About Us

Welcome to East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts Society (EHDFAS)

EHDFAS is part of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire area group of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS). EHDFAS was founded in 1968 and became the twelfth member society of NADFAS.

What we do

NADFAS is a national and international organisation and a leading arts charity. The aim of the society is to advance decorative and fine arts education and appreciation alongside promoting the conservation of our artistic heritage. We do this in several ways:

  • Providing a programme of high quality, monthly, illustrated lectures.
  • Visiting galleries, museums country houses and other places of cultural interest.
  • Holding special interest days, where we study a subject in greater depth than at our monthly lectures.
  • Organising trips within the UK and abroad.
  • Providing non-specialist volunteers who work under the guidance of curators and other professionals to help conserve our heritage; promoting recognition and preservation of the rich artistic heritage in places of worship by recording the contents of churches; and volunteering in the broader arts community.
  • Providing children and young people, through Young Arts, with exciting opportunities to get involved in creative arts activities.
  • Grant giving at both local and national level.

Become a member

We welcome new members and guests. Membership for the current year is £35 or £65 per couple, and this entitles you to nine top quality lectures. You may bring a guest for a fee of £5 per person for each visit. We meet on the last Thursday of the month (except July, August and December) at The Spotlight, Hoddesdon. Coffee is available from 10 am for a 10.30 am start.

Contact the membership secretary at membership@easthertsdfas.co.uk

Young Arts: Co-ordinator: Sandra Wallace

We aim to foster love of the arts in young people by giving financial aid to local schools and other organisations for particular projects. In the last two years we have awarded grants to

  • Richard Hale Secondary School (Summer Exhibition expenses)
  • Hertingfordbury Cowper Primary School (Creation of a Textile Wall Hanging)
  • Millbrook Primary School (Mosaic Workshop)
  • Ware Museum (Mosaic Workshop)
  • Presdales Secondary School (Sponsorship of an Artist in Residence; workshop and teaching visuals)
  • Sele Secondary School (Art materials)
  • Hertford Art Society (Sponsorship of prize for best 3D piece)

Volunteers: Co-ordinator: Sandra Wallace

We recruit volunteers to carry out a limited amount of guiding and stewarding in museums and galleries. Our proximity to London also means that we are occasionally asked to provide volunteers for one-off large exhibitions. We currently have volunteers at Ware Museum and the Henry Moore Foundation.

Church Recording

Church Recording Co-ordinator: Rosemary Davis

Church Recorders promote recognition and preservation of our rich cultural heritage by recording the furnishings, artefacts and some of the fabric of our places of worship.

Church Recording began in the 1970s when the Victoria and Albert Museum, aware of the vulnerability of the contents of many churches to damage and loss, sought the assistance of NADFAS members to produce detailed inventories of that heritage before it was too late.

Church Recording groups were set up by local DFAS societies across the country and to date more than 1700 churches have been recorded.

Currently fourteen members of EHDFAS meet three Thursday mornings a month to systematically record in text and photographs the furnishings and fittings of a designated local church. Using prescribed formats the stonework, woodwork, metalwork, windows, memorials, textiles etc. are closely examined, recorded, and historical and social connections made. The volunteers may work for two years or longer in a given church due to the detailed nature of the work. Compilation of each record is an exacting and time consuming process. When the record has been approved, copies are sent to the V&A, English Heritage, the County Record Office (HALS), Churches Building Council and a formal presentation is made to the Church.


Our Committee is made up of a number of volunteers who give their time and skills in different ways to help the society function.

PresidentDavid Hunt
Vice PresidentJudy Waples
ChairmanGeoff Bennettgeoff_bennett_uk@yahoo.com
Vice ChairmanJulia Fultonjuliafulton@btinternet.com
SecretaryDavid Shutesdavid66shutes@btinternet.com
TreasurerGerald Peppertreasurer@easthertsdfas.co.uk
Membership SecretaryChris Abbottmembership@easthertsdfas.co.uk
Programme SecretaryJane Cartwright
Young Arts/VolunteersSandra Wallace briarose_21@hotmail.com
Outings SecretaryElizabeth Dodwelloutings@easthertsdfas.co.uk
Special Interest Days SecretarySue Rogersspecialinterestdays@easthertsdfas.co.uk
Church Recording Co-ordinatorRosemary Davis rosemarydavis131@gmail.com
LibrarianBarbara White library@easthertsdfas.co.uk
Newsletter/Website EditorRosemary Davis rosemarydavis131@gmail.com
Committee MemberColin Gordon

More details can be found by clicking on the relevant image below.

History of EHDFAS


The society, like NADFAS itself, celebrated its 40th anniversary with a variety of events, including a dinner, an exhibition of members own artwork and the planting of a copper beech tree in the garden behind the Civic Hall.


The society arranged its first study tour — four days based at Blairquhan in Ayrshire and trips then became a regular feature of its activities. Subsequent visits have been made to Prague, Ravenna, Dublin, Berlin, Florence, Dresden, New York, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and The Hague, Istanbul, Madrid, Normandy, Cracow, Munich/Oberammergau and the south of France.


The society moved to its current venue, The Spotlight, Hoddesdon, which provided ideal facilities for both lectures and Special Interest Days (the revised name for Study Days) and for members to meet socially.


The idea of themed lectures was introduced, with a series of talks on, for example, the Renaissance. Two seasons were devoted, in their entirety, to the Georgian and Regency periods respectively.

Charitable status was applied for, so that subscriptions could be covenanted. Although covenanting was never instigated, the society did achieve charitable status, and its work in this area was greatly enhanced by being able to claim Gift Aid on subscriptions.


A Church Recording representative and a Voluntary Conservation Corps representative were added to the committee.


The first Study Day took place — a trio of lectures on antique glass — and by this time the society was also running a library.


There was a further move to Mayflower Place in Hertingfordbury.


The lectures were now held in The Priory, Ware and an Outings Secretary was appointed.


The society applied for membership to the National Association (which had been established that same year) and became society number 12. The subscription was £10.10.0d. and there were 140 members.

The inaugural meeting of the NADFAS-affiliated society was held on 8 October in St John’s Hall, Hertford, with a borrowed projector. In the first year, subjects included English Country Houses, Worcester Porcelain and Early Mediaeval Art.


The chance reading of a newspaper article about an arts group, which Patricia Fay had started near Rickmansworth, led to a group of friends getting together to see if something comparable could be established in East Herts. This resulted in a public meeting attended by about 60 people, to which a member of Patricia Fay’s Chilterns group came to speak and explain their format — a lecture once a month, a committee and a subscription to pay for the hall and lecturers.

A committee was elected at that meeting and East Hertfordshire Decorative and Fine Arts Society was born.