DIANA SWANN: Lectures provide fascinating insights

PIDFAS members are visiting Brighton Pavilion soon
PIDFAS members are visiting Brighton Pavilion soon
HMS Queen Elizabeth is arriving back into Portsmouth this afternoon

WATCH: HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives back in Portsmouth

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THOSE of us who cherish a secret love of bling were enthralled at the PIDFAS lecture on December 13 when Amanda Herries, curator for 10 years of the London Museum, described the dazzling Cheapside Hoard, found by workmen in an old chest while excavating a cellar in the City of London in 1912.

Crammed with 16th to 17th century jewellery, ranging from single precious stones to wonderful necklaces, rings, brooches and other bejewelled objects, most of the chest’s contents are now held by the London Museum.

There were gasps from the audience – even the men – as each magnificent illustration rolled on to our cinema-sized screen.

Despite the normal post-Christmas apathy, we mustered a big audience for Anthony Russell’s talk on the power and glory of our country houses on January 10.

Anthony is a painter as well as a cultural historian and his artistic eye ensured that the plentiful illustrations were particularly stunning.

This was no conventional tour through well-known buildings, but a pointed and revealing view of our cultural and social evolution as manifested in our great houses.

We have plenty in store for our members in the next two months.

Our forthcoming lecture on February 14 is an insight into the objects and stories behind the famous London Livery companies by Joanna Mabbut, who is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

And on February 16 we have one of our enthralling study days.

Hanne Sutcliffe will tell us about the Ancient Silk Road and its hidden art treasures.

The venue for the study day is Cathedral House, St Thomas Street.

It will run from 10am to about 3pm with a buffet lunch and wine thrown in.

We also will be visiting the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, by coach on March 30.

We have two outings a year and they are always very lively occasions.

Our lectures are always on the second Tuesday of each month.

Many of us socialise with a cup of coffee in the foyer of the University’s Eldon Building off Winston Churchill Avenue from 6pm before we all gather at 6.45pm for the lecture at 7pm. We would love to welcome you.

See our website, pidfas.org.uk, for full booking details for all these events.

Alternatively, please call me for more information on (023) 9282 0317.

Diana is from Portsea Island Decorative Arts Society