In 2006 the University of Southampton ceased to offer Art History as an academic discipline at Winchester School of Art and at New College Southampton. This left the Winchester Region without a centre for the study of Art History at senior level. A group of mature students approached one of the tutors, namely Bernard Courtis as to whether means could be provided whereby they could continue to enjoy studying this subject. The result was that in April 2008 the Winchester Art History Group (WAHG), a voluntary organisation was formed that provides tutors to teach art history; arranges guided visits to major Art Exhibitions; centres of art conservation and to other places of artistic interest. It is a non profit organisation administered by a group of volunteers.
The Group’s constitution was approved by its members at the 2010 AGM. During the period September 2008 to June 2010 the WAHG Committee organised twenty-three lectures on a variety of Art History subjects including lectures on Chinese and Indian art. Lectures on European Art have ranged from Renaissance art to Picasso and post impressionist painters such as Van Gogh and Matisse as well as a lecture on stained glass. In addition the Committee organized sixteen visits to major exhibitions and to Art centres such as: a conservation studio; Southampton Art Gallery’s reserve collections of paintings; a sculpture park; to the V&A print and watercolour collections and to the Ashmolean Museum to study Japanese art. Most of these visits were guided by a member of the applicable Museum or Gallery. It is the intention of the WAHG Committee to continue to provide an eclectic programme so that a wide choice of subjects can be offered to Members.