Monthly TASO newsletters.

Here is the latest newsletter.  At the bottom of this page you will also find links to the archive of newsletters since January 2020.

October 2023

Dear Members and those on our Waiting List

Welcome to the new society year! A particularly warm welcome is extended to our new members. In early November we will be holding a New Members’ Coffee Morning. This provides an opportunity for members who have just joined us to meet the trustees and to learn more about our society. An email giving details of the event will be sent out to new members during October.

It was good to see so many members at the AGM on 13th September and to have the opportunity to socialise afterwards. I hope you all enjoyed as much as I did Louise Schofield’s lecture on the race to rescue some of the world’s most stunning Roman mosaics. For those of you who were unable to attend the AGM, or who would like to re-read the papers, the Chair and Trustees Report, Financial Statements and Draft Minutes will be posted on our website in the next few days.

Thanks were given to trustees who retired during 2022-23: Stephanie North (Community Arts Projects) and Alison Madden (Visits).

For those who did not collect their membership programme card at the AGM, these will be available for collection at the next few lectures.

  1. Lecture Programme

For those making their first visit to the Magdalen College auditorium to attend the October lecture, it is accessed through the entrance on Longwall Street and not through the main college entrance on Magdalen Bridge.

You are either a morning or an afternoon member of the society, so please come to the correct session! This is important for controlling numbers in the auditorium, which has a limited seating capacity. If you cannot remember which group you are in, check the header on this email to find out whether you are AM or PM.

Wednesday 11 October at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm, members only.

The Valois Dukes of Burgundy: dazzling and dastardly

Few dynastic families in western Europe wielded such power or wealth in the late Middle Ages as the Dukes of Burgundy. With territories stretching as far as the Low Countries, theirs was a sumptuous court to rival all others. But they would prove dastardly as well as dazzling, and nothing would stop them from their ultimate goal. This lecture will follow their rise to glory and creation of their own superpower and consider the associated trappings of such a flamboyant lifestyle such as art, fashion and gastronomy.

Lecturer: Carole Petipher is an experienced guide and lecturer on combined history and art tours in France. She has lived and worked on a number of bespoke river vessels and converted barges there and used them as a platform from which to research her lectures. She uses art in all its guises to explore the characters who shaped France and likes to delve behind the scenes to discover hidden truths.

Rules for bringing a guest to a lecture

At the start of this new lecture year, I should like to clarify the ‘house rules’ on guests attending lectures.

We are limited as to the number of guests / visitors we can accommodate because of the lecture hall capacity. Any request to bring a guest (or to change your lecture session as a ‘one-off’) must be booked through the Membership Secretary (Ray Wright; in advance of lecture day.

  1. Those on the waiting list may attend one lecture during the society year.
  2. Any member may bring one guest to a lecture no more than twice during the year.
  3. Any individual guest / visitor is restricted to one booking per year.

I hope you will appreciate why we have to apply restrictions. We do ask for a donation of £7 for a guest.

  1. Study Days

We do hope that those who attended the recent Study Day on William Hogarth: Materials and Morals by Lars Tharp enjoyed his combination of two of his most popular subjects: ceramics and Hogarth.

The next study day will be on Tuesday 9 January 2024 at Rewley House on Sicilian Splendours by Paul Roberts. More information will be provided nearer the time.

  1. Visits

The Visits Team are busy organising more guided walks over the next few months and details will be emailed to you as they become available. They are also planning a four-day residential coach trip to the north east of England beginning on Monday 13 May 2024. Put the date in your diary and look out for more details soon.

  1. The newsletter can now be viewed on the TASO website

From this month onwards, in addition to being sent to you by email, the monthly newsletter will be posted on the TASO website ( If you click on ‘About us’ you will be able to access the current newsletter as well as an archive of newsletters going back to January 2020. These make interesting reading, with near-realtime reporting of the impact of the arrival and duration of COVID!

I hope that during 2023-24 we will deliver a varied programme we can all enjoy, and I look forward to meeting you at some of the events throughout the year.

Very best wishes from the trustees and from me

Ann McIlhinney

Chair, The Arts Society Oxford

The current Trustees are:

Ann McIlhinney (Chair)

Ray Wright (Vice-chair; Membership Secretary)

David Barron (Treasurer)

Ruth Burdett (Secretary)

Sue Hine (Study Days)

David Stern (Programme Secretary)

Carol Brownson (Communications)

Steve Rogers (Visits)

Liz West (Community Arts Projects)

Members are reminded to add to their Contacts or Address book to ensure TASO emails do not go into your spam or junk folder.



Archive of TASO newsletters

We have an archive of newsletters from January 2020, with a Microsoft Word file for each year. Click on the relevant year below to download the file of newsletters for that year, then you will be able to access the month of interest to you.