On 23 January 2024 at Queen Anne’s Gate, London, to a full room of 40 members and guests, Art Expert Christina Cadogan gave a talk on Nordic art to the Anglo-Swedish and Anglo-Finnish Societies about the advent of a more modern style of painting in Sweden and Finland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was a time of huge social, political and cultural change in Europe and we looked at how Swedish and Finnish art evolved during this period discussing, amongst others, the work of Hilma af Klint, Helene Schjerfbeck and Hugo Simberg whose granddaughter Ann Simberg was present giving us insights to her grandfather’s work. We heard how Hilma af Klint was pioneering abstract art even years before Wassily Kandinsky while she was not credited for her work during her life time.
Christina Cadogan worked for several years at Bonhams, the auctioneers, specialising in drawings and watercolours. She has also worked for the Swedish Embassy in London advising on art and design. Christina now works as an art consultant and art dealer specialising in Nordic Art. We are grateful to Jan Ankarcrona for providing such elegant premises for the talk.
On 9 February 2024, The Finnish Defence Attaché gave a talk about Finland’s NATO Membership to a full audience at the Allen Room at St Anne’s Church, Soho.
Captain (Navy) Mika Raunu addressed issues such as the reasons why the Finnish public mood switched so quickly in favour of NATO membership after so many decades of determined neutrality, how the system of national military service works and how reservists are kept up to date, with some information about the number of full-time military professionals in Finland. Before the talk we had lunch in the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn.
On 23 February 2024, a group of 15 members had a tour of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Whitehall.
The current premises of the FCDO in King Charles Street, designed by the architect George Gilbert Scott and completed between 1868 and 1874, originally comprised four government departments. The tour included the Grand Staircase and the Muses Staircase in the former Foreign Office and Durbar Court and Gurkha Stairs in the former India Office, the Locarno Suite and the India Office Council Chamber.
We are grateful to Professor Patrick Salmon, Chief Historian at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, for showing us around one of the most spectacular public buildings in the UK.