March 17th 2020

Dear Members,

It is with regret that we have to cancel all our forthcoming lectures and visits following the Government Guidelines on the spread of Coronavirus. We are sorry if this will cause you any inconvenience but we must put health as a priority. Therefore we will hopefully resume our meetings again in September but we will, of course, keep you updated as the situation changes.                The visit to Stratford is still planned to go ahead but we will inform you as soon as we know if it has to be cancelled. Riviera Travel will be in touch with you re the Bologna visit. I was informed that we would get a full refund or could look at a later date.
We will also arrange the AGM as soon as we are able to and will endeavour to rebook the cancelled lectures and visits next year.

Membership Renewals Emails have been sent to all members on email please check your junk folder if you have not received it, as the tracker shows all delivered. Please respond as usual following the instructions given. All members without emails were sent renewal forms in the post. Please contact the Membership Secretary if you have a problem over renewal.

If you have any queries please do contact me or any of the committee and we will do our best to answer your questions.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the committee and myself, I wish you all the very best of health and assure you that we will keep you updated with our news.

With kind regards,
Sue Balfour
Chairman The Arts Society New Forest


Dear Colleagues

As the Coronavirus continues to escalate, we are issuing the following important guidance to all of our Societies.

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes COVID-19 more severely affects older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes).

Based on the WHO’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced enhanced legal powers to protect public health, and earlier this week outlined the UK’s national response to the virus.

Whilst each Society and indeed Member must decide for themselves what precautions it may wish to take, The Arts Society strongly suggests you follow this advice:
* If you or a family member is showing signs of illness, please do not attend your meetings and consult the guidance below.
* We recommend that members consider refraining from any physical contact.
* Wash hands thoroughly before and after meetings for 20 seconds with hot water.

Any individual who feels unwell should follow the advice from Public Health England. If an individual is known to have been infected with COVID-19, then it is standard policy for Public Health to contact all those they have been in contact with. Full co-operation is expected to ensure the risk to others is minimised.

It is currently our expectation that all scheduled national and Area meetings will continue as planned. This is based on the Government guidance that whilst exercising caution, individuals should carry on as normal. We are monitoring the situation closely and will advise in the event of any possible changes.

Should there be the necessity for the office in London to close there is a contingency plan in place. Although the switchboard will state that the office is closed where possible direct line phone numbers will have been diverted and emails will continue to be monitored.

Please find below a link to the Governments Guidance (updated daily), and also the Government Action Plan.



Residential Visit to Devon September 16th – 19th 2019

Members and partners from the Arts Society New Forest spent a thoroughly enjoyable 5 days exploring stately homes, gardens, churches and museums in South Devon.

The visits would have been most enjoyable anyway but were made so much better by our superb guide – Julia. Her vast knowledge was amazing and ranged from telling us about the countryside as we drove down to detailed information about the places we visited. She also ensured that we were all kept safe and comfortable. So a big thank you to Julia.

Our first stop was a very welcome  coffee and biscuits in Poundbury and then onto Cadhay House built in 1550 with a central courtyard and extensive grounds.

Our excellent guide took us through the family changes and showed us many of the delights of the house including this splendid fireplace… 
…with the detail in the corners……and the beautiful furniture built by the current owner-Rupert Thistlethwaite who is a nephew of the last of the William-Powletts.The last room we visited the beautiful beams had not been covered as in previous rooms

The gardens were also quite splendid

We then drove onto our hotel in Dartmouth with its beautiful views

The following morning we set off for Saltram House, the impressive Grade1 listed Georgian mansion House-the work of architect Robert Adam.Another excellent guide took us around, showing us the exquisitely designed rooms……with beautiful balanced and decorated interiors……and wonderful furniture……most of which was the work of Theresa  Robinson  –  the  wife  of  John  Parker  2nd.In the bedrooms we were surprised to see the oriental influence which was quite innovative at the time with the Chinese wallpaper so rare and valuable.

After a delicious lunch we set off for Antony. A National Trust house where the owners – Tremayne and his wife Charlie and young family, are still resident.

On the Wednesday we took the ferry to Greenway – the home of Agatha Christie. The beautiful sunshine made journey all the more enjoyable.








The house was as it was when Agathe Christie lived there, complete with soft toys and dolls.















And before we left it was good to relax in the garden and admire the view.

On our return to Dartmouth we had time to explore the town a little and found the church most  interesting.

On our final day we spent a glorious morning visiting the house and gardens at Kingswear – the home of the D’Oyley Carte family with  its  wonderful  art  deco  interior  and furniture.    The gardens were quite breathtaking with stunning views.


Penelope Chitty



                                                             An Introduction To Our New President 


 Penelope Chitty – Her Time with NADFAS  

1972.        New Forest Decorative and Fine Arts Society founded by Patricia Hallet

1974.        Penelope joined -New Forest DFAS

1975.        Penelope joined the committee

1976-7.     Penelope became Vice- Chairman and Church Recorder

1978-82.   Penelope became Chairman of New Forest DFAS

1980-82.   First Area Representative for the Wessex Area

1982.         Elected to the Executive Committee of NADFAS

1983.         Chairman of Areas sub-committee

1984-5.     Vice Chairman of NADFAS and became a guide in the private rooms of the  

                  Royal Academy            

1985.       Deputised for the National Chairman in May and June

1986-8.    Penelope became National Chairman of NADFAS

During her time as Chair of New Forest DFAS a small committee raised £7000 for the publication of a colour and black and white catalogue for Southampton Art Gallery. In 1981 it was decided to elect an area representative and Penelope was elected as the first Area representative for Wessex.

In 1987 Patricia Hallett launched her card game of the arts – consisting of 52 cards with 26 different paintings and the aim was to collect matching pairs. 

1977-2010.  Penelope was leader of New Forest Church Recorders

1989-1996.   She was Area rep. for Hampshire Church Recorders

Penelope’s Time as National Chairman

Although she did not officially take over the role until April 1986, Penelope had to deputise for Judy Waples in May and June 1985

May 8th.       Attended a NADFAS Tours Fundraiser at the Goldsmiths’ Hall -Fusing Forces

                     A fashion Show with Jean Muir

June 8th       West Wycombe’s 10th Anniversary Dinner at Phyllis Court, Henley 

June 9th.      Nottingham’s 10th Anniversary Supper at Newstead Abbey

June 14th     Patricia Fay Memorial Dinner at the House of Commons.

June 27th      Elizabethan Occasion at Lambeth Palace


Resume of Penelope’s  2 years as National Chairman

Penelope’s job was to chair the two Council meetings and the AGM, the Annual Directory of Lecturers meeting and  the lecturer selection sessions.

During her time as Chair there were 25 new societies set up and Penelope attended the inauguration of all of these. She also attended Area days and Special Days; one of these was at Biddulph Grange after the restoration of the amazing gardens ,where coincidentally her great grandfather had lived! She also attended the Painswick Rococco Gardens restoration.

Penelope also attended a variety of National Celebrations and NADFAS’s 20th anniversary at Christie’s with the Duchess of Gloucester. In fact Penelope attended 18 celebrations of 20th, 15th, 10th and 5th anniversaries with receptions, dinners and lectures.

She also attended several private views of exhibitions – the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, the Clore Gallery at the Tate, showing the complete Turner collection and the Francis Hayman Exhibition at Kenwood House and at all of these she was asked to make a speech. 

A busy lady indeed.

Our Dazzle Event at St Barbe’s Museum

A Dazzle Do

Our society celebrated The Golden Jubilee with a party in the newly re-furbished St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington on Monday 18th June 2018.

Members were invited to a private view of the current exhibition –

‘Dazzle – Disguise and Disruption in War and Art’

The lecture on June 11th on this theme was given to our society by Dr James Taylor, who curated the exhibition, and this evening provided a chance for members to see this unique event put on by the Gallery to commemorate the end of the first World War.

The Gallery was tastefully decorated in a variety of ‘Dazzle’ tapestries made by local people and music was provided by the FB Pocket Orchestra who played tunes appropriate to the era.

Members enjoyed a glass of wine during the evening and Chairman Sue Balfour presented a cheque for £500 to Don MacKenzie who gratefully accepted the donation on behalf of the Trustees of St Barbe,

The Arts Society New Forest visit to Madrid – April 2018

The Visit by The  Arts Society New Forest to Madrid Toledo and Segovia, Paintings and Palaces 22-27 April 2018
17 members went on this visit following a study day on Spanish Art given by Eveline Eaton. Our guide Mauricio was well versed in his subject and imparted a huge amount of information on the art of Spain , its history and culture. The tour was organised by our visits secretary Mike Witherick who unfortunately could not be with us, and Heritage Group Travel. The hotel and travel arrangements were excellent and even the weather was ideal for sightseeing. We visited the Prado, the Royal Palace, Toledo the home of El Greco, the church of San Antonio de la Florida renowned for its Goya frescoes, Segovia and its amazing 1st century Roman aqueduct, La Granja, and El Escorial. There was also free time to visit other places such as the Museo Sorolla and of course Guernica. 2 typical delicious Spanish dinners were included and we all had a fair amount of sherry and rioja to wash it all down.

The Visit to Winchester and Chawton House

Jane Austin Day 31st October 2017
A Day Visit.

We started the day in Winchester Cathedral, for a talk on Jane’s life, her family and her connections with Hampshire. Jane is buried in the Cathedral and there is a memorial to her adjacent to her grave. The new £5 note which bears her portrait was launched there earlier this year. During the visit we walked through the Close to the house where she spent her final days. There was time in Winchester for lunch, shopping and further exploration before leaving to visit her home in Chawton – now the Jane Austen House Museum. The rooms there are decorated and furnished as they would have been in Jane’s day and contain many items of memorabilia including the tiny table where she wrote many of her books and her turquoise and gold ring.

Jill Meakin Visits Organiser