This will be my third and last “Letter from the Chairman”.   All things technical have behaved very well this year and we have enjoyed excellent digital presentations.  I write this immediately after Oliver Everett’s lecture on the Padnama, when he showed us interesting details almost invisible to normal sight.  I know that as a consequence, some of you have requested that we organize a trip to Windsor to see the Miniatures.  We were extremely lucky to have Frank Woodgate’s lecture on David Hockney in January.  At New Year I had heard David Hockney speak with great admiration about the colours, techniques and  draughtsmanship  of the Netherlandish and Italian Renaissance painters so the ensuing lectures on these very same artists were particularly interesting .  The programme for 2013 is based in the late 19thand early 20th Century and offers an eclectic mix of great artists, architects, jewellers and other events.  As always the lecturers will be first class.


In April Tony May led a group of us to Puglia.  Not only were the cathedrals, castles and Renaissance cities wonderful but also the weather improved on the day we arrived and we had lovely Summer weather and, for me, the great joy of seeing olive groves filled with flowers.  Next year he plans to lead us around Malta in May which is already proving very popular. 


By the time you read this we will have been to Belmont and Provender near Faversham.   Next year Rosemary Izod and Ursula Allen will be hanging up their clip-boards and day-trips will be arranged by Jane Dulley and Patrick Izod who are currently planning…  I would like to thank Rosemary and Ursula for their very hard work.


Our Study Day in March on the Silk Road was very popular.  Chris Bradley revealed this ancient Trade Route which carried damasks, spices and Oriental works of art through the heart of Asia to Renaissance Europe.  In November we are holding a Study Day on the Cities of Castile which are steeped with history and great architecture.  I do hope you will all be attending.


Throughout the year Heather Parker books trips to the theatre for us.  I can say that if Heather has chosen a play it will certainly be excellent.


Now as I prepare to hand over to Rosemary there will be several other changes within the Committee. When you read Annie’s article in this Newsletter you will discover how hard she has to work.  Annie has been Programme Secretary for three years and now hands over to Margaret who is already planning lectures from 2014.  Annie has great plans for future Study Days.  I will be assisting Liz Young with Membership which Margaret has managed so efficiently for many years.

Lyndsay who has been our excellent Secretary has decided to step down. She also produced the before lecture screen announcements and kept an eye on all things digital before the lectures.  Heather Parker has agreed to be Secretary in her place. Ursula Allen is also leaving the committee after her stretch of trip organizing.  I must thank those who are leaving, welcome those who are joining and say that I have been a lucky Chairman to have had a brilliant committee who give their time so generously towards the smooth running of this Society.


Thank you also to Anne and Johnnie Bramall and Jenny Newton who pour the coffee before lectures  and the rest of you who grab drying-up cloths to leave the kitchen so tidy.  Also thanks to John McCaig and Terry Wiggs and Peter Hoole for mastering the digital projector and sound system, without them there would be no lectures. Also two unseen heros are Jacqueline Schalburg who edits this Newsletter, keeps the Web Site up to speed and organizes Study Days and Bruce Seton, our Treasurer, who keeps a keen eye on our accounts and  is always in email contact whether it is from Cranbook, Hong Kong or Croatia..


I would like to wish Rosemary the best of luck for the next three years and hope she enjoys the challenge as much as I have.


Jane Hoole