Probus Talk – River Thames on Canvas

The Chairman opened this month’s meeting by confirming the Club’s social events that were in the planning stage to include an outing to the Mill at Sonning in January and a visit to the Medical History Museum at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in March.

This month’s guest speaker was Martin Beek, an accomplished artist and art historian who teaches autistic children and who lectures in both this country and in America. Martin entitled his talk the River Thames on Canvas and proceeded to give an absolutely fascinating illustrated account of a trip down the River Thames via different artists.  He started the lecture at the source of the river and worked all the way down to the estuary with paintings by 28 separate artists. His illustrations covered the time frame from the early 1700s right up to the modern day. The paintings he showed were of famous places and happenings along the river to include such places as Wallingford, Courtney Nuneham, Oxford, Goring & Streetley, Mapledurham, Shiplake Lock, Henley, Clivden, Boulter’s Lock, Cookham, London to include Richmond, Chiswick and Rotherhithe, and Chatham. There were paintings of the Henley Royal Regatta, the Great Fire of London, the burning of the Lords and House of Commons, and her Majesty’s 60th jubilee. Some of the famous artists and their works included Canaletto, Claude Monet, J M W Turner, John Constable, Joshua Reynolds, David Hockney, James Tissot and Stanley Spencer who one of our members knew personally from their childhood in Cookham. Club members gave Martin a rousing round of applause and member Wally Camp gave a formal thank you on behalf of the club.

The meeting closed and club members, along with our guest speaker, enjoyed a delicious two course lunch provided by the Badgemore staff.

Henley Probus meets at Badgemore Park on the second Tuesday of each month; it starts with an informal gathering of its members (plus Visitors) for a discussion and coffee, with the formal meeting commencing at 1130 followed by a lunch.

If anyone is interested in joining the Club, please make themselves known to Roger Griffiths our Membership Secretary (01491575137/email or to any Club member that you may know.

Further details of the club can be found on the Club website which can be accessed on

1 comment
  1. Frank Johnson says:

    I live in the United States and have a Google Alert set up for James Tissot, which is how I found this article and learned of this lecture. It must have been a fascinating presentation.


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