After 18 months of isolation, members of the Arts Society were free to meet and greet again, in person, at an event in Northwood House.

92 people turned up for the first lecture of the 2021/22 season in Cowes, to hear lecturer, Paul Chapman give the history of the Cirque Medrano in Montmartre Paris.

The circus, originally called Fernando after the original owner, was first established in a tent on a vacant site in Montmartre in 1875 but soon expanded into a purpose-built building that hosted circus artistes from around Europe.

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At this time Montmartre was already a centre for artists and the owner encouraged them to come into the circus to sketch and paint the performers as an astute publicity ploy as their pictures were exhibited around the city.

Over the many years the circus was operating, many of the leading artists of the time did pictures in the circus, including Degas, Renoir, Toulouse Lautrec, Seurat, Cocteau, and Picasso. The circus continued right through till 1973.

The next lecture by the Isle of Wight Arts Society will be on Tuesday November 2nd at 14:00 when Bertie Pearce will speak about Charles Dickens and his “invention” of Christmas, including readings, biographical details and conjuring tricks!

Non members can attend a lecture for £10. Visit for full details of the society, membership and its programme

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