Chairman’s Message 2023
A very happy and prosperous year to all our members.
During 2022 we returned to our normal programme events after two years of uncertainty due to the pandemic. Many of our events were once again held in-person, with some events delivered online for those who preferred to join from home. We experimented with a hybrid study day in the summer where members could choose to join in-person or online. We found that the majority of participants preferred to attend in person and appreciated being able to meet in a social environment again to share and discuss events. For the future we expect to continue to offer a mix of online and in-person events.
We have had some changes in the Society’s Committee which were announced at the 2022 AGM. We welcomed three new Committee members: Geoff Shepherd who has taken on the role of Secretary, Gillian Robinson and Vicky O’Keefe. I have agreed to act as Chairman for one year along with continuing as Treasurer whilst the Committee continues to seek a new long-term Chairman.
Sue Anstruther has stepped down as Chairman but will remain as a Committee member organising events. We owe Sue big debt of gratitude for her sterling work leading the Society so effectively through the pandemic. Gwen Ovshinsky has stepped down as Secretary but will continue as a Committee member; John Peacock has resigned his Committee position as Birkbeck Liaison Officer but will continue to liaise with Birkbeck Department of Art History and report to the Committee; and Michael Pearson has resigned as Study Tours Coordinator. Many thanks are due to Gwen, John and Michael for all their valuable work over the years.
Many thanks should also go the volunteers who organise events, put together the Review, manage our communications, compile exhibition listings, look after our finances, organise our donations, look after membership and provide essential support. Without them we would not be able to produce our varied event programmes at a very reasonable price.
There are many roles that can be undertaken so please think about what you could offer to do to keep the Society thriving. It is not necessary to stand for a place on the Committee for most of the roles but it is essential to be comfortable with IT and have access to a PC or laptop. If you would like to offer your help or make an enquiry about what might be involved please feel free to contact me via my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org; this email address can also be found on our website under the Contacts tab.
As always, the Review Editorial Panel led by Barrie MacDonald produced an interesting, and informed issue of the annual Review containing a wide range of articles on subjects as diverse as the art of Walter Sickert, Victorian photographer Francis Frith and the writings of Leon Battista Alberti as well as an article by the winner of the London Art History Society Prize for the Best Modern Period Masters Dissertation, Julia Eberhardt, exploring ribbon accessories in eighteenth-century feminine portraiture. This year the issue was increased by four pages to allow the inclusion of more images to illustrate the articles.
When the Society makes a surplus in any year we donate the proceeds to London institutions involved in art and architecture for specific projects. We welcome from members suggestions of worthy organisations for future donations. If you do wish to make a nomination, there is a set of qualifying rules so please read the donations guidelines which you can find under the Donations tab on our website. Please do not discuss any nomination with the organisation until it has been approved by the Committee. In 2021-22 we gave donations to the following recipients: £5,000 to the Birkbeck Department of Art Research Fund to support MA students’ research projects; £2,500 to the Royal Museums Greenwich to conserve a triple portrait by Tilly Kettle which will be on display as part of a new exhibition starting in March at the Queen’s House in Greenwich.
I very much hope that during 2023 you will enjoy our programme of events which you will find listed on our website. Booking is open for events taking place during the spring and summer terms.