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Each month we have an illustrated lecture on an arts topic. In the recent past the topics have ranged from painting and ceramics to architecture and garden design – whatever takes our interest. We visit historic houses, gardens, art galleries and museums and hold study days when we want to look at something in more depth. We go on at least one cultural tour a year. Our goal is simple: to explore a wide range of subjects and enjoy ourselves in the process!
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One of the most derided towns in England, renowned for its dullness, Basingstoke is distinguished only by its numerous roundabouts and absurd Modernist architecture. Rupert explains that the post-war planners, who inflicted such features as ‘the Great Wall of Basingstoke’ on the town, were politically-motivated and bent on destroying all traces of its past. He reveals the nobler Basingstoke that is buried beneath the concrete, and the few historic gems that have survived the holocaust. Hilariously told, it is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, ‘What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns’.
Rupert Willoughby specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. He is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village. His most recent book – perhaps his greatest challenge to date – is Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture. Rupert has published numerous articles, contributes regular obituaries to The Daily Telegraph, writes histories of houses, occasionally broadcasts to the nation and is an experienced lecturer, whose repertoire ranges from the life and personalities of the Middle Ages to the world of Jane Austen.
Latest News & Reviews
The Arts Society Betchworth are organising a tour - Holland & the Dutch Masters - departing 6th May 2018 for 5 days, costing from £599. Currently there are a few places available on this very interesting tour. Travelling by coach from Dorking Rugby Club (where...
Sarah’s research into the position of women’s lives in Renaissance Italy, through the decoding of paintings, provided the platform for three best-selling novels. The search for the heroine in Florence led to ‘The Birth of Venus’ encompassed frescoes and portraits by Raphael, Botticelli and da Vinci.
It all feels far away now but we had a jolly introduction to Christmas Customs at the December Lecture given by Richard Box. We were reminded that if you’re sending someone twelve gifts at any time of the year, it’s best to consult them first on what they’d like! I...