Canterbury Decorative & Fine Arts Society (CADFAS)

Please note : Due to the Coronavirus situation we have cancelled our April, May, June and August lectures.  We intend resuming in September with some programme changes – please see details for each lecture below. Thank you for your understanding.

Founded in 2001, CADFAS (Canterbury Decorative and Fine Arts Society) was the first NZ overseas member society of The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) in the UK. The success of the Society is built on the high quality of the monthly lectures which are given by lecturers of proven ability who are specialists in their field and are endorsed by The Arts Society. CADFAS is twinned with both the Harrogate and Brisbane River Societies, allowing for a regular exchange of programme details between the Societies.

CADFAS Programme Details

The lectures are held in the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street, at 7.30 pm on a Monday evening. They last approximately one hour and wine and sandwiches are served afterwards. Guests of current CADFAS members are most welcome ($25.00 per guest) and $15 for visiting members of other New Zealand DFAS Societies but we would appreciate their names in advance so name tags may be prepared. Please phone or text Jackie Watson 022 350 9547 or Libby Harrop 027 473 0028.


Members of CADFAS pay an annual subscription of $120 which enables the society to organise a programme of eight lectures a year which are chosen to inform, stimulate and entertain. Our membership is currently fully subscribed, but if you would like to join our waiting list, please email Jackie Watson ( to register your interest.

2020 Lecturer Biographies and Topics


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 2 March 2020

Guy de la Bédoyère is a historian and archaeologist well-known for his frequent appearances on Channel 4’s Time Team and his numerous books on Roman history and other topics for Batsford, Thames and Hudson, Yale University Press and others. Guy has degrees from the universities of Durham and London and worked for many years in the BBC. He also taught History and Classical Civilization at a girls’ grammar school for nine years. Guy has lectured to societies in Britain, the Gloucester History Festival and also in Australia. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.


In the last few centuries of ancient Egypt’s history this once magnificent nation was in decline, ever more dominated by the new Mediterranean powers of Persia, then Macedonia, and finally Rome. It is a remarkable fact that the majority of the most impressive monuments of Egypt, such as the temples at Philae and Denderah, belong to this last phase. The strange thing about Egypt’s invaders and immigrants is that they went ‘native’. They built temples in traditional styles and opted for mummification. But they created a bizarre hybrid version of Egyptian culture which appears in an astonishing form in the Western Desert, scarcely visited by tourists and even less now. This is where the Golden Mummies of Bahariya were found a number of years ago. Strange papier mache and gold leaf versions of the great royal mummies of a remoter past preserve the remains of people of Greek and Roman origin, but in an extraordinarily crude and hybrid way. This lecture places these remarkable remains in context and tells the story of their discovery in recent years. Guy has visited the sites and took part in excavations there.


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 6 April 2020 / Cancelled due to coronavirus

Christchurch Special Interest Session Date : Tuesday 7 April 2020 / Cancelled due to coronavirus

Marc Allum is a freelance art and antiques journalist, writer and broadcaster based in Wiltshire. He has worked as a specialist on the BBC Antiques Roadshow for 22 series and has appeared on numerous other television and radio programmes. Marc regularly writes for mainstream magazines and is an author, antiques consultant and lecturer. He has contributed to or written 15 books including the 40th anniversary Antiques Roadshow – Forty Years of Great Finds, which he co-authored with colleague Paul Atterbury. He also runs a fine art valuation and consultancy service.


An amusing and anecdotal collection of stories and personal insight from Marc’s 30 years in the world of art and auctions. From million pound pots to a lock of Nelson’s hair, this is a riveting romp through the life of a working auctioneer.


Part 1 : The Anatomy of Collecting | An intriguing journey through the history of the ‘cabinet of curiosity’ and the origins of our modern museums. Based on decades of personal experience – as both a collector and auctioneer – Marc’s talk explores some of the great collectors from history, including John Tradescant, whose collection founded the Ashmolean in Oxford, together with a fascinating insight into the alchemy, myth and folklore which inspired their curiosity.

Part 2 : Bring an Object | A captivating and spontaneous talk based on objects brought in by the audience, which in true Antiques Roadshow style, tests Marc’s ‘miscellaneous’ skills in translating all manner of artefacts into an entertaining and informative journey through history. From ceramics to silver, ethnographic items to militaria, Marc brings the objects to life with a mixture of anecdotes, humour and solid facts.

Venue : The George Hotel, 50 Park Terrace. Christchurch | Time : 9.30am – 12.00pm


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 18 May 2020 / Cancelled due to coronavirus

Dr John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and a member of academic staff at the SOAS South Asia Institute.  His PhD in History is from University College London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh. He publishes widely in the fields of British and Indian history. His biography of the Indian guru Keshab Chandra Sen – Keshab: Bengal’s Forgotten Prophet – was published by Hurst and Oxford University Press in 2018. He appears regularly in the Indian media and was recently a guest on BBC Radio Four’s In Our Time, discussing the poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore.


Before the British arrived in India, the Indian subcontinent was ruled by the Mughal Emperors. The stunning buildings and gardens they constructed from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century have left an indelible stamp on India’s architectural and cultural landscape. Mughal architecture fused elements from Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural traditions, and gave rise to some of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the world. From the Jama Masjid in Delhi, to the Taj Mahal in Agra, to the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, this lecture will take you on a tour of some of India’s greatest buildings, and provide insight into the historical contexts and colourful personalities involved in their construction.


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 22 June 2020 / Cancelled due to coronavirus

Lucrezia Walker is a regular lecturer at the National Gallery both in front of the paintings and in the lecture theatre. For the Tate Gallery’s Development Department she speaks to their corporate sponsors in their offices and at their private receptions in both Tates. She teaches US undergraduates on their Study Abroad semesters in London. She was Lay Canon for the Visual Arts at St Paul’s Cathedral 2010-2014.


Living and working in Montmartre and Montparnasse in turn of the century Paris, Modigliani embodies the quintessential image of the bohemian artist: handsome, impoverished, living hard, engrossed in his own distinctive mode of expression, dying young only to be celebrated after his short life ended.


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 10 August 2020 / Cancelled due to coronavirus

Shauna Isaac has been active in World War II art restitution for several years and has worked with families and government organisations to recover Nazi looted art. She set up the Central Registry on Looted Cultural Property and served as a member of the Working Group for the Holocaust Era Assets Conference in Prague. Shauna studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art in the UK and Smith College in the USA. She is a regular lecturer at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Her publications include articles for The Art Newspaper, The Times Literary Supplement and Art Quarterly. She is a contributor to the book Insiders/Outsiders: Refuges from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British Visual Culture.


The Nazis looted over 20% of Western Art during World War II, confiscating art from Jewish families and emptying museums throughout Europe. This lecture will provide an overview of Nazi looting by setting the scene in Nazi Germany, discussing Hitler’s obsession with art and how the Monuments Men recovered art after the war.  Several landmark cases will be discussed in detail, including Gustav Klimt’s celebrated Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and the stash of over 1200 artworks found in possession of the son of a notorious Nazi dealer.


Christchurch Evening Lecture Date : Monday 14 September 2020 / RE-SCHEDULED TO 19 OCTOBER AND BROADCAST FROM THE UK due to coronavirus

Christchurch Special Interest Session Date : Tuesday 15 September 2020 

/ SPECIAL INTEREST SESSION Cancelled due to coronavirus

Stella Lyons gained her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice. In addition, she attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios in Florence. In 2017, Stella was selected by The Arts Society to lecture at the launch of ‘Drawing Room Discussions’ in association with ROSL ARTS, hosted by Guardian arts correspondent Maev Kennedy. Stella runs her own art history courses and she is also a regular lecturer in the UK and Europe for The Arts Society, National Trust, Contemporary Arts Society Wales (CASW), Classical Education Forum, WEA, and several travel companies. Stella also works as an artist’s model for the internationally renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland.


During the 19th Century, Glasgow was known as the ‘Second City of the British Empire’. It was a vibrant place, a city which was growing – both industrially and culturally. It was within this innovative environment that the Glasgow Boys were born. The ‘Boys’ were a group of around 20 young artists who revolutionised Scottish painting by bringing it into the mainstream of European art. They rebelled against the elitist, Edinburgh dominated art scene, the artists they termed the ‘Gluepots’, and carved their own, distinctive paths. The Glasgow Boys were the subject of a successful Royal Academy exhibition, Pioneering Painters, in 2010. This talk explores their diverse, modern and inventive work.


Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak – John Berger, Ways of Seeing. A recent survey found that an average viewer looks at a painting in a museum for just 2 seconds. Why are gallery goers spending so little time interacting with art?
Paintings are often designed to be ‘read’, they contain hidden messages, secrets and symbols. These aren’t always obvious upon first glance. This course will help to arm viewers with the necessary skills to approach a painting in a gallery or museum, examine it in detail, and delve beneath the surface of the work. During the course we will ask pertinent questions relating to how we view paintings: What  makes a ‘masterpiece’? How much should we let an artist’s life story affect how we view their work? How do artists create drama and beauty in their works? How important is it to understand symbols when looking at a painting? We will draw upon a wide variety of artistic periods and movements, looking at iconic works from the Italian Renaissance, British 18th Century, French 19th Century, the Pre-Raphaelites and from the American 20th Century.

Venue : The George Hotel, 50 Park Terrace. Christchurch | Time : 9.30am – 12.00pm


Christchurch Lecture Date : Monday 19 October 2020 / RE-SCHEDULED TO 14 SEPTEMBER AND BROADCAST FROM THE UK due to coronavirus

Mary Rose Rivett-Carnac gained a 1st class honours degree in History of Art & English Literature, and an MA (Distinction) in Victorian Media & Culture from Royal Holloway, University of London. She has written several arts-related articles and is a guide at Dorich House Museum, studio-home of the Russian sculptor Dora Gordine, and at Turner’s House in Twickenham. Since 2007 Mary Rose has worked part-time for the acclaimed arts project, Art UK.


J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) is widely admired for his oil and watercolour paintings but is less known for his deep interest in architecture. The lecture recounts how he designed his own rural retreat called Sandycombe Lodge, an architectural treasure near the River Thames in Twickenham, south-west London. After suffering decades of neglect Sandycombe Lodge has undergone major restoration. We’ll explore Turner’s longstanding interest in architecture as revealed in his paintings and hear the story behind Sandycombe Lodge, including unexpected revelations made about his intentions during its rescue.


Christchurch Lecture Date – Monday 23 November 2020

David Maskill studied at the University of Canterbury (MA) and for a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. From 1993-2019, he was senior lecturer in Art History at Victoria University of Wellington where he taught courses on European art from the medieval period to the French Revolution. He has participated in both the Attingham Summer School (2010) and the Attingham Royal Collection Studies course (2017) for the study of historical country houses and their collections.


With the establishment of the Royal Manufactory of the Gobelins in Paris in 1662, France replaced Italy as the tastemaker for the decorative arts in Europe. The Gobelins factory brought together in one place the best Italian, Flemish, German and French craftsmen. There, with the benefit of unlimited royal patronage, they created exquisite furniture, tapestries, and silverware for one discerning client – the Sun King, Louis XIV. The productions of the Gobelins were the envy of the rest of Europe and every European ruler sought to imitate the Sun King’s taste.

CADFAS Supporting the Arts

New Zealand’s very first DFAS, the Canterbury Society continues to support a number of arts projects in the city.

YOUTH ARTS PROGRAMME : The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu delivers a Youth Arts Programme and CADFAS financially supports the transport for low decile school children to attend the programme, enabling school children to enjoy what is now one of the safest and most inspiring art museums in the world.

CHRISTCHURCH ART GALLERY MASTER CLASSES : In addition to the above programme Year 9-13 students are invited to take part in Master Classes at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu.  Students participate in one or more day long workshops led by an artist who features in the Gallery’s collection and exhibition programme.  Each workshop focusses on a different aspect of creating art and includes practical hands-on experience as well as looking at examples, discussions and activities to inspire ideas.

OBSERVATORY TOWER RESTORATION : CADFAS made a substantial donation in 2018 to the Christchurch Arts centre Observatory Tower Restoration Fund. Severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake, all major pieces of architectural masonry and other building materials were salvaged, documented and stored with the intention of restoration. A $10m fundraising campaign has been launched by the owners of the building, the University of Canterbury and CADFAS are pleased to contribute to the fund that will allow the complete restoration of the tower and star-gazing observatory.

Contact CADFAS



Chair : Judith Knibb / | Mobile: 027 348 1205 | Home 03 355 2098


Deputy Chair : Diana Holderness | Home 03 348 7866


Membership Secretary : Jackie Watson | Mobile 022 3509 547 | Home 03 312 6413