, checking in to the hotel in time for bed. It was a late start the following morning for a coach drive into the Douro valley, stopping at the Quinta de Marrocos. Our guide at the Quinta spoke excellent English and, as we toured the vineyard, she explained the history and production methods for port, before we sat down to a lunch which, appropriately, began and ended with glasses of port. It was interesting to see that the ancient barrels are covered in cobwebs, left for the spiders to catch the wasps and flies which are drawn to the wine-saturated wood. We returned to Porto in time for brief visits to the Cathedral and the Railway Station. The latter’s ticket hall is covered with scenic tiling, quite different from the tiles in Moorish Spain. Our evening culminated in a most interesting lecture on the Baroque by Nicholas Merchant, who accompanied us as our lecturer, explained the origins and reasons for this decorative development.

Tuesday began with a tour of the Gothic Church of San Francisco, decorated inside with somewhat OTT Baroque carvings. On then to the Palacio del Bolsa, the Porto Stock Exchange. A boat trip on the Douro River was an unexpected addition in the afternoon, and this allowed us to see the City, its walls and bridges from the water. A final visit was to the mirrored Café Majestic, a reminder of the belle époque in the centre of Porto, where we were able to indulge in Pastéis de Nata and ice-cream.

The following day began with a brief stop in Coimbra, a medieval town containing an ancient University. The drive continued up the mountains to Sintra, our driver negotiating the single- track road with cars and buses meeting us on the way down. Our destination was the Palacio de Monserrate, a fairy-tale castle, combining Moorish and Baroque architecture, perched on a hillside, overlooking a stunning garden, filled with enormous trees and shrubs, interspersed with ponds and fountains, and enhanced by lawns which dropped away to the valley. Exuberant, exotic and unforgettable. On to Lisbon, where we enjoyed Nicholas Merchant’s knowledgeable lecture about Calouste Gulbenkian and his legacy of the Museum.

The Gulbenkian Museum was, for your writer, the highlight of the week. It seems perfect: the size, the quality and variety – just as I was thinking that I had seen enough Roman coins, I turned the corner and there were Greek statues; there was French furniture, there were Turkish rugs, Moroccan tiling, Chinese temple lions. Triptych panels and galleries of Old Master paintings. To climax, cases of Lalique jewellery – amazing and beautiful yet unsettling as one examined it closely. There wasn’t time to visit the Modern Collection of paintings, housed separately, but that will just be a reason for another visit.

It was unfortunate that we did not complete the planned itinerary, due to breakdown in communication between the Portuguese guide, his company and our agency. Joanna Finlay worked extremely hard to ensure that we covered nearly all our programme, and she must be congratulated. We were able to get a flavour and taste of both Porto and Lisbon. The group was extremely friendly, everyone mixed well, and it was good to see that some new members and friends came on the trip.

Helen Byard

 

 

Susan Elliott

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50th Anniversary Celebration

50th Anniversary Celebration

The Arts Society York 50th

The Arts Society York and The Arts Society Ebor Celebrate Fifty Years of NADFAS

On Sunday, 24 June, the 50th Anniversary of the national society was celebrated in sparkling style with a garden party at the Manor House, Heslington, York.  Mr George Smith generously gave his garden for the celebration, and more than 140 members of The Arts Society York and The Arts Society Ebor enjoyed the beautiful grounds in glorious sunshine, while welcoming Julie Goldsmith, the National Chairman.  Members toasted the anniversary, and were delighted that a donation was made to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Last year, it was Jo Foster's excellent idea to ask George Smith if we could hold the anniversary party in his garden, and his generosity in giving us the afternoon meant that we were able to give a donation to his chosen charity. The garden looked glorious - a real tribute to all the hard work undertaken by George, Brian and David. I don't think that any guests went thirsty or hungry - mainly due to the efforts made by Helen and Conal Gregory, who worked incredibly hard to ensure that supplies of sparkling wine and elderflower cordial kept everyone's glasses full. Committee members from York and Ebor served canapes even unto the furthest reaches of the garden, and I think that everyone enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.

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Beverley Study Day Report

Beverley Study Day Report

We arrived by coach at The Treasure House, where we were met by a member of the Tourist Board who gave all of us a goody bag full of helpful information about Beverley.  After a restoring cup of coffee we were walked by our helpful guides from Beverley Civic Society over to the Guildhall were we were given a comprehensive talk about the beautiful old building and what had happened there long ago, and what it is used for today.  We then found places to have some lunch, with the help of the useful street maps from our goody bags, after which we all met up at the Market Cross where we were given a most interesting and comprehensive talk on the buildings in Beverley in the Market Square.

We then walked over to St. Mary’s Church and had a lovely tour of this beautiful old building, noting particularly the fine roof bosses and painted ceiling, and the very oldest areas of the Church. We were very fortunate to be given a cup of tea accompanied by delicious scones with clotted cream and jam at St Mary’s, before we went back to the coach, and travelled safely back to York.

Beverley is a charming and friendly town, and well worth visiting, and I think all of us attending thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Susan Elliott

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Newcastle Visit Report

Newcastle Visit Report

Visit to Newcastle 11-14 June 2018

Newcastle may be thought of by many in York as the city up the road that is just worth a day trip for shopping or the theatre. Those who went there with the Society may beg to differ. We began at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, located in a converted Flour Mill. Guided by MT, one of the Crew, to the viewing galleries we had a perfect view of the City and its bridges, as well as being able to see the kittiwakes, nesting on the Flour Mills ledge. MT explained that two of the galleries were being prepared for the Great Exhibition of the North, due to open in a fortnight, but we were able to tour part of the "Idea of the North" exhibition, which included thought-provoking photographs by the Amber Collective, documenting working class communities in the North-East from the 1970s to the present day.

Our next destination was a contrast. The gardens of Whalton Manor are a foil for the house, which is a listed building, roofed in stone tiles. We were fortunate to be guided by the Head Gardener, who explained the planting scheme and was happy to provide planting tips. Resisting the temptation to buy plants, we succumbed to the temptation at teatime of large slices of home-made cake. The Grand Hotel at Tynemouth provided our accommodation: an Edwardian hotel, built overlooking the sandy beach and dunes. Tynemouth is a centre for surfers as well as all those who enjoy the seaside. It was a short walk from there to the station and we used the Metro into the city centre for a busy second day.

This began with a tour of the City led by Pat, our blue badge guide. Beginning at the Grey Monument, we admired the elegant buildings and townscape developed by Richard Grainger in the early 19th century, before walking into the Central Arcade, then on to the covered market where the oldest Marks & Spencer stall still exists. Only one member tried the scales in the Weighing Shop – still operating daily for those who wish to check their weight for 50p - and learnt about the City’s "Chares", which in York would be snickleways. We ended our walk by the quayside and heard about Bessie Surtees, who eloped by climbing from one of the windows of her parents’ home in 1772. The house – and the window – are still to be seen. A rare treat in the afternoon was to climb into the organ loft of the Roman Catholic Cathedral for an explanation from the organist about the workings of the instrument and listen to a brief burst of a Toccata and Fugue by Bach. The organ and its balcony are recent innovations, the result of a generous benefaction, and they complement a most interesting and colourful building.

We ended the day with a guided tour of the pre-Raphaelite pictures at the Laing Art Gallery. Wednesday saw us on the coach to Jarrow, where there is the original Burtons factory (Burtons Tailoring, that is), and the Gin & Ale House. Both buildings are covered in early 20th century tiling, which has survived. The staff in Jarrow Town Hall kindly allowed us to see their Jarrow March memorabilia case, a sobering reflection of the difficulties encountered by communities in that area. Jarrow Hall with the Bede Museum and Anglo-Saxon Farm came after that.

South Shields Town Hall climaxed the day – completed in 1910 and built with confidence by local craftsmen and with the best materials. We were welcomed by the Mayor, Kenneth Stevenson, and his Mayoress, and by Fay Cunningham, a former Mayor, who shared her passion for the building with us. A tour of the Theatre Royal was the first stop on Thursday morning, and our guide took us from the gods to the pit as well as everywhere between – comprehensive and fascinating. On to Trinity House to hear more of the maritime history of the City, before we ended at the Anglican Cathedral, where it was good to discover that our guide, Canon Steven Harvey, was a former Chaplain at St Peter’s School. He proved a delightful and knowledgeable guide to the Cathedral. We returned to York exhilarated and exhausted.

Such Visits take a great deal of organisation, and Joanna Finlay must be congratulated on the variety of places that she chose for us to see. Visits are an excellent way for all members, whether new or established, single or partnered, to get together.

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Brief Review of the Year 2017-2018

Joanna Foster

We have all been on a fascinating journey with our lectures this year. We began in Hawaii, then visited Vienna, then we learnt how many ancient buildings have been destroyed in Iraq and Syria as a result of recent troubles. We were made aware of light in paintings, possible fakes and forgeries in art, how to appreciate antique furniture and the architecture of country houses, and finally we learnt all about a history of fashion in art.

In July we visited Burnby Hall where we were shown around the garden by the Head Gardener. Our September visit to Northumbria and the Scottish Borders was a great success; highlights were the visit to Traquair, the silver staircase at Manderston and the Pitmen painters at the Woodhorn Museum. 

Our October trip to London included a visit to the Foundling Museum and St Pancras Station where our guide Royden Stock was so knowledgeable. In March we visited Ripley Castle where we had a most enjoyable visit but sadly the rain did not stop all day. We had a most interesting tour of the Castle rooms and then a damp tour of the garden with the Head Gardener, Billy. 

Our Church Recording team continue to work at All Saints Pavement, York. We would like to thank them all for their dedicated work. Our Heritage Volunteer teams continue to work at York Minster Library, and further projects are being discussed.

We are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated Committee who organise all the events and visits. I would like to personally thank them all for all their kind help and support throughout the year.

As a result of the Extraordinary meeting held in October to discuss the change of name all members were contacted and given a formal vote. The result was a two thirds majority vote in favour of the change of name to The Arts Society York, supporting Decorative and Fine Arts. 

I have l enjoyed my time as Chairman of York Decorative Fine Arts Society. I have been on many memorable and enjoyable visits and interesting Study Days together with hearing some stimulating lectures. I have made some great friends and I would like to thank you to you all for your kind support and I wish you all well in the future

Joanna E. Foster

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NADFAS Rebranding 2017

The Arts Society

Some of you may have heard and read in the Review that NADFAS is in the process of being ‘rebranded’. The new name is ‘The Arts Society’. We are holding an Extraordinary Meeting on Tuesday 24th October 2017 at 11.00 am before our October Lecture so everyone can ask questions. Some members of the Committee of York DFAS are attending the AGM of NADFAS in Birmingham in May and hopefully we will have more information for you by October. We are not changing the name of York DFAS for the time being.

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Brief Review of the Year 2016-2017

Joanna Foster

We have had a series of fascinating lectures this year and we have been on a couple of most entertaining and interesting visits. You can read all about them in this Newsletter. I wish to extend my thanks to all the members of the Committee of York DFAS. They all work so hard to enable us all to hear some fascinating lectures, go on entertaining visits and extend our knowledge on Study Days. We also have a team of Church Recorders together with a team of Heritage Volunteers. We also need to thank our Hon. Treasurer, Caroline Hepworth, for her dedicated work on our accounts. We are all so fortunate to have Helen Byard as our Hon. Secretary. She efficiently organises so many events. I would like to thank Sue Burns for gathering material for our newsletters. Thank you to everyone involved.
We are looking for members to join our Committee. It is great fun being involved and we are very friendly and welcoming. If anyone with computer skills would like to help, please come and see us after
any Lecture.

Joanna E. Foster

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