Birmingham Evening Decorative and Fine Arts Society
Birmingham Evening Decorative and Fine Arts Society

The Arts Society - Birmingham Evening (formerly BEDFAS) 

Welcome to the website of the Birmingham Evening Decorative and Fine Arts Society in Birmingham (BEDFAS), which is now known as THE ARTS SOCIETY - BIRMINGHAM EVENING.


We have a brand new website under construction but here's a preview of what's on offer from August 2017 going forward.


Order forms for these events and new website will be available soon.  If you are on our mailing list you will receive an email letting you know when they are available.

2017-2018 Lecture Programme


Thursday 28 September 2017

An Evening with Bonhams – stories from the auction world

Works of Art, Watches and Cars – three of Bonhams’ Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers share their experiences. There will be a chance to talk to the experts before the lecture (from 6.00 pm)


Thursday 19 October 2017 (AGM)

With a little help from their friends: the Beatles and their artists


Lecturer Barry Venning will take us on a journey through the 60s in music and images, following the Beatles from the Hamburg Reeperbahn in 1960 to Abbey Road in 1969, and their rise to global fame supported by an impressive roster of photographers and artists. 


Thursday 16 November 2017

Cracking Glass


Mark Hill’s new talk is an overview of Britain’s ‘Big Four’ post-war glass companies -Whitefriars, King’s Lynn (Wedgwood), Caithness and Dartington - discussing the emergence of these factories, and their context and major influences.


Thursday 22 February 2018

The Scottish Colourists


Alice Foster explores the work of early 20th century artists - Peploe, Fergusson, Hunter and Cadell.  All were bold pioneers in the field of rich colour and exuberant brushwork, and the strong light and bright colour they discovered in France was easily harnessed to their favourite places, people, interiors and still life in Scotland.


Thursday 22 March 2018

The Art of the Joke


Artists have always used jokes to make serious statements – about themselves, about the world, about the nature of art. Susie Harries’ talk looks at artists’ jokes through the ages, from medieval monks doodling graffiti in the margins of manuscripts to Banksy turning supermarket walls into social satire.


Thursday 19 April 2018

The Art and Architecture of Travel


Sarah Pearson’s lecture examines the art and architecture of travelling and includes often overlooked gems including bus and railway stations, travel posters and tube stations. It examines leading artists and architects in the sphere of travel, including John Hassall, Fougasse, Leslie Green, and Richard Rogers.


Thursday 17 May 2018

A Potted History of Britain


Julian Richards gives us a genuinely ‘potted history’ of the major changes that have shaped the ways pots are produced and distributed from their first appearance as hand-formed and bonfire-fired prehistoric pots in Britain through to the industrial revolution and the art potteries of the 19th century.


Thursday 21 June 2018

Basingstoke and its contribution to world culture


Hilariously told by Rupert Willoughby, this is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, “What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns”. 


Bite Size Brum Programme 

This year’s programme is exploring (but not limited to!)


Birmingham – the City of 1,000 trades


w/c 28 August 2017 (date tbc)

Meet the Artist : Metropolis 

Original artworks celebrating Birmingham.

6.00 pm RBSA St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1SA


Tuesday 5 September 2017

Walk & Talk with Blue Badge Guide

Ian Jelf’s informative and funny guide to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

6.00 pm Jewellery Quarter


Thursday 21 September 2017

Visit to St Chad’s Cathedral

10.00 am St Chad’s Queensway, Birmingham B4 6EU


Wednesday 4 October 2017

Visit to George Hook & Company

Mother of Pearl workers since 1824

10.30 am Pope Street, Smethwick B66 2JP


Thursday 12 October 2017

Meet the Artist : Around the Jewellery Quarter   

RBSA artists capture this famous area of the City.

6.00 pm RBSA St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1SA


Thursday 23 November 2017

Visit to J Hudson & Co (Whistles) Ltd

Home of Acme Whistles

10.30 am 244 Barr Street, Birmingham B19 3AH


Tuesday 7 November 2017

Meet the Artist : Equivalent 8 with William Gear exhibition 

6.00 pm RBSA St Paul’s Square, Birmingham B3 1SA                       


A small opera diversion!

Monday 4 December 2017

Christmas Event

The Gilded Stage: a Social and Cultural History of Opera


From the birth of opera in Renaissance Italy, Daniel Snowman moves from Louis XIV’s Versailles, Handel’s London, Mozart’s Vienna, Verdi’s Italy and Wagner’s Germany to Gilded Age America and the worldwide spread of opera in the 20th century. 

6.00 for 7.00 pm at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts (fee applies for all participants)


Wednesday 17 January 2018

Topsy Turvey (1999) Mike Leigh’s film of the sometimes-turbulent relationship between Gilbert & Sullivan

1.00 pm The Electric Cinema, 47-49 Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY


Coming in 2018: A History of Chocolate with Jim Evans, Japanned Papier Mache & Tinware with Yvonne Jones, and a visit to Birmingham Assay Office. 





Two Peasants Binding Faggots


Antwerp about 1620

Oil on wood - 36.2 x 27.3 cm



Peasants binding a bundle of branches for firewood were often painted as one of winter’s labours. The precise subject here is unknown, although it is clearly critical in tone. 


The peasants, with their accomplice in the distance, look around suspiciously – they are possibly stealing the wood.  Other vices are hinted at.  The stout man to the left symbolises gluttony and his gaunt accomplice to the right, with his codpiece and phallic pipe, represents lechery. Pieter Breughel the younger often painted copies and pastiches of his father’s work, though no prototype is known here.


This picture is currently on display at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.








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