Cattle in the south of Spain in 2003, the reason for a picture of cows will be obvious later!


In this post

COVID 19 Update 

The Society of Beefsteaks

The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks

The Sublime Society of Photographers

Levels of Fitness for workshops


COVID 19 Secure Policy as at 21/10/2020

I have prepared a COVID 19 Secure Policy as a responsible trader. However, this may all be academic as the number of cases are rising significantly and so are my workshop postponements into 2021. 

Here is a link to the BBC News website that tells you the number of cases per 100,000 near you. At the time of writing (19 Oct), the number of cases per 100,000 in Bristol has risen from 23 on 26 Sept to 182 (0.182%) on 13 Oct. The national average is 95. The peak of the current infections in Liverpool is 643 per 100,000 (0.643%) to put things into perspective.

I will still offer workshops on the planned dates and review the COVID risk nearer the time and location.

The Society of Beefsteaks

The idea for the title of this post came from the eighteenth-century Sublime Society of Beefsteaks founded 1735 in London. Surprisingly, continental Europeans thought the English were mesmerised by and only ate beef steaks and plum pudding! In the 1730s a patriotic ballad was written by Henry Fielding called “The Roast Beef of Old England”. This song goaded the French, whom we had been at war with on and off since 1105 (The year, not the time!). 


Maybe the idea for The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks originated with the Society of Beefsteaks. This earlier club was formed in 1705 by actor Richard Estcourt. However, this early society probably died with Estcourt in 1712. The society celebrated the beefsteak as a symbol of patriotic and often Whig concepts of liberty and prosperity.

A Very Rough Guide to Whig Party Policies

Between the 1680s and 1850s, the Whigs contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs’ origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute monarchy, supporting a parliamentary system. Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Roman Catholic Stuart kings and pretenders.

Furthermore, the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowing the Tories back in. (There was an automatic General Election on the death of the monarch in those days.)  In this period Whig Great Britain overtook France, the Dutch and Spain to become the economic and military global superpower.

(There are no direct comparisons between the current Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties in the eighteenth century.)


The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks

The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks was formed in 1735 by John Rich, the manager at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden. At weekly meetings, the members wore a blue coat and buff waistcoat with brass buttons bearing a gridiron motif and the words “Beef and liberty”. Moreover, the steaks and baked potatoes were accompanied by port or porter. After dinner, the evening was given up to noisy revelry. The club met almost continuously until 1867. 



A successor to The Sublime Society of Beef Steaks was formed in 1876 as The Beefsteak Club and has met continually since. Interestingly, famous past and present members include Bram Stoker, Harold MacMillan, Evelyn Waugh, John Betjeman, Robert Baden-Powell, Edward Elgar, Malcolm Sargent, Richard Attenborough, Richard Dimbleby, Barry Humphries and Stephen Fry. Unfortunately, I did not find any female members.


Should you feel you would like to become a member of The Beefsteak Club you will have to break the password on their website or find a current member to press your case and credentials with.

The Sublime Society of Photographers

Immediately after I read the name The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, the Sublime Society of Photographers dropped into my head. Then I began to wonder what this potential new society might be?


Potential current uses of the name 

Maybe a fantasy photo society with a dream team of fantasy members.

Come up with your pun name for your Sublime Society of Photographers. Here is an example, from fantasy football (whatever, that is) Neville Wears Prada. Even I have heard of the devil wears Prada but being a popular cultural ignoramus, I didn’t know it is a film from 2006. 


Who would you like to ask to join your fantasy photo society dead or alive?


“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

Groucho Marx

Here are a few suggestions for fantasy members to be going on with

Ralph Meatyard, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ed Van Der Elskin, Lisette Model, Josef Sudek, Wynne Bullock

James Vanderzee, Werner Bischof, Aaron Siskind, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Shomei Tomatsu, Jacob Riis

Joel Meyerowitz, Gustave Le Gray, W Eugene Smith, Nadar, Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothea Lange

Tina Modotti, Willy Ronis, Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Eadweard Muybridge

Founding Principles

What are the founding principles of your fantasy society? Hopefully, it will not be based on the racism and religious bigotry of the eighteenth century as with The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks.


Grouped visual disciplines

As a fantasy society, you are welcome to include or exclude those who you choose to. However, from my point of view, one aspect of an artistic society is to bring together those who can enhance the range and depth of skills available to the whole membership. These may include:

      • Photographers
      • Painters
      • Editors
      • Archivists
      • Curators
      • Publishers
      • Publicists
      • Sculptors
      • Writers
      • Gallery owners
      • Philanthropists
      • Educationalists
      • Masters of all sorts
      • Web designers
The 5 M’s of Management

Although the analogy does not work perfectly, the 5 M’s of management: money, manpower, method, materials and machinery come’s to mind. This is only of interest when the artistic endeavour has an output. An exhibition or book is an example. When your artistic ideals of any genre are distributed all of the required enabling skills are rarely found in one person.


When producing a monogram no one photographer will be a highly competent in the following necessary disciplines: sponsorship, grants or bursaries, book design, printing, publicity, writing etc.


Hence, a fantasy society that has all these skills and knowledge within its memberships would be of great benefit to its membership. 

Why not leave a comment below with the name of your fantasy photo society?

Levels of Fitness for workshops

A blog reader Tony asked a question about levels of fitness on workshops.

Level 1 – low fitness, stamina and general fitness mainly on level ground or gentle slopes at a pace to suit the participants.  

Level 2 – Moderate as level 1 but may include steeper hills still well within most people’s ability.

Level 3 – Challenging – uneven ground and steep slopes as in some parts of mountainous Snowdonia. 

Most workshop itineraries can be or are modified to suit the mobility or stamina of clients.