Alton Decorative and Fine Arts Society

Special Interest Day

Romeo and Juliet painting
photo: Southampton Art Gallery
Held in the Spring and Autumn, these Special Interest Days are a popular component of the programme.

We invite an expert to spend the day with a small group to examine a particular topic; past subjects have included exploring Shakespeare as seen through the artist's eye, a practical session on restoring old furniture, days devoted to Picasso, Silver, Winchester, Samplers, English Cathedrals, Jewellery, the Nabateans, Ancient Mexico, the history of opera, the arts and crafts movement in Hampshire, the Romanovs, Georgian houses, 18th century music as well as looking at English porcelain and understanding paintings.

They are sometimes linked to a future visit and are held in a variety of venues and include lunch.

Coming up

Thursday, 22 March 2018 at Beech Village Hall

Fraudulence, Trickery and Deception – looking into paintings Frank Woodgate

Degas said that “A painting requires as much fraudulence, trickery and deception as the perpetration of a crime” and, while this may be a slight exaggeration, it has a ring of truth. Artists can manipulate colour, form, composition and subject-matter (even facts!) in order to explore universal themes such as life, death, feelings, or politics, and to engage our emotional participation in the work. During this day we will see how Delacroix, Matisse, Kandinsky and others used colour, composition and subject matter to engage our emotions or provoke a response. We will examine the way that modern treatments of traditional genres, by artists like Rubens or Manet, can add to, or change, our understanding of the subject and its message. We will also explore the way in which artists frequently manipulate perspective, composition and reality in order to deceive us.


Thursday, 22 November 2018 at Beech Village Hall

The Two Faces of Russia – Moscow & St Petersburg Rosamund Bartlett

Some Russian artists identify with Moscow, others with Petersburg. What is it that determines their loyalties? The two cities are the two faces of Russia. Like the imperial emblem of the double-headed eagle, they look in different directions – Moscow towards Asia, and St. Petersburg towards Europe. This day explores the art and architecture of both of these great cities, examining their different characters and ways of life, and looking at how and why they increased and decreased in importance before and after the 1917 Revolution.

Double headed eagle crown