Nelson Decorative & Fine Arts Society (NEDFAS)
The Nelson Decorative & Fine Arts Society (NEDFAS) aims to foster interest in and knowledge of Decorative & Fine arts, artistic heritage, culture and history. We are a member society of the UK-based The Arts Society which has a global membership of over 90,000. The Nelson Society provides its members with eight high quality lectures per year. Our lecturers primarily come from the UK where they have undergone a stringent selection process to qualify as lecturers for The Arts Society. Our lecturers are excellent speakers who deliver well-researched and illustrated talks. Recent lectures have focused on architecture, design, glass, fashion, porcelain, ceramics, artists, art and art history, sculpture and literature.
GOOD NEWS – WE HAVE A FULL LECTURE PROGRAMME IN PLACE FOR 2021
NEDFAS Programme Details
The Nelson lectures are held at The Suter Theatre, Bridge St on a Wednesday with a 6.30 start. The lectures are of one hour duration and are followed by a social time during which a glass of wine or juice and sandwiches are served. This provides an opportunity for members to meet the lecturer and other members.
Our 2020 lecture programme was affected by the Covid-19 situation, however we were still able to provide 5 of the 8 scheduled lectures; 3 lectures in person, 1 via live zoom at home, and 1 via live zoom at the Suter Theatre – so all in all not too bad in these uncertain times.
However, we would like to offer our returning members a reduced subscription equal to the 3 lectures we were unable to provide in 2020.
For returning members, the annual subscription is $85 per person, or $155 for a couple living at the same address.
Please download and complete the NEDFAS 2021 Returning Membership Subscription
For new members, the annual subscription is $135 per person, or $245 for a couple living at the same address.
Please download and complete the NEDFAS 2021 New Membership Subscription
The annual subscription covers the cost of venue and equipment, travel and accommodation for the lecturer, and refreshments after the lectures. Membership is limited to 180 members and a Wait List is managed by our Membership Secretary.
Please email forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members are required to advise our Membership Secretary if they wish to bring a guest. We regret that any one guest is restricted to attending just three lectures per year. There is a charge of $25.00 per guest. Members of other DFASNZ or The Arts Society (international) are welcomed to our lectures at a charge of $15.00. To enquire about membership or guest attendances, please contact our Membership Secretary.
Nelson Programme: 2021 Lecturer Biographies and Topics
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 24 February 2021
BArch (Hons), NZCD (Arch), Registered Architect (NZ), Fellow NZIA, RAIA, NZIA Gold Medal 2012, Alliance Partner Group GSA, Chair NZIA Auckland 2006-2008 Pete Bossley has an extensive reputation in architecture and interior design, with particular experience in galleries, museums and residential. He is known for several memorable buildings such as the Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa, the Sir Peter Blake extension to the National Maritime Museum in Auckland, many iconic houses throughout the country, apartment buildings and social housing projects. He has exhibited and lectured extensively on his work here and overseas. He has also taught architectural design for over 25 years and was adjunct professor of Architecture at Unitec Architecture and Landscape School. In 2012 Pete was awarded the NZIA Gold Medal, the highest honour in New Zealand Architecture.
ARCHITECTURE: IDEAS, THEMES AND OBSESSIONS
Pete will discuss the importance of ideas to underline good architecture, identifying themes which have run through 40 years of architecture, using projects from his practice as examples. Themes which have been developed over the years and in numerous projects include…
-Fault lines: architectural responses to the perils of living in a faulted land. This is not in terms of seismic engineering, but more of the narrative arising from our fragile geological situation, and how this awareness has generated ideas which have driven the design of architectural projects.
-Encampments: a series of projects which respond to the New Zealand landform by referencing the traditional courtyard house, modified to accept the power of our landscape, incorporating it in to the design of the houses rather than precluding it. Camp formations ranging from Roman military bases to kiwi campsites suggest the value of creating a large whole from a series of smaller pods. Other themes will include the importance of our skyscapes, natural light, balance and imbalance.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 24 March 2021
Arthur Tompkins is a District Court Judge based in Wellington. Judge Tompkins teaches the ‘Art in War’ component course as part of the annual Graduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Heritage Protection Studies, presented by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art in Amelia, Umbria, Italy, and has lectured around New Zealand and abroad on various aspects of art crime. In 2016 he edited Art Crime and Its Prevention: A Handbook for Collectors and Art Professionals, and in 2018 wrote Plundering Beauty: An illustrated history of art crime in war, both published by Lund Humphries in London. He is the editor of Provenance Research Today: Principles, Practice, Problems, scheduled for publication by Lund Humphries in London in December 2020.
STEALING BEAUTY: PILLAGE AND PLUNDER OF ART DOWN THE CENTURIES
This talk is a survey of the theft, displacement, plundering and loss of great works of art during war down the centuries. The survey includes the art work with the longest history of crimes being committed against it, the most-often stolen work of art, and ends with the surreal story connecting James Bond, Francesco Goya, the Duke of Wellington, and television licensing fees.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 12 May 2021 – broadcast live from the UK
Nigel Bates was the Music Administrator of The Royal Ballet from 2012 to 2020 and has been a performer for nearly forty years in and out of London’s Royal Opera House, including seventeen years as Principal Percussionist with the Orchestra. He has worked with many of the leading figures in the classical music industry and was also a producer for both the BBC’s Maestro at the Opera and Pappano’s Classical Voices documentary series. He is a regular contributor to the printed and online content of the ROH. Nigel has given lectures for over twenty years, including arts societies and conservatoires in the UK and across Australia.
THEY MAKE NO NOISE
What is it that conductors do that makes orchestras respond in so many different ways? Is it a good baton technique? A strong personality? The way they look? Why are there relatively few women found on the podium? And why are the conductors paid so much more than anyone else on the concert platform? Drawing on history and his own musical experiences from well over six thousand performances and recordings, Nigel seeks out some answers. This lecture contains some rare video footage of conductors in rehearsal and performance.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 23 June 2021 – broadcast live from the UK
Dominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder and teacher. He specializes in the restoration of antiquarian books and the creation of contemporary fine bindings. He teaches bookbinding both in the UK and USA, and his prize-winning bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library. He is a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and President of the Society of Bookbinders. In 2013 he won the prestigious Sir Paul Getty award in the International Bookbinding Competition, and his winning binding was acquired by the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
THE WHOLE ART OF THE BOOK
Why was the best paper made from the worn out clothes of peasants? Why did leather have to be tanned outside the city walls? Why is gold leaf so thin that it is measured in atoms and cannot be touched with the hands? Why do printers have to do everything upside down and backwards? Why did gold finishers get paid more than other bookbinders despite not washing their hair? And why is the art of bookbinding itself, surely the most complex of all hand crafts, as beguiling and enchanting today as it was when it was invented on the banks of the Nile 2,000 years ago. This lecture is a ‘Through the Round Window’ for grown-ups, and tells the fascinating story of everything that makes a traditional hand bound book.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 4 August 2021 – broadcast live from the UK
Neil Faulkner was educated at King’s College Cambridge and Institute of Archaeology UCL. He works as a lecturer, writer, archaeologist and occasional broadcaster. Research Fellow, University of Bristol. Editor, Military History Monthly. Director, Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project. Director, Great Arab Revolt Project. Author of The Decline and Fall of Roman Britain, Apocalypse, Hidden Treasure, Rome: Empire of the Eagles, and The Ancient Greek Olympics: a visitor’s guide. Author of forthcoming Lawrence of Arabia’s War. Major TV appearances include Channel 4’s Time Team, BBC2’s Timewatch, Channel Five’s Boudica Revealed and Sky Atlantic’s The British.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: EXCAVATING A LEGEND
On the basis of sensational new evidence from archaeological fieldwork, this lecture will contrast the legend of Lawrence of Arabia with the true story of what happened in the famous desert war of 1916 to 1918. Is the legend a myth? Was Lawrence, as some claim, a liar and a charlatan? Or does legend reflect reality? Was he, in fact, a brilliant military commander and a sincere advocate of the Arab national cause? ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ is an early 20th century instance of celebrity culture. We will analyse the invention and re-invention of the legend from 1919 onwards through memoirs, photos, films, paintings, biographies, and documentaries. We will then contrast the legend with the biography of the man himself, focusing on key aspects of his early years and his character, and using archaeology as the basis for a detailed examination of the role which made him famous – his participation in the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 8 September 2021 – broadcast live from the UK
Nicholas Merchant’s career has mirrored his abiding interest in antiques. He 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. His particular interest is English 18th century furniture and country houses; he enjoys discussing objects, particularly in their historical context. He lectures extensively in the USA, South Africa, Europe and UK, including the V&A, as well as for the principal cruise lines. He is the Art Fund’s West Yorkshire Representative. He arranges specialist short breaks for collectors and a range of prestigious clients including groups of The Arts Society who enjoy visiting the treasures of the UK.
EILEEN GRAY: AN IRISH REBEL
Imagine, late 19th century Southern Ireland, a young girl of “good family”, living in an 18th century mansion, a tranquil rural existence. It sounds idyllic, the sort of life colour supplements write about with floods of purple prose. This was the life of the subject of this lecture, as the 19th century drew to its close. In 1900 Eileen’s Mother took her to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and as the saying goes “she never looked back”. An imaginative, and determined girl, Eileen was determined not to see Enniscorthy again. She enrolled in the Slade School of Art, progressed to learn the true art of lacquer in Paris and after the First War became one of Paris’s most recherché and sought-after designers. Not for her the stuffed Victorian furniture of her home but for her, what we now call, “cutting-edge” design. In her studio in the rue Bonaparte she created works which rivalled all the great 20th century furniture makers of Paris. The Art Deco Exhibition of 1925 was the turning point of her life when the world became aware of her. Ever restless, she built in the late 20’s an extraordinary house at Roquebrunne which became the envy of one of the best- known architects of the period, Le Corbusier. This is a fascinating story of the girl from Enniscorthy, who became one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 13 October 2021
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.
FROM AN ISLAND IN THE ANTIPODES: RECENT ART OF AOTEAROA
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.
Nelson Lecture Date : Wednesday 15 March 2021
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.
DÉJEUNER SUR L’HERBE…
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.
NEDFAS Supporting the Arts
In 2019 our members were very fortunate to have Julie Catchpole, Director of the Suter Gallery, offer our members an exclusive viewing of Royce McGlashen’s exhibition ’70 for 70’. This tour preceded Ian Swankie’s lecture ‘Pots and Frocks – the world of Grayson Perry: From Essex Punk Potter to Superstar National Treasure’.
From this exhibition NEDFAS presented two Royce McGlashen plates to the Suter Collection. The title of the exhibition ’70 for 70’ referred to Royce’s 70th birthday as well as the challenge to himself to create 70 ‘plates’; the plates and paintings reflected on his inspirations, and in some cases on his own development in ceramics. Royce and his wife Trudie attended the viewing and contributed towards the discussion of his work. The tour was well attended by our members.