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April Newsletter
Saturday 30 March 2019

Hello Everyone

Following requests from a number of our members, I’m pleased to tell you that our next lecture (Wednesday 10 April) is on Faberge. This is also very apt with Easter time fast approaching, given Faberge's famous easter eggs!

Our speaker, Nicholas Merchant, will tell us how Peter Carl Faberge took over his father’s somewhat hum-drum jewellery business, and, within a very short period, produced some of the most desirable objects to own, creating a reputation for the quality and ingenuity of his works, ones which delighted and amused the eye, and were in a completely different league to what was being produced by other craftsmen working at the time.

We will see photographs of the range of works created by this genius, including personal jewels such as tiaras, hard stone figures, cigarette cases, writing accessories and, of course, the famous Easter Eggs created for the Imperial family! 

Our lecturer, Nicholas, has worked for some of the major auction houses in London as well as running his own book business devoted to the decorative and fine arts. He lectures extensively in the USA, South Africa, Europe and UK, including the V&A, and is the Art Fund’s West Yorkshire Representative.

Before this lecture, I’ll be selling tickets for our next outing on 5th June, when we’ll be visiting Stratfield Saye (the country home of the Dukes of Wellington since 1817) in the morning, and then after lunch, on our return journey, visiting the celebrated West Green House gardens (National Trust).  

Stratfield Saye houses a fascinating collection of paintings and furniture, as well as the wonderful Wellington Exhibition which charts his military and political life, and houses his magnificent funeral carriage. And West Green House Gardens are a delightful series of walled gardens, surrounding a charming 18th century country house. The gardens have many original features, including a grand water staircase to the Nymphaeum fountain and a charming topiary garden where water lilies flourish in small pools. Beyond this there is an aviary and a dramatic new Persian Water garden in a woodland glade and a newly restored lake, with an intriguing collection of follies and fancies throughout the gardens.

Ticket price is £50, as this includes lunch (with food supplied by their farm shop) as well as tea/coffee and shortbreads on arrival. We will have the house and gardens to ourselves, and the tours of the house will be in small groups, where we will given an intriguing and informative insight into the life of the Great Duke of Wellington. Following the tours everyone will be free to have lunch and stroll round the gardens. We will then leave around 2:30pm, stopping off at the stunning West Green House House gardens on the way back, for a wander round and/or to enjoy a cup of tea - entrance is free to National Trust members (if not it is £8).

The coach will leave at 9:15am from King George V car park, arriving about 10am for tea/coffee. We will leave the gardens around 4:30pm to finish our journey back to the KGV car park, arriving about 5:30pm.

And if you’d like reserve tickets for this outing ahead of the lecture, please just reply to this email.

I am also planning an outing for 14th November - this is for an RPO concert at St Paul's Cathedral, with John Rutter conducting his own works. I've requested seats for under the dome. So if you'd like to express an interest in this outing, just let me know by replying to his email. Although I won't actually be selling tickets for this until the June lecture.

And finally I just wanted to let you know, especially those of you who came on our outing to the van Gogh exhibition on Thursday, that there is a new film just released about van Gogh called 'At Eternity's Gate', starring William Defoe as van Gogh. Unfortunately there are very few screenings locally, mainly at Curzon cinemas in London. But you can watch it on demand on the Curzon app if you have this on your TV (cost (£12). The DVD will also be released in May.

Well, that's most probably enough for one newsletter, so I look forward to seeing you on the 10th

Best wishes

Shirley