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Christmas Dinner, Friday December 4th 2015

The Oxford and Cambridge Society of New England cordially invites you to its 
Annual Christmas Dinner 
Friday 4th December 2015
Winchester Country Club
"John Ruskin at Oxford: From Gentleman-Commoner to Slade Professor"

The art and social critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) was one of the 19th century’s most influential thinkers. He was also an Oxford man. His relationship with the university bookended his long and remarkable intellectual career, from his beginnings as a woefully underprepared Gentleman-Commoner at Christ Church, to the glory days of speaking to packed lecture halls as the first Slade Professor of Art.

From Modern Painters Vol I - published when Ruskin was 24, and his opening volley in a lifetime of labyrinthine works defending the art of JMW Turner – to the revolutionary economic manifesto Unto This Last, or his hauntingly beautiful memoir Praeterita, written between bouts of the madness that would silence his last years, Ruskin’s opinions on art, architecture, economic justice, and education reverberated throughout the world.

Ruskin’s time matriculating at Oxford was blighted by a painfully unrequited love – the first of his disastrous romantic life – and by the amused bullying of the aristocrats he was thrown in with. It was also blessed with rich and life-long friendships, for it was here he met such scientific luminaries as the revered Dr. William Buckland and Charles Darwin. His affection for Oxford led him to contribute a stunning cache of Turner’s paintings to it – an act of generosity he repeated at Cambridge.

Author Octavia Randolph will present an illustrated talk about John Ruskin at Oxford, and read from her new biographical novel about him, Light, Descending. Ms. Randolph has been the recipient of Artistic Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Ledig House International, and Byrdcliffe in support of the research and writing of Light, Descending, and has spoken about Ruskin at NYU, The Boston Athenaeum, Save Venice, and numerous other venues. She is also the author of the best-selling historical novel series, The Circle of Ceridwen Saga.

Attire for gentlemen will be black tie, college blazer or business suit.

The event is open to OCSNE members and their guests, new members please add membership when booking online, or include your $30 membership dues in your check.

Tickets cost $100 per person ($85 for student members)  including wine and port with dinner and reception drinks. Booking is now closed, to inquire about late availability contact David Manns at

The Winchester Country Club has ample parking. Directions are here.  Although the Winchester Country Club is in the suburbs, one of the reasons we selected it is that it is readily accessible from Boston and Cambridge by public transportation.

Take the Red Line to Alewife and transfer to the 350 bus.  If you pay on the Red Line with your Charley Card, swiping the Card on the 350 will get you a free transfer.  Take the 350 to the Mystic Street / Old Mystic Street stop and you will be 50 yards from the Winchester Country Club. Outbound service runs every 20 minutes in the early evening -- there is a bus at 5:40, which will get you there  a few minutes early, or at 20 minute intervals thereafter through 6:20, after which it becomes less frequent.

Coming back, the buses are less frequent. The last buses are at 9:46pm and 10:46pm.  The Club tells us that this bus is very reliable and that a number of the Club employees catch it.

This mailing also serves as the notice for the Annual Meeting of Members (AGM) and the Regular Meeting of Directors, which will take place at the dinner.

Sincerely,                                                                  Reception: 6:00 pm, Dinner: 7:15 pm
 Dona Cady                                                             AGM: 8:30 pm, Talk: 8:50 pm, 
Dona Cady (Somerville, Oxon.),                               Location: Winchester Country Club
President of the Society