Mornington Peninsula

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Postal Address:

ADFAS Mornington Peninsula
PO Box 572
112 Main Street
Mornington, 3931

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 2018

Mr. Peter McGinley,

Membership Secretary:
Vicky Davison
Mob: 0407 810 877


Membership Enquiries:

Programme for 2018

Medieval Manuscripts in Australia
Friday 23rd February 2018
Dr Christopher de Hamel

In this lavishly illustrated tour of the oldest books in Australasia we will learn how they arrived here, why they matter, how to see them and how to read and understand them. These illuminated manuscripts that include Bibles, historical texts, music and magic, lend themselves to spectacular photographs. Dr Christopher de Hamel will relate the story of his discovery about the Rothschild prayer book in the Stokes Collection in Western Australia – a tale that involves the nineteenth century history of collecting medieval art and twenty-first century connoisseurship and scholarship.

The Canal Age
Friday 23rd March 2018
Paul Atterbury

Between the 1760s and the 1840s a network of around 2,000 miles of canals and inland waterways was built to connect the towns and cities of England, Wales and Scotland, a network that was at the heart of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. The Canal Age explores the impact of the canals upon artists such as John Constable, the generation of architects, engineers, designers who built the canals and the manufacturers such as Josiah Wedgwood whose success was dependent upon canal transport.

William Hogarth: ‘A terrier snapping at the heels of the great’
Friday 4th May
Rosalind Whyte

This lecture looks at the life, times and work of William Hogarth, who was closely involved with the social and political issues of his times, as is reflected in the sometimes scathing and satirical nature of his responses to current issues. It explores the variety of forms he worked in, from his ‘Modern Moral Subjects’ and Conversation Pieces to his portraiture and attempts at History painting.  But no exploration of Hogarth’s work would be complete without looking at his cutting and often bawdy sense of humour.

A New Black Identity: The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s
Friday 1st June
Dr Matthew Laing (Australian)

The emergence of the artistic and cultural movement in uptown New York that came to be known as the Harlem Renaissance was a seminal moment in the development of a post-slavery black identity in the United States. Harlem was the interwar crossroads for the greatest creative and intellectual minds in black society. Many of the movement’s leaders are still icons of Black America, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker.

Interest in the Harlem Renaissance has increased in recent decades, as black history is better understood as a root of modern American culture rather than a specific African American culture. The lecture includes selected recordings, motion pictures and many examples of photographic and visual art from the period.

Ruling from behind the Yellow Silk Screen – The Dowager Empress Cixi (1835-1908)
Friday 6th July
David Rosier

This lecture provides an insight into the life and achievements of one of the most important women in Chinese Imperial history from her relative obscurity as a low-ranking consort to her confirmation as Dowager Empress Cixi in 1861. It is now possible to refute the ‘traditional’ view that the Dowager Empress was a cruel and calculating tyrant – 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.


Dressing to Impress – Formal, Semi Formal and Informal Costume of the Court and High Society in China 17th to 20th Century
Saturday 7
th July, Interest Morning
David Rosier

Lecture time 10.00am
Venue: The Beleura House and Garden, Mornington

This lecture contrasts the costume and dress accessories that fell beyond the scope of regulated formal court costume with the mandated clothing required to be worn by the Imperial Nobility and Officials of the Government and Armed Forces.   Specific consideration will be given to the clothing that would have been worn informally by Chinese High Society whilst away from official duties or participating in special family events.   An explanation will be provided for the more common design themes employed to indicate the nature of an event or status of the wearer. The use of decorative iconography drawn from nature, Chinese culture and major religions will be highlighted.  A specific focus will be on the highly decorative informal clothing worn by Chinese ladies.



The Genius of Antonio Stradivari
Friday 10th August
Toby Faber

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 violinmaker 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.



“Dial M for Murder” – Alfred Hitchcock
Friday 31st August
Dr John Francis



Rembrandt’s Vision: Dutch History Painting in the 17th Century
Friday 12th October
Dr Sophie Oosterwijk

‘History painting’ was a special genre for a distinct clientele in the Dutch Republic during the Golden Age. It was also the most highly regarded genre of painting. History paintings depict stories from especially the Bible and Antiquity with the aim of affecting the viewer emotionally. There was thus an emphasis on human drama and the human figure; however, that same focus could also provide an excuse for depicting the female nude. Trained in history painting by Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, the Leiden painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) gradually developed his own interpretations of biblical stories, such as that of Bathsheba and David or of Susanna and the Elders, placing greater psychological emphasis on inner conflict and personal drama. His very personal visions can still move or disturb us in ways quite different from depictions of the same stories by his contemporaries. Yet, as this lecture will show, many of his contemporaries did not appreciate his approach.



Interest Morning. The Fruits of Sin: The Art and Times of Hieronymus Bosch
Saturday 13th October
Dr Sophie Oosterwijk

Lecture time: 10.00am
Venue: The Beleura House and Garden, Mornington

To a modern viewer the fantastic world that the Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (d. 1516) presents in his paintings and drawings may seem bizarre. His scenes of Creation, the Last Judgment, Hell, temptations, martyrdoms and the life of Christ are full of caricature characters and hybrid monsters who torture their human victims in highly imaginative ways. Bosch lived and worked on the threshold between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, in a period when religious and political stability had started to falter. We look at Bosch’s art within its historical and cultural context in order to gain a better understanding of this intriguing artist.



Carrick Hill – A Collection To Live In
Friday 9th November
Richard Heathcote (Australian)

AGM 4.45pm and lecture 5.30pm

Created in the mid 1930’s, Carrick Hill contains the oldest interior in Australia and the most significant collection of British modern art in the country. Edward and Ursula Hayward’s journey as collectors began with their purchase in 1935 of Jacobean architectural salvage from the demolished country seat of the 6th Marquess of Anglesey in Staffordshire, England.  Their home in the Adelaide foothills took the form of an English manor house, and is set in a hillside garden.  Over the next thirty-five years they filled it with paintings, oak furniture, ceramics, pewter and people. Many Australian artists, such as William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Ivor Hele and Adrian Feint, were friends of the Haywards and stayed at Carrick Hill; their works are in the collection. The lecture will take us through the journey of how this eclectic and refined collection came to the oldest interior in Australia.


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 and incur an additional cost of $40

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 $155 for single membership and $290 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.


Guests are welcome. Guest fees are $30 per person, and guests may attend three times in one year, with prior notice to the Membership Secretary. The fee for members of other ADFAS societies is $20. The special interest morning 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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