Select Society

Postal Address:

ADFAS Toowoomba
PO Box 1555
Toowoomba QLD 4350

ADFAS Toowoomba welcomes Members and Guests to attend our 2018 Lecture Programme. This year we are offering eight stimulating and enriching lectures on a wide variety of topics.  Six of our lecturers are from the UK and are accredited by NADFAS, our English affiliate ( The other two are Australian Lecturers, Adrian Dickens and Rodna Siebels who are both on the ADFAS Australian Lecturer Register.

Our lectures are held at 6pm on a Thursday** at The Glennie Room, The Glennie School, 246A Herries Street, Toowoomba. Following the lecture, a delicious supper is served with wine and orange juice and an opportunity for fellowship and chat with the lecturer.

During the year an informative Newsletter is published in the lead up to each lecture. Excursions to important exhibitions in Brisbane and surrounds are often planned.

For enquiries, either call Caroline on 07 4636 4342 or email

**Please note that our lecture evening has changed from Tuesday to Thursday.

Committee 2018

Taisoo Kim Watson
Tel: (07) 4613 5575

Roseanne Rowe
Tel: 0427 321 552

Membership Secretary:
Caroline Freyburg
Tel: (07) 4636 4342

Programme for 2018

Thursday 15th March
Medieval Illuminated Bestiaries
Dr Christopher de Hamel (NADFAS)

Christopher de Hamel was brought up in New Zealand and he began looking at medieval manuscripts in Dunedin in 1963. He knows the medieval manuscripts in Australia and New Zealand intimately – and there are unexpectedly many of them – and he has lectured to large audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania. The State Library of Victoria has a podcast about their hugely successful Medieval Imagination exhibition in which Christopher was much involved. Christopher is quite probably the best-known writer and lecturer of illuminated manuscripts in the world. He was responsible for catalogues and sales of illuminated manuscripts at Sotheby’s in London for twenty-five years until 2000, when he took up the Librarianship of the Parker Library in Cambridge University, one of the finest small collections of medieval manuscripts in the world. He retired at the end of 2016, and is now a Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Christopher has doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge and two honorary doctorates (one from Otago University in New Zealand), and has written numerous books on illuminated manuscripts, including the best-selling Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, published by Penguin, and winner of the Duff Cooper Prize as the best non-fiction book of 2016.

Bestiaries are medieval illustrated encyclopaedias of all the known animals of the world, domestic and exotic, including elephants, crocodiles, unicorns, basilisks, yales, and many others, real and mythological (and medieval people had no way of knowing the difference). Manuscripts of Bestiaries were mostly made in England, between about 1150 and 1300 and all are richly illuminated. They are among the most beautiful and enchanting of all medieval manuscripts. They are often engagingly quaint and credulous, and sometimes startlingly well-informed. They offer an extraordinary insight into the medieval imagination and humour. The lecture looks at what Bestiaries contain, and how they were actually used in medieval monasteries by monks whose experience of wild animals was negligible.  It considers the sources of the legends and how the ancient Bestiaries and their tales have survived into modern times.

Thursday 26 April
The Possessions of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor – Art or Obsession?
Adrian Dickens ADFAS

Adrian was born and grew up in the UK. He trained for 6 years before emigrating to Australia in 1988. Since then Adrian has become a fixture on the Australian jewellery scene for the last 27 years, his jewellery roles have included being the manager of Paul Bram in Melbourne, Manager of Jan Logan, opening her initial shop in Toorak Rd, South Yarra and moving it to Collins Street, Melbourne where it became her flagship store. More recently he was manager of BUNDA Fine Jewels in Sydney.

Adrian created CIRCA AD Jewels in late 2012 with the purpose of providing a genuinely unique personal jewellery service – one in which the jeweller visits his clients or they visit him in his small and private home in the heart of Toorak Village.  There is no shop front, nor permanent retail presence.  The business operates on a personal basis (Adrian often buys and designs pieces with specific clients in mind); as well as popping-up in host stores and venues with his talks from time to time.  This business model seems perfectly suited to the changing pattern of modern retail.  

CIRCA AD Jewels specialises in collecting selected items of fine jewellery, and rare pieces from around the world, which reflect the design values – and quality – of their era. Contemporary items and innovative jewellery designs are also included. “Re-inventing” jewels from unwearable pieces from the 19th and 20th century into wearable 21st century designs is a specialisation.

In 2013 Adrian visited Paris in search of insight into the story of the Abdication of England’s King Edward VIII, and purpose of the legendary jewellery & art collection of the Duchess of Windsor.  You will learn why a man who didn’t want the British throne spent the rest of his life trying to replicate it.  Hear the stories behind the Duchess’ obsession with fashion and displays of jewels.  Understand how the Windsors used their collections and possessions to undermine the occupants of Buckingham Palace.  You will discover who ‘Cookie’ and ‘Shirley Temple’ are and why the Windsors loathed them.

Thursday 24 May
History of the Royal Academy of Arts, London
Rosalind Whyte (NADFAS)

Rosalind Whyte has a Masters from Birkbeck College, University of London as well as a Masters degree in Art History from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.  She is a Guide and Lecturer at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Royal Academy and lectures frequently at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.  She leads Art Appreciation holidays to various places of interest and has been a guest speaker on many cruises, both as an individual and as part of a team from the Tate Gallery.  Rosalind is an accredited NADFAS lecturer and lectures extensively for them and other Art Societies in Britain, Europe and South Africa.

In 2018 The Royal Academy of Arts celebrates its 250th anniversary, so it is an opportune time to explore its history, from inception to the current day, and the role it has played in the development of British art.  We will look at the position of artists in London before and after the formation of the Academy in 1768 and some of the characters involved, from the first President, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and other establishment figures, to artists who have taken a more oppositional stance, whether individually, such as Reynolds’ great contemporary and rival Gainsborough, or as a group, such as the (initially) clandestine Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of young rebel artists who sought to subvert the Academy from within.  Like any important institution, the Academy has been embroiled in intrigue and controversy over the course of its history and no scandal or outrage will remain unexposed as we trace the history of one of Britain’s most important cultural bodies.

Thursday 21 June
Neolithic Britain: Henges, Stone Circles & the First Settlements
Rodna Siebels ADFAS

Rodna was born in Sydney, but grew up in Wagga Wagga where she attended school and Teachers’ College. A primary school teacher with the NSW Department of Education for many years, she became interested in Egyptology while attending Macquarie University where she studied for a B.A in Ancient History & German Language. As part of her degree, she completed several courses on Ancient Egypt and in her final undergraduate year was invited to accompany the Macquarie University Archaeological team for its 1988/9 season under the directorship of Professor Naguib Kanawati. This involved 10 weeks of field work, excavating and recording the Old Kingdom tombs at El-Hawawish, near Sohag, in Middle Egypt. After completing her B.A in 1989, she continued her studies, graduating with an M.A in Egyptology in 1992. On taking an early retirement from teaching, Rodna resumed her studies at Macquarie University after being awarded a scholarship to undertake a Ph.D. The Topic for her thesis was “Agriculture in Old Kingdom Tomb Decoration: An Analysis of Wall Paintings & Inscriptions” & was completed under the supervision of Professor Kanawati. She completed her Ph.D. in 2000, graduating in April 2001.

Since leaving the Teaching Profession, Rodna has continued in her role as educator, providing courses in various aspects of Egyptology as part of Macquarie University’s Continuing education Programme, as well as delivering lectures at the Ancient History Teachers’ Conference at both Sydney & Macquarie Universities. She has also been invited to lecture at the Australian Museum to coincide with exhibitions of Egyptian artefacts on loan from various International Museum collections.

Rodna was a programme Leader for Odyssey Travel for 14 years retiring in 2016, taking tours to New Zealand, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, France, Malta, Tunisia, Cyprus and the British Isles.

In recent years Rodna has contributed chapters to several publications in Egyptology, including Egyptian Art: Principles & Themes in Wall Scenes (Prism Archaeological series 6, 2000) and Egypt: Land & Lives of the Pharaohs Revisited (Global Publishing, 2005).

The Neolithic Period in Britain (4000-2500 BC) is a time of great change, with mankind making the move from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle to a more settled existence, living for the first time in small villages. This change was made possible by the advent of farming, with the cultivation of soil for crops & the domestication of animals, providing a more reliable food source. With a more settled lifestyle came the first ventures in large scale community building projects; henges (circular banks & ditches), stone circles, passage burial mounds. It is believed that these innovations first appeared in the Orkneys, in the far North of Scotland. This lecture begins in the Orkneys, with the wonderful Neolithic Village of Skara Brae, and traces the development of these huge building projects culminating in the stone circle at Stonehenge. Along the way we hope to dispel a few myths- e.g. Stone circles being the meeting place of Druids (Druids are part of CELTIC culture, belonging to the Iron Age 800BC-42AD!!)

Thursday 26 July
Ruling from behind the Yellow Silk Screen – The Dowager Empress Cixi (1835-1908)
David Rosier NADFAS

David Rosier is a Chartered Insurer by profession and a Fellow of the Assurance Medical Society, with extensive international experience as an author and lecturer in Medical Risk Assessment. He has over 25 years’ experience of working and living in East Asia.  Whilst living in Hong Kong (1991-2004) he assembled a collection of approximately 700, predominantly Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Imperial and related textiles/costume and dress accessories.  David is a past Committee Member of the Hong Kong Textile Society and a frequent speaker on Chinese Imperial Insignia of Rank, Court Costume and Dress Accessories plus the mechanics of the Imperial Government and the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty.

This lecture seeks to provide a balanced insight into the life and achievements of one of the most important women in Chinese Imperial history.  From relative obscurity as a low-ranking consort we explore the events that led to her confirmation as Dowager Empress Cixi in 1861 and her strategy to preserve, then revitalise, imperial rule after a series of humiliating military defeats by Western Colonial Powers plus several brutal ethnic uprisings.  With the assistance of recently available Imperial Records, plus contemporary evaluations of Cixi’s life, it is now possible to refute the ‘traditional’ view that the Dowager Empress was a cruel and calculating megalomaniac who hated foreigners, condoned corruption and resisted all attempts to modernize and industrialise China. Current evidence provides a far more balanced evaluation.  We will trace the cycles of Cixi’s power, as Emperors came and went, whilst the Dowager Empress moved periodically from a position of influence to full authority and then into times of enforced retirement.  Looking beyond Cixi’s desire to force China into the Modern World we will gain an insight into her life within her beloved Summer Palace with a focus on her passion for painting, embroidery, fashion design and the extensive gardens, a location where Cixi forged some extraordinarily close relationships with leading Western Women as she sought to understand the culture, politics and the role of women in the ‘West’.

Thursday 30 August
The Genius of Antonio Stradivari
Toby Faber NADFAS

Toby Faber has written two works of narrative history, Stradivarius, and Fabergé’s Eggs, and has given lectures at venues including The Victoria and Albert Museum, Hay Literary Festival, The Library of Congress and the Huntington Library in California. He became a NADFAS lecturer in 2012.  Toby’s career began with Natural Sciences at Cambridge and has been through investment banking, management consulting and five years as managing director of the publishing company founded by his grandfather, Faber and Faber, where he remains on the board. He is also non-executive Chairman of Faber Music and a director of the Copyright Licensing Agency and Liverpool University Press.

Two hundred and fifty years after Antonio Stradivari’s death, his violins and cellos remain the most highly prized instruments in the world. Loved by great musicians and capable of fetching fabulous sums when sold, their tone and beauty are legendary. Every subsequent violin-maker has tried to match them. Not one has succeeded. How can that be?  This lecture explores that central mystery by following some of Stradivari’s instruments from his workshop to the present day. It is a story that travels from the salons of Vienna to the concert halls of New York, and from the breakthroughs of Beethoven’s last quartets to the first phonographic recordings. Stradivarius was described in The New York Times as ‘more enthralling, earthy and illuminating than any fiction could be.’ The lecture is illustrated with pictures of violins and of key individuals and locations, as well as with some short musical recordings.

Thursday 20 September
The Urge to Buy, The Art of Advertising 
John Francis

John is an inspirational speaker who has delivered lectures and workshops in the US (Texas, California, Massachusetts), Beijing, Malaysia and the UK. Initially trained as a painter, John was awarded the Max Beckmann Memorial Scholarship in painting in Brooklyn, New York and went on to be artist in resident for the state of Texas.  Later in his career John produced and directed several short films and animations. He has taught film, art and pedagogy at the University of Exeter, Arts University Bournemouth, University Sains Malaysia, Southwestern College, California, Brunel University and Kingston University London.

This lecture will look at early British advertising and Edward Bernays, regarded by many as the ‘father of advertising and public relations’. Bernays, a blood nephew of Sigmund Freud, developed ideas of opinion-moulding or the ‘engineering of consent’. How did the advertising industry become so successful, and why is advertising in the UK often thought of as Art? From posters to the fifteen second television adverts, we explore some of the most successful adverts and unpack the psychological and cultural context behind them. Sir John Everett Millais’s painting Bubbles (1885) was sold for £2,200 to sell Pears soap. It worked. Award winning adverts by Guinness, Levi jeans, Hovis Bread and Fosters will be subject to a detailed analysis

Thursday 1 November
Miniature Adults? Images of Childhood in Western Art
Dr Sophie Oosterwijk NADFAS

Sophie Oosterwijk was born in Gouda (Netherlands) and studied English at Leiden and Medieval Studies at York before obtaining two doctorates in Art History (Leicester) and English Literature (Leiden). She taught Art History at the universities of Leicester, Manchester and St Andrews, and returned to the Netherlands in 2011 to work on the Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO) project at Utrecht University. Sophie is actively involved in the Church Monuments Society and has published widely, incl. two edited volumes, Monumental Industry (2010, on tomb sculpture in medieval England) and Mixed Metaphors (2011, on the Danse Macabre in medieval and renaissance Europe). She is currently a free-lance lecturer for the University of Cambridge, NADFAS, the V&A Museum in London, and a number of art tour companies. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow in Art History at the University of St Andrews (Scotland).

When we look at early child portraits we often see only miniature adults dressed stiffly in adult-like clothes. Yet what can portraits by artists such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck or Velázquez really tell us about children in the past? Recognising the (artistic and social) conventions behind such images (drawings, prints and sculptures as well as paintings) may help to discover more about childhood throughout history, and about social expectations. So how did adults see children in the past, and how were they actually presented in art from Antiquity up to the present? The findings could well be very different from what you might expect, and after this talk you will certainly never look at images of children in quite the same way again.

Thursday 29 November
Christmas Party and AGM

Venue and Time of Lectures

All lectures take place at The Glennie Room, The Glennie School, 246A Herries Street, Toowoomba 5.45 pm for prompt start at 6:00 pm. Please note, the lectures will be on a Thursday going forward.


The fee for members of other ADFAS Societies is $15. Non ADFAS members are invited to attend lectures at a cost of $30 per person. It would be appreciated if the Membership Secretary could be advised of their attendance by Monday am prior to the lecture by contacting Caroline Freyburg on 07 4636 4342 or

Gift (Guest) Vouchers are available at $30 each as well as Gift Vouchers for Membership at $155 each. Please contact Caroline Freyburg on 07 4636 4342 or


Annual Subscription: $155.00
Membership includes 8 Lectures and a delicious supper with a glass of wine or orange juice at the conclusion of the lecture. The subscription also includes the Christmas Breakup Party with entertainment. Those members renewing their subscription will receive a Complimentary Guest Voucher if they have renewed by 31st January, 2018.

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