The Art Society

The Arts Society Dukeries

Have you an interest in 'The Arts'? If so, our Society may appeal to you.
 |  Katie Hogg  |  More Art & Culture

Here at the Dukeries Society we offer our members and their friends nine excellent and varied art lectures each year, plus Study/Special Interest days.


As the name suggests, our Society covers a wide range of art topics and subjects such as paintings and the artists, statues and monuments, buildings from castles to stately homes, classical music and composers to more popular music, museums and galleries, all from the past to the modern day. We also have lectures in diverse topics too, for example a few of the past subjects have covered the Roman Empire, the Silk Road, needlework, clothes fashion and design, jewellery, glass ornaments, stained glass windows, theatre, photography, historical expeditions and art in advertising. 

We are part of The Arts Society which has a global network of over 380 local societies. The Dukeries Society began in February 1981 and now has around 170 members. The Arts Society holds a list of approved, knowledgeable and entertaining speakers from which the programme of lectures are drawn.

Generally meetings are on the first Wednesday of most months at the Civic Centre, Long Lane, Carlton in Lindrick (Covid restrictions permitting) for an illustrated one-hour lecture, followed by questions. For a less formal social side, our Society offers members and guests tea or coffee before the lecture. As these lectures cannot take place during Covid restrictions, and it may well be sometime before we can meet again in person, we are currently having lectures via Zoom.

In addition to the regular meetings, there are usually two extra Study/Special Interest days, when more time can be given to take an in-depth look at a particular topic. These days have three, one-hour lectures throughout the day, with time for a leisurely lunch. In the past, we have enjoyed a great variety of subjects, including the Chinese Imperial Court and costume of the Qing Dynasty, the changing face of fashion and jewellery with costume jewellery from Downton Abbey and the rebuilding of London including the Houses of Parliament. 

Arts Society members receive a lovely glossy, informative national magazine full of interesting articles and notices of forthcoming events and exhibitions. Through Zoom meetings, our members have kept in touch and in addition been entertained with electronic newsletters, art programmes on YouTube and joined other societies for their Zoom talks.

There are usually two, one day trips to places of special interest plus a four-night holiday packed with artistic and historical places to visit, frequently including exhibitions and organised private tours. Recent day trips have included Packwood House, Baddesley Clinton, Charlecote Manor Park Elton Hall and Castle Howard plus a visit to Birmingham with its Jewellery Quarter and City Museum/Art Gallery. 

Members of the Arts Society have enjoyed short holidays to many places, including in recent years Eastbourne, Northumberland and Wales. Later this year we hope to run our Liverpool holiday with a stop at Nostell Priory on the way, a city tour, visits to several Galleries and Albert Dock, as well as site seeing to include Port Sunlight and Crosby beach. 

A few members help with varied tasks to maintain and preserve 'The Arts' and our artistic heritage for the wider community and future generations.

Trails of Discovery

For nearly twenty years many Societies have created 'Trails of Discovery' for their local areas. The first trails were made for children to follow in churches, but more recently there have been new initiatives in other places of worship and historic buildings, and also Trails around towns and villages. Memory Trails, designed for use by groups working with those who live with dementia, have also been made over the last few years. They guide people living from dementia around a church with wording to prompt memories and discussion.

The Arts Society Dukeries has made several trails in this area, including a Memory Trail in Carlton in Lindrick and also a Village Trail at Scrooby. Children’s Trails in churches can be found at Cuckney, Edwinstowe, Blyth and Carlton in Lindrick. Discovering a historic place of worship and its artworks, artefacts and social history can be inspiring and prompt young people to explore the stories behind their local landmarks. It is a joy to see their curiosity come to light. Recently the team has created trails at Babworth, Scrooby and Austerfield churches to tie in with the Mayflower 400 Celebrations, and local school children and Brownies have helped to launch the trails. 

One members' efforts have just been recognised with a national award from The Arts Society, for all her volunteering work on Trails of Discovery over a number of years both in the local and the whole of the East Midlands area.

Arts Volunteering 

The Arts Society Dukeries has always supported initiatives that encourage young arts projects in the local community under our Arts Volunteering wing. Over the last few years grants have been given to a number of schools and charities to develop a range of arts activities with primary aged children. These have included a superheroes workshop with the siblings’ group at Bluebell Hospice, print workshops with Ranby C of E Primary School, a papier-mâché workshop at Ramsden Primary school to create models of bugs and a grant to pay for sculpture workshops at Weston Park Art Gallery for all the children at Hallcroft Infants School Retford. Unfortunately this last project did not take place due to the current pandemic, but has been rescheduled and will take place whenever circumstances allow. Some members of the Arts Society have volunteered to take part in these activities and have worked alongside both the professional artists who ran the projects, staff in the schools and the children. Whilst having lots of fun and enjoyment, the children benefit by learning new skills doing the various activities and hopefully start their interest in the arts.

As we have been unable to work with schools during the pandemic, we have donated money to Nottinghamshire Womens' Aid for the purchase of art materials for the staff, who are doing Art Therapy with the many children, who use their services, after escaping or experiencing domestic abuse and/or violence.

Heritage Volunteering 

The Society is also closely involved in heritage conservation. Volunteers have helped in book conservation at Welbeck Abbey. Work at Mansfield and Doncaster Museums involves the recording and accessioning of artefacts.

For details on the Zoom lecture programme, call Chairman, Suzanne on 01909 290488 or visit:

Upcoming Lectures

5 May

Photographic Odyssey: 'Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition captured on Camera'

10.30 for 11am start.

Speaker: Mark Cottle. 

On Ernest Shackleton’s third Antarctic expedition in 1914 his ship, the Endurance, was trapped and eventually crushed in the pack ice. After camping for five months on the ice, Shackleton’s men rowed to the remote Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton sailed for help to South Georgia over 800 miles away. Over three months later he returned to rescue the crew of the Endurance. Frank Hurley, one of the great photographers of the 20th century, was the expedition’s official photographer. 

His photographs are a visual narrative of an epic journey which captures with great artistry new and amazing landscapes within which a remarkable human drama is played out. The aim of the Lecture is to capture Hurley’s achievements as a photographer of the Antarctic in the first flush of human contact when it was still essentially terra incognita.

2 Jun

'The Mystery of Holbein’s Ambassadors'

10.30 for 11am start.

Speaker: Anthony Russell.

Hans Holbein was the first great mainland painter to spend much time in England and he brought with him a sophistication and skill with far reaching consequences for this island’s artistic development. His 'Ambassadors' is recognised by the National Gallery of London as one of its greatest treasures. It dates from a tradition in the arts when no object was without meaning and symbolism. However practically all of this meaning has been lost on the modern observer. This Lecture studies this painting, looks at the detail, then considers the tempestuous circumstances of its creation and the hidden messages concealed within it.

Non-members can contact us and watch a zoom Lecture for £5.

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