ADFAS Mornington Peninsula

Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Society Mornington Peninsula Inc.

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ADFAS Mornington Peninsula provides for its members an annual program of nine illustrated lectures given by overseas and Australian lecturers chosen for their expert knowledge of their chosen subject, and their communication skills. Half-day sessions are also held when topics are examined in more detail.

Committee 2016

Mrs. Janet Glaspole
Phone: (03) 5974 4604
56 Bay Road
Mount Martha, 3934

Membership Secretary
Mrs Sue Rintoul
Phone: (03) 5983 1116

Membership Enquiries

Postal Address:
PO Box 572
112 Main Street
Mornington, 3931

Program for 2016

Wednesday 4 February
New Members Function at Beleura House and Garden

Friday 26 February

The Captain, the Duchess and their 23,000 children – London’s great Foundling Hospital.

Mr Lars Tharp MA (Cantab) HonDArt FSA – Independent Lecturer

In the early 1700’s, shipwright Thomas Coram gave up his business in Massachusetts and returned to London. He was appalled to encounter babies regularly abandoned in the streets so began to lobby for the provision of a hospital for ‘foundlings’, and for babies at risk of infanticide. This lecture explores how, after more than 17 years, he eventually achieved his aim, and the part Hogarth and Handel played in this. It is a gripping story with huge resonance for our own time.


Friday 18 March

Inside Monet’s House at Giverny

Dr Matthew Martin (Australian)

Monet’s house at Giverny is loved and admired by many around the world. Monet himself determined many of the more striking aspects of the house’s interiors. As a painter, Monet was a great innovator, but what of Monet the decorator? The lecture explores aspects of the interior of the house at Giverny, placing them in the context of progressive ideas about art and design in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century.


Friday 6 May

‘The Ultimate Renaissance Ruler’ – Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796)

Mr David Rosier NADFAS

The Emperor Qianlong was arguably the greatest of all Qing Emperors and guided China through a period of unquestionable political, economic and cultural growth and prosperity.

The lecture explores Qianlong’s role as a successful military leader, and tireless instigator and supporter of cultural projects seeking to preserve his Manchu culture whilst retaining and blending with the Confucian based system of government that had flourished in China for over 1500 years. 


Friday 3 June

Elizabeth Taylor’s greatest love affair – with Jewels

Mr Adrian Dickens (Australian) 

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor has long been associated with jewels – diamonds in particular. But, the true extent of her staggering collection is not so well known. Said to be worth over $200 million at the star’s death, her collection has only gained in stature since. Many pieces have become as legendary as the star who wore them, and the man who bought many of them – Richard Burton. The lecture includes the fascinating stories behind such jewels as the great Bulgari Sapphires, La Peregrina Pearl, the Mike Todd tiara, the Taj Mahal pendant and the unforgettable Taylor-Burton diamond. A breathtaking jewellery collection to rival Cleopatra’s!


Friday 8 July

The Creation of a Country House Museum: The Furnishing of Aston Hall

Mr Martin Ellis NADFAS

Aston Hall is one of the finest Jacobean country houses in England. Built between 1618 and 1635, its public history is almost as long as its life as a private house. Aston was the first great house to be taken into public ownership – and the subject of the country’s first major heritage campaign. The Hall, full of outstanding interiors effectively unaltered since the middle of the 18th century, is now part of Birmingham’s museum service. The lecture considers the ideas, problems and excitement of interpreting a major house and collection for the public, and the series of furnishing programmes, which, since the 1940’s, have steadily brought the Hall back to life.


Friday 12 August

Joseph Wright of Derby and the Men and Art of the Lunar Society

Mr Leslie Primo BA MA, NADFAS

In eighteenth century England men formed clubs and societies where they discussed the various movements for change such as the anti-slavery movement, the writings of the Jean Jacques Rousseau, the American war of independence, and the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment. One man above all documented in art the extraordinary individuals associated with one of these clubs, Joseph Wright of Derby, and the club that became synonymous with discovery and investigation, The Lunar Society. The lecture explores the lives, achievements, common interests and connections between a unique group of individuals through examining the paintings of Joseph Wright depicting men such as James Watt, Matthew Boulton, Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin, to name a few. The industrialist among these men would be, in their time, referred to as philosophers – eventually we would invent a new name for them, scientists, however they would call themselves the Lunar Men.


Friday 9 September

The Lure of the Midi: Modern Artists and the South of France

Ms Monica Bohm-Duchen MA, NADFAS 

The lecture explores the work of a number of artists of late 19th century France, irresistibly drawn to its Mediterranean coast, where the intense light and sensual colours inspired their work. Claude Monet painted in Antibes in 1888; while in the same year, van Gogh persuaded Gauguin to join him in Arles. Cezanne’s roots lay in his beloved Midi, to which he returned for good in 1899. Meanwhile, in 1892, Paul Signac sailed into St Tropez, settled there, and attracted large numbers of younger artists to the area. In the early 20th century, Renoir would make the Midi his home, as would Bonnard and Matisse. After the Second World War, so too would Picasso and Chagall.


Friday 7 October

David Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark: Fashion and Lifestyle Icons of the 60’s

Ms Mary Alexander BA (Hons) MA, NADFAS

‘I wanted to achieve the presence of two people in this room. All the technical problems were caused because my main aim was to paint the relationship between these two people’. David Hockney, 1976.

The two people are Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark, then leading fashion celebrities and close friends and contemporaries of the artist. This iconic painting (1969-71) by Hockney is also ‘the best selling postcard at the Tate’. But within the seemingly cool, modernist interior, a poignant and dramatic tragedy is beginning to unfold.

Using David Hockney’s sketches and photographs of the work in progress, the lecture explores the subject’s stories – Hockney’s experiments here and with other examples of the psychology behind the double portrait; his fascination with interiors, and ‘contre-jour’ light effects; the designs of Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, their celebrity pop clientele and the innovative retailing experiments of London’s boutique culture in the 1960s and early 1970s. London will be viewed as a magnet, attracting creative young design talent.


Friday 11 November

The Aesthetics of Traditional Japanese Architecture and Design

Mr Adrian Boddy, M App Sc, B Arch, ARAIA  (Australian)

The lecture uses photographic material to present and inform the discussion of traditional use of Japanese building materials: fabric, timber, stone, clay, metal and fibre. The international potter, Bernard Leach’s words describe their effect: “the plain and un-agitated, the uncalculated, the harmless, the straightforward, the natural, the innocent, the humble, the modest: where does beauty lie if not in these qualities?”

Architecture’s elements and precedents: paths, gateways, garden walls, framed pavilions, platforms, screens and their associated subdued lighting, broad eaves and designed garden settings are then further examined. In all cases traditional Japanese artefacts – painting, sculpture, pottery and utilitarian objects enrich the discussion.


Venues and times

Lectures are held on a Friday at the Peninsula Community Theatre, cnr Wilsons Road and Nepean Highway, Mornington. Lectures start at 5.30pm and run for one hour. Refreshments are served afterwards.

In addition to the nine lectures, two special half-day interactive sessions are held at Beleura House and Garden, Mornington. These sessions run from 10.00am to 12.30pm with a break for morning tea midway.

Attendees will be transported to Beleura by bus, departing 30 minutes before the scheduled commencement time for the morning’s program. Pick up location will be advised.


Annual subscription is $140 for single membership and $260 for a double membership. The cost of attending 9 lectures is included in the membership subscription and admission is by name badge. The joining fee is $25 per person.

Download our Membership Form


Guests are welcome. Guest fees are $20 per person, and guests may attend three times in any one year with prior notice to the Membership Secretary. The fee for members of other ADFAS societies is $10. Half Days Fees are $40 for members and guests.


Visits to museums, galleries, gardens, private collections and places of architectural or artistic interest are also arranged.

Volunteer Guides and Heritage Volunteers

Members of ADFAS Mornington Peninsula have the opportunity to become volunteer guides at Beleura-House-Garden conducting tours of the house and garden, or heritage volunteers archiving, researching and conserving the collections. Mr John Tallis bequeathed this beautifully refurbished Italianate villa to the people of Victoria as a place of historic and educational interest in 1996.

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