Biblical Chocolate

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1 December 2021

Food and art through the ages

From Renaissance Sugar Sculpture to 3D Printing

Tasha Marks

A whistle-stop tour of the history of food as an artistic medium, starting with 16th century sugar sculpture and venturing all the way up to 3D dessert printing and beyond. A treat for those with a sweet tooth, as Marks feels the subject of food and art through the ages is most exciting in the realms of the dessert. This exploration of dessert as spectacle includes an accompanying display to illustrate and enhance this historic subject.


I found the lecture absolutely fascinating and quite a revelation; really knew her subject and my attention was rapt throughout. For the last 19 years I have totally appreciated being a member and pass on my grateful thanks to all who made it so enjoyable.

…we enjoyed the Food & Art Lecture. However, as a comment we thought the speaker spoke far too quickly, as if a race to get all she wanted to say in the time allotted. Not ideal for an ageing audience!

Tasha Marks’ approach to Food & Art Through the Ages was certainly unusual! She put it all across very well but I have to admit, I only have to hear the word installation to know that’s not for me! Some of the early sugar sculptures were just amazing, but I think almost my favourite item was the Orreo biscuit cameo which was brilliant.

I found Tasha Marks’ lecture on Food & Art through the Ages fascinating.

The Wayfarer

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Wednesday 3 November 2021

Beautiful, Beastly, Bizarre

The Art of Hieronymous Bosch

Paula Nuttall

Bosch’s paintings of nightmarish monsters, demons and bizarre allegories, have intrigued viewers for centuries. The meanings of his enigmatic paintings are unravelled and explained, while their beauty and inventiveness is also revealed.


Much to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it…thought Paula was an excellent lecturer…she brought the whole thing to life.

Excellent talk. I am not a fan of Bosch`s art…but I was interested to find out more and the speaker helped me to see him in context and appreciate so much more about him and his work.

That was a stunning lecture-enjoyed all of it-particularly the chance to see parts of the paintings up close. May we have her again as a lecturer?

Definitely one of the best lectures I’ve attended…(on zoom)

I thought the lecture by Paula Nuttall was excellent, one of the best if not the best I have seen from TASS.

Paula`s enthusiasm for and love of Bosch came through so clearly and it was lovely to have many of the small details and overall meanings of his strange but wonderful paintings pointed out.

Paula Nuttall gripped my attention. Selecting small details in the different works and revealing what images might allude to was fascinating.


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Wednesday 6 October 2021

A 21st Century Renaissance

Chatsworth and the Devonshires

Simon Seligman

Chatsworth has undergone a renaissance under the leadership of first, the 11th, and now the 12th, Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This portrait of the Devonshire’s treasure house in the modern age illustrates the extensive renovations, and the restoration of historic interiors and works of art. It includes work by modern artists including Lucian Freud, Elisabeth Frink, David Hockney and others.


…excellent lecture with clear delivery and wonderful pictures…watched on Zoom…it was very clear indeed.

The lecture was just brilliant and so well delivered, clearly without hesitation. He certainly knew his material and we enjoyed that thoroughly.

The Speaker was excellent and portrayed Chatsworth sympathetically and with enthusiasm.

Exceedingly good presentation by Simon Seligman with good images, well spoken

…thoroughly enjoyed the lecture…and thought the speaker was excellent. His enthusiasm and expertise were clearly communicated, visual material good and there were some interesting, humorous anecdotes. Thank you!

Simon’s knowledge from the inside gave a fascinating insight into the changes each generation has made to Chatsworth in order to keep it as both a family home and visitor attraction.

I liked the way it was brought up to date with the present generation’s interest in art and interesting to see how it has changed with the generations. Fascinating!

Wally Bird

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Wednesday 1 September 2021

Passionate Potters

de Morgan to Leach

Julian Richards

This lecture explores the lives of these truly passionate potters and celebrates their extraordinary and beautiful creations. William de Morgan, the Martin brothers, Sir Edmund Elton and finally, Bernard Leach, created a legacy that is still alive today.


We thoroughly enjoyed last week`s lecture…so did our 12 yr old grandson…

right blend of relaxed delivery and wealth of knowledge…

Julian was an engaging speaker…passion for his subject was evident..

Lecturer was very pleasant and informative.

Truthful when he couldn’t make a comment on a question…A joy to listen to.

…entertaining, fascinating and educational…a consummate professional.

…informal style and amusing…I enjoyed it but would have appreciated better images.

What a fabulous speaker…clearly passionate about pots.

…know nothing about pottery but enjoyed his talk as a way of opening my eyes to a different art form.

…knowledgeable on the subject…delivered without notes and no repetition or hesitation.

…lecturer was clear, interesting and amusing. Perfect…five star!

That is one of the things I enjoy most about being a member, the breadth of subjects covered.

The Holy House

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Wednesday 7 July 2021

Art Transported

How did it get here from where it was made? Who owned it before?

Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe

We love standing in a museum gazing at a painting by Titian or Caravaggio, but we rarely question where it was before it came to be in that museum, or who in earlier times stood in front of it and gazed, nor by what practical means it got there. This lecture will delve into the astonishing history of the movement of art works.


Very interesting talk-many thanks.

I enjoyed the content…She knew her stuff and her slides were very much part of her subject

I liked the part where we had a map of not only where it was transported but how many times it had been moved…The mind boggles as to how large items have mostly remained intact, after being transported so far and so often!

…most interesting-a totally different approach to “art” from other lectures. She certainly held my interest throughout.

…really enjoyed the lecture and admired not only the depth of knowledge but the apparently effortless presentation.

…fascinating presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to those who plan our programme.

I am sure most of us had not really thought about how works of art have come to be where they are…It`s amazing how much gas survived, although you do wonder how much was lost due to the hazards of transportation. Chantal put the subject across so well and the time just flew…excellent.

If I have a criticism it is that she spoke rather fast and it was not always easy both to hear what she said and to digest it. A good lecture nonetheless which I enjoyed.

Each lecturer has the ability to pull out pictures I have never seen before, which makes our lectures far more interesting, and gives us something to think about after the lecture.


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Wednesday 2 June 2021

Undressing Antiques

“Antiques. I don’t understand them and they’re beyond my budget. They’re not for me.”

Mark Hill

A persuasive introduction to buying antiques and integrating and using them in today’s homes. We look at what current and future generations of collectors of antiques are buying, why they are buying them and how they are displayed.


A very energetic and engaging lecturer

…he was jolly good – I was riveted

Bikini Girls Mosaic

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Wednesday 5 May 2021

Sicilian Splendours

From Greece to the Romans

Dr Paul Roberts

We look at the rich art, architecture and history of Sicily – the largest and wealthiest island of the ancient Mediterranean


Really excellent. I thought Paul explained the convoluted history remarkably well and the photos were excellent

I really enjoyed the lecture. I do miss the UK and its cultural life. ( I studied and worked in London museums from 2002 to 2012) and it was a pleasure listening to Paul and see again some of the places I visited in the 80’s.

The Zoom lecture today was brilliant. We were able to relive a fascinating trip we took there in 2003 when there were hardly any other people at the ancient sites.Thank you so very much for allowing us to participate from Toronto.

Thank you for that most interesting lecture on Sicily. When we were there two years ago we stayed at the Villa Politi Grand Hotel in Syracusa. It is perched on the edge of a massive quarry which we were told was dug by the Athenians. I now understand the history and feel very sorry for those unfortunate people.

…just listened to Paul Roberts’ lecture in total rapture. What an excellent lecturer he is…only wish I had heard it before I went to Sicily some years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture, which was excellent

Queen Elizabeth I. The Ditchley portrait

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Wednesday 7 April 2021

Foreigners in London 1520-1677

The artists who changed the course of British art

Leslie Primo

Why were foreign painters preferred by the aristocracy in London to native-born English painters? Why did foreigners come in the first place, what was their motivation, and what was the impact of foreigners in London on English art and art practice?


A really great lecture, which I much enjoyed, particularly the delivery.

Great lecture and very knowledgeable speaker.

Excellent lecture, very interesting indeed. Delightful lecturer.

I thought it was a brilliant lecture and a brilliant speaker! I hope he is asked back.

A superb talk, great speaker and very informative.

I enjoyed the lecture and I should be delighted to join Sherborne. Your lecture programme is outstanding.

I enjoyed last night’s lecture and, funnily enough, I thought it was probably better on Zoom than in the Digby Hall. One could really put one’s nose up to the detail of the illustrations, especially the drawings / etchings. Thank you all for organising another great treat!

I enjoyed the lecture yesterday. It was rather slow at first but got going into something interesting. The lecturer was very knowledgeable and obviously knew his subject backwards but some of the lecture I didn’t find easy to follow.

Luisa Casati - Augustus John

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Wednesday 3 March 2021

Two Women who Scandalised the Art World

Julian Halsby


“What an amazing zoom lecture from Julian-he’s usually excellent and this was no exception!”

“A terrific lecture by the always fantastic Julian.”

“Incredible to be shown so many stunning pictures in one hour…I gather Berlusconi now lives in the Marquesa’s house, so the scandals continue!”

“I enjoyed Julian’s lecture very much…I learnt a great deal.”

“Julian’s talk was AMAZING! Masses of information, photos I cannot imagine where and how he could find…so entertaining, one million congratulations!!!!”

Luisa Casati - Augustus John

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Wednesday 3 February 2021

Paradise Lost and Restored

400 years of Garden Design in Oxfordshire

The History of Garden Design through the lens of the Oxford Botanic Garden

Timothy Walker


So enjoyed this lecture. Thank you.

I enjoyed it enormously. His sense of humour is to die for.

…one of the finest I have attended: erudite, witty and delivered with great panache and humour.

…a stunning lecture, informative and entertaining.

…what a wonderful speaker!


I very much enjoyed the lecture. It was a fascinating afternoon.

It was really inspirational and covered so much in an hour. Including humour is a real plus. Delightful, and very bright man!


He is an excellent and amusing speaker.