Art to the fore with Stone & District U3A

A member of the group is pictured inspecting one of the strong paintings by Theo Garman, the son of Jacob Epstein and Kathleen Garman.

Stone U3A Art Appreciation Group had a very enjoyable visit to The New Art Gallery in Walsall recently.

The building itself is a beautiful work of art, opened in 2000 mainly to house the Garman-Ryan Collection – paintings, drawings and bronzes collected by Kathleen Garman (and her friend, Sally Ryan) who grew up locally and wished to give something back to her home area. There are strong links with Jacob Epstein, and wonderful examples of his sculptures in bronze of the heads of friends and family.

The group enjoyed a guided tour of part of the gallery, and then later heard a talk on the famous painting by Holbein, ‘The Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling’, which is at the gallery for a few months on a tour of the UK. Altogether there was a great deal for the Art Appreciation Group to enjoy and discuss.

The group meets on the last Monday afternoon of each month at Christ Church Centre. More details can be obtained from Elaine Hunt on 01785 819055. Another art circle, led by Margaret Wye, has an exhibition (themed largely around animals) throughout June at Stone Library and this should be well worth a look.

Furthermore, there is an offer from Patrick Imrie to lead a new group starting in September at Oulton Village Hall on the History of European Paintings. Ten monthly meetings on the first Monday of each month would provide a skeletal framework for comprehending the history of European paintings from about 1400 to 1870. At each session up to ten paintings from a certain period would be studied, with discussion on some features of the art works and personal responses. The focus would be on looking at the paintings to illustrate how European painting developed over these centuries. Collaborative learning is fundamental to how Patrick wishes the group to function so he will be encouraging other group members to introduce discussion of particular paintings. He hopes that members will want to bring in books and other items of appropriate artwork for everyone to enjoy during the coffee break. No prior knowledge of art works is expected or required. All enquiries should be made to: or if you do not have email, phone 01785 819703.

Ecclian readers might be especially interested to visit the local library in the next few weeks as the U3A Photography Group has an exhibition of its work on display throughout the month. Then on Saturday, June 23, as part of the biennial Eccleshall Festival, the organisation will have a stall at the Street Market. Committee members will be on hand to chat about all the groups on offer and to enrol newcomers. The next Speaker Meeting – entitled ‘Kindly Landlord or Cruel Tyrant?’ – will be on Wednesday, June 20, at Christ Church Centre, Stone, when Steve Booth, Treasurer for Stone Historical and Civic Society, will talk about the enormously wealthy and highly controversial 1st Duke of Sutherland whose statue can be seen dominating the skyline at the southern end of Trentham Lake. Come along at 1.15pm for a prompt 1.30pm start (cost £2 on the door, to include tea/coffee and biscuits). Everyone is welcome. To find out more about the local U3A and its 60+ groups on offer, contact Gareth Jones on 01782 372349 or visit the website