Canterbury Decorative & Fine Arts Society (CADFAS)

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.


We are still challenged by the ongoing Covid-19 situation, however in 2021 we were able to deliver a full programme of eight lectures to members, either gathered at the venue or online at home.

For the first half of 2022 we do not expect to be bringing any lecturers into New Zealand from overseas although remain optimistic that this may change by the end of the year. However, we are still offering a full programme of eight lectures, and hope that we will be able to gather for them all at our venue. There will continue to be a mix of accredited The Arts Society lecturers from the UK (delivered by live broadcast) and a couple of New Zealand and Australian based lecturers – ideally with us in person. We hope that things will run smoothly but will be ready to adapt our programme arrangements if necessary. We will continue to deliver lectures directly to members at home if gathering restrictions require it.  


Our subscription for 2022 is $90.00 per person. Subscription notices are sent out in October and are payable by 31st October.

Returning members:  Please make payment by internet banking and ensure you include your last name and initials in the Reference field.
If you have changed any contact details please complete the CADFAS Membership Renewal Form 2022 and return to :

New Members:  Please download the CADFAS Membership Renewal Form 2022 then complete and make your payment according to the directions on the form.

Canterbury – 2022 Lecturer Biographies and Topics

Gregory O’Brien

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 7 March 2022

Poet, essayist, editor and artist Gregory O’Brien is a busy and energetic presence in both arts and literature within New Zealand. With one foot in the literary world and the other in the visual art realm, Gregory has been on the cultural scene for nearly three decades. Gregory trained as a journalist in Auckland and worked as a newspaper reporter in Northland before returning to study art history and English at Auckland University. Between 1997 and 2009 he was curator at the City Gallery, Wellington, and was awarded the Arts Foundation Laureate in 2012 and the MNZM in 2013. Greg has illustrated his own poetry books and has written three publications introducing art to young people. His artworks can be found on book covers worldwide and his poems and drawings were the basis for a winter fashion collection by Auckland designer Doris de Pont in 2006. He has produced books on artists including Ralph Hotere, Graham Percy and Pat Hanly and is currently working on a monograph of Don Binney.


Expanding on the artistic territories covered in his recent book Always song in the water (AUP 2019) and his forthcoming monograph on Don Binney, art writer/curator/poet Gregory O’Brien will explore aspects of the relationship between place, visual art and the written word in the recent art of Aotearoa/New Zealand  art. He will discuss the many ways that place–in particular the provincial landscape–has been a radicalising rather than a conservative force in this country’s imaginative life. Spanning the work of a number of artists O’Brien has written about in the past–among them Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Robin White, John Pule and Elizabeth Thomson–he will explore the imaginative possibilities of the landscape genre as well as signalling an evolving awareness of Oceanic realities that both challenges and enhances our understanding of these islands on which we live.

Caroline Shenton

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 4 April 2022 – broadcast live from the UK

Dr. Caroline Shenton is an archivist and historian. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives in London, and before that was a senior archivist at the National Archives. Her book The Day Parliament Burned Down won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013 and Mary Beard called it ‘microhistory at its absolute best’. Its acclaimed sequel, Mr Barry’s War, about the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster, was a Book of the Year in 2016 for The Daily Telegraph and BBC History Magazine, and was described by Lucy Worsley as “a real jewel, finely wrought and beautiful”. Caroline was Political Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library in 2017, has appeared at the Cheltenham, Hay and Henley literary festivals and on BBC radio and TV. Caroline’s third book, National Treasures, will tell the extraordinary and sometimes hilarious stories behind the saving of London’s art and museum collections in World War Two.


This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered on the other side of the Channel to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections to safety. Utilising country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, tube tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries, a dedicated team of unlikely heroes packed up their greatest treasures in a race against time during the sweltering summer of 1939, dispatching them throughout the country on a series of secret wartime adventures, retold in this talk.

Stephen Taylor

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 16 May 2022 – broadcast live from the UK

Stephen Taylor is an artist and art historian who studied John Constable as a post graduate at Essex and Yale, taught art at Felsted School and went on to became Head of Painting at The Open College of the Arts and course director for the Inchbald School of Design. In 2000, Stephen turned to landscape painting with early shows at King’s College Cambridge, Meisel’s New York and Vertigo in London. Now has pictures in private collections world-wide and his book Oak: One tree, three years, fifty paintings was featured in The GuardianThe New Statesman and on Oprah Winfrey’s website.


20th Century Interiors.  Before the First World War, the early homes of Frank Lloyd Wright and the designs of The Vienna Secession were exceptional, creative, attempts to square arts and crafts ideals with the industrial world.  A desire for a fresh start after the war appeared in all forms of culture. Art Deco offered a way of decorating modern architecture, and domestic interiors throughout society began to reflect ‘The Modern’. We follow this story in America and Europe, through post-war Scandinavian design and the back story of Ikea to the present day.  Designers and interiors include Adolf Loos; Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye; Alvar Aalto ‘s Villa Mariea; Jon Wealleans and Mr Freedom; Colefax and Fowler homes; David Hicks; Charles Jencks and Philippe Starck.

Sally Butler

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 27 June 2022 

Dr. Sally Butler is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Queensland, specialising in the areas of contemporary Australian art, contemporary Australian Indigenous art and cross-cultural critical theory. Sally is the author and curator of the 2007 publication and international touring exhibition titled Our Way, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Lockhart River and is one of the editors of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art. She was editor of the book Fully Exploited Labour, Pat Hoffie, 2008 and author of a book chapter on the Arnhem Land artist John Mawurndjul. She is also a former Associate Editor of Australian Art Collector Magazine. Other curatorial projects include Sensing the Surface, the photographic art of Carl Warner, and the Queensland/New South Wales touring exhibition Capricornia, Between the Sublime and the Spectacular – an exhibition featuring the work of another Australian contemporary photographer, Shane Fitzgerald.


The Queensland Art Gallery has become internationally renown for its ground-breaking series of Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, commonly known as the APTs.  These exhibitions helped to shift international focus on the visual arts from European and North American centres to those of Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore, Auckland, Vanuatu and Australia. Ancient visual traditions found new life in new media and the APTS captured their spirit of adventure and creation in dazzling displays that evolved from crazy art bazaar to sleek contemporary chic. What initiated these exhibitions in the early 1990s, and how have they impacted on Australian art, and art of the Asia Pacific region? This lecture considers the background and development of ‘Asia Pacific’ art and delves into the relationship between contemporary art form and cultural traditions in selected examples of the art.

Andrew Hopkins

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 8 August 2022 – broadcast live from the UK

Andrew Hopkins is a previous Assistant Director of the British School at Rome from 1998 to 2002 and since 2004, Associate Professor at the University of L’Aquila. Part of his PhD (Courtauld Institute 1995) on Venetian architecture was awarded the Essay Medal of 1996 by the Society of Architectural Historians (GB). A Fellow at Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti in Florence in 2003-2004, and in 2009 was the Paul Mellon Senior Visiting Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Amongst his many publications are, with Arnold Witte, Alois RieglThe Origins of Baroque Art in Rome (2010), and Baldassare Longhena and the Venetian Baroque (2012). 


Until her death in 2019 Gloria Vanderbilt was the most celebrated heiress of this extraordinary family, whose founders during their lifetimes had been the richest living Americans. Their astonishing residences designed by leading architects of the day were filled with art treasures and exemplify the long-lost gilded age of East Coast America.

Barry Venning

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 12 September 2022 

Barry Venning is an historian of British art with a particular interest in the work of JMW Turner, on whom he has published widely, including the volume on Turner in Phaidon’s Art & Ideas series, and several catalogue essays for exhibitions in the UK, Germany, Italy and Poland. He was the BBC’s script consultant on Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and has recently taken part (2013) in a BBC documentary called The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution.
Barry has also published a study of John Constable’s paintings. His interests and his teaching extend from medieval architecture to contemporary British art. He is currently Associate Lecturer with the Open University and lecturing on a freelance basis for The Arts Society, Christie’s Education and other organisations.


The USA has a magnificent tradition of Realist painting, but with the notable exceptions of Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth and Grant Wood’s American Gothic, American figurative painting has not always received the attention it deserves. The talk offers an introduction to, among others, the powerful late C19 realism of Thomas Eakins, the passionate inter-war social activism of Ben Shahn, the heroic ambitions of Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today and the work of the African American painter, Archibald J Motley Jr., who was virtually forgotten until the Whitney Museum of American Art held an astonishing exhibition of his work in 2015.

John Stevens

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 17 October 2022 – BROADCAST LIVE FROM THE UK

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. 


Calcutta was the second city of the British Empire and a hub of cultural and artistic production throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This lecture provides an overview of the arts (poetry, theatre, literature, song) and architecture of this extraordinary city, which was India’s capital until 1911. At the epicentre of the ‘Bengal renaissance’, Calcutta played a central role in shaping the arts and culture of modern India, as a huge variety of artists sought to interpret India’s classical heritage in new ways, and to combine this heritage with Western cultural forms. This lecture examines how Calcutta’s arts and architecture were affected by British rule, and explores the fascinating ways in which Indian artists viewed the British in India. 

Mary Kisler

Canterbury Lecture Date : Monday 21 November November 2022

Mary Kisler is an author, art historian and Radio New Zealand art commentator, having recently retired as Senior Curator, Mackelvie Collection, International Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Mary earned her master’s degree in art history and Italian at the University of Auckland in 1994. She has been a curator at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki since 1998, caring for a collection that spans from c.1150 to 1950, a large part of which is European art but which also includes a small collection of Indian miniatures and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. In 2010 Godwit published her book Angels & Aristocrats: Early European Art in New Zealand Public Galleries. In 2019 the Auckland Art Gallery published her Hodgkins catalogue raisonnée to accompany a major Hodgkins exhibition.


Whereas in 17th century Dutch still life painting, every piece of fruit or tableware was redolent with symbolic meaning, modern French artists preferred to paint their families, lovers, and friends, either enjoying a meal, or savouring a glance of wine in one of Paris’s new and exciting Café-concerts. This lecture explores the central role such images play within the development of European Modernism.

CADFAS Supporting the Arts

New Zealand’s very first DFAS, the Canterbury Society continues to support 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.

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

CADFAS , P O Box 36507, Merivale, Christchurch 8146