Words and Pictures Book Group, 24th Feb 2023: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Our next Words and Pictures book group discussion will be

on Friday 24th February, 2pm (for about an hour or so)

at “Pebbles Community Cafe” (ground floor, the old Havens building on Hamlet Court Road).

This month’s book is

A captivating fusion of elegy, autobiography, socio-political critique and visionary thrust, it is the most accomplished of all Woolf’s novels. [Oxford University Press]

The front cover image here is of Laura Knight’s “At the Edge of the Cliff” [1917; http://www.damelauraknight.com].

These meetings are free and all are welcome!


Art, Books and Culture at The Beecroft, 18th Feb 2023: The Art of Vanessa Bell

Our next Art, Books and Culture discussion will be on

Saturday 18th February, 11.15am (for about an hour and a half)

at The Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend

when we will be discussing the art, life and times of

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961).

Bell, Vanessa; Conversation; The Courtauld Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/conversation-207043

These sessions are gentle research discussion groups and open to everyone.

£10 to be paid on the door.

Coffee and biscuits available afterwards.

For further reading:

The Charleston House website: https://www.charleston.org.uk/people/vanessa-bell

Tate website: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/vanessa-bell-731

and Frances Spalding’s glorious biography:


Art and Coffee at The Beaumont, 17th Feb 2023: The Village Wedding by Luke Fildes


Our next Art & Coffee morning will be

on Friday 17th February, 11.30am (for about an hour)

at The Southgate Beaumont, 15 Cannon Hill, N14 7DJ

when our Take One Picture starting point,

“The Village Wedding” by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes (1843-1927) [1883; private collection],

will lead us into a discussion of British Victorian ‘social realism’ paintings.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Art, Books and Culture at The Beecroft, Saturday 21st January 2023: Painters and Portraits in the (first) Elizabethan Age

Join us at The Beecroft Gallery

on Saturday 21st January, 11.15am to explore

Painting in England at the time of Elizabeth I

We will explore portraits of Queen Elizabeth I such as this, by an unknown English artist, created to commemorate victory over the Spanish Armada [c.1588; National Portrait Gallery @NPGLondon; @artuk.org] along with work by known artists including Nicholas Hilliard, Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder and Levina Teerlinc.

From Sir Walter Ralegh (by an unknown English artist; 1588; NPG) to William Shakespeare (attributed to John Taylor; c.1600; NPG), and from ‘propaganda’ portraits to ‘intimate’ miniatures for lovers and the visual records of state events, we will enter into the extraordinary realm of Elizabethan England!

As ever, all are welcome to join the discussion – an open forum for ideas. Tickets cost £10 on the door. We will start at 11.15am and finish around 12.30pm with coffee & biscuits. The meeting will be held in the Lecture Theatre at The Beecroft Art Gallery.

Books of interest include:


Words and Pictures Book Group, 13th Jan. 2023: “National Treasures” by Caroline Shenton

Join us for the first Words & Pictures book club of 2023

on Friday 13th January, 2pm (for an hour or so)

at Pebbles Cafe (the old Haven’s Building, Hamlet Court Road)

to discuss:

“National Treasures: Saving the Nation’s Art in World War II” by Caroline Shenton

Published in paperback by John Murray Press in October 2022, the publishers describe:

National Treasures highlights a moment from our history when an unlikely coalition of mild-mannered civil servants, social oddballs and metropolitan aesthetes became the front line in the heritage war against Hitler. Caroline Shenton shares the interwoven lives of ordinary people who kept calm and carried on in the most extraordinary of circumstances in their efforts to save the Nation’s historic identity.


With the National Gallery walls all but empty of paintings, Myra Hess filled Room 36 with glorious piano playing

(photo: National Portrait Gallery)


The Words & Pictures book club meetings are informal gatherings over coffee and cake where the conversation is gently booky, arty and definitely friendly; free to join, and there’s no need to register in advance – hopefully see you there!