Welcome to the Exe Decorative and Fine Arts Society. We are based in Topsham, and cover the towns and villages on both sides of the Exe estuary south of Exeter. Our purpose is to give our members opportunities to appreciate the arts.

We have a programme of ten lectures on various aspects of the arts, held monthly on Thursday mornings, from September to June. The lectures are illustrated and given by experts in their field. These lectures are supplemented by special interest days where we look in greater detail at a particular topic.

We also have visits to places of interest in the south west, and tours further afield, including abroad. Some of our members take part in activities such as Heritage Volunteering, Church Recording and Young Arts, where we try to involve young people in the arts through initiatives in local schools and colleges.

In 2017, most decorative and fine art societies changed their names to The Arts Society, following the rebranding of the national body NADFAS. We as a society decided to retain our name ExeDFAS while remaining affiliated to The Arts Society.

We welcome new members at any time, although we currently have a waiting list. We invite anyone who is interested to come along to one of our lectures, to see how informative and entertaining they are. Please let our membership secretary know in advance so that a place can be reserved.

Rob Forster, Chairman 2018-21

The Picture of the Month at the National Gallery.

Galleries everywhere are endeavouring to bring their great art treasures to the public who are unable to get to galleries and museums  as once they did. Their curators have prepared short lectures, and the genius of modern technology can give us ‘Virtual Tours’.

Just a ‘taster’ of these facilities is now available on this website starting with lectures provided by our ‘parent body’ – The Arts Society. The section is called The Arts Society plus and has its own drop down menu accessible at the top of this page

The MayLecture

It is intended that this lecture  be shown on line, -Zoomed at 10.45 a.m. on May 10th. It may also be available on YouTube for a short period after that. These circumstances will be determined by the committee as soon as possible, and this information then related to members early in April.

The Lecture is entitled 

Misia Sert: Queen of Paris, Muse, Patron of the Arts and Fashion Icon

The life of Misia Sert is a fascinating subject. She was brought up in Brussels and Paris, was a friend and patron of many artists (painted by both Renoir and Vuillard) and musicians, financial supporter of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, concert pianist, close friend of Coco Chanel and described as ‘The Queen of Paris’ 

The lecturer on this occasion is Julian Halsby

Julian Halsby was born in North London, and he won an exhibition To Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1966 to read History and after Part One he changed to the History of Art. During his gap year he taught English at the British Institute of Florence, and it was here that he acquired a passion for art history.

 After graduating in 1971 he began lecturing at Croydon College of Art eventually becoming Senior Lecturer and Head of the Postgraduate Conservation Department. He also lectured in other London art colleges and was an early lecturer for NADFAS in the 1970’s. He eventually decided to go freelance and set up an art gallery with his wife in Highgate specialising in late 19th century paintings and Modern British, in particular the work of painters from the New English Art Club.  

He has  written seven books and published many articles and is also a practising artist and an elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibits at the Mall Galleries and other galleries around the country.

His special period as an art historian is from about 1850 to 1920, a period rich with amazingly talented artists. He is interested in the private lives of artists, trying to show them as real people. Hence his lecture today.


The lecture can be seen live on Zoom at 10.45 a.m., on April 8th. Members will receive the link from the membership secretary some time after April 4th

Misia Sert by Toulouse-Lautrec

Contact and Queries