The Arts on Film
Behind the canvas with a movie camera: you can almost smell the turpentine in these fascinating portraits of artists at work.
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture," so it's said. So what about filming about art? Whatever the challenges, filmmakers have never been deterred from exploring other media in film - and for that we should give thanks. These films give us an often unique record of the artist - dancer or architect, painter or sculptor, musician, novelist or poet - at work and at leisure. They present artists speaking lucidly about their work. They preserve performances otherwise lost forever. And, perhaps best of all, they take us inside the creative process, allowing us to witness works of art emerging before our eyes.
Figures in a Landscape
Documentary195317 minsSilent Location: St Ives
A poetic portrait of sculptor Barbara Hepworth and the otherworldly Cornish landscapes which inspired her.
Portrait of David Hockney
Filmed at the time Hockney was painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, this compelling study concentrates on the textures and light which surround the artist in his home and studio.
Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt
Discover the 'name behind the hairstyle', in this essential portrait of the bard of Salford, aka John Cooper Clarke.
Gainsborough Bicentenary Celebrations
Non-Fiction19272 minsSilent Location: Sudbury
Commemorations for 'The Blue Boy' author, English painter Thomas Gainsborough, in his home town of Sudbury; a local newsreel to mark the bi-centenary of his birth.
L.S. Lowry - The Industrial Artist
Documentary197317 mins Location: Mottram in Longdendale
Matchstick men and so much more - the work and world of Lawrence Stephen Lowry, recorder of the industrial north.
Bill Brookes - Painter of Darwen
Documentary197611 mins Location: Darwen
A self-taught Lancashire artist reflects on the town that inspired his creative career.
Can I Have a Dragon Please?
Perusing body embellishment in the early eighties, tattoo fans talk about their enthusiasm for staining skin long before it dominated Dalston.
Photomontage Today: Peter Kennard
An analysis of the use of photomontage to distort meaning and create subversive and oppositional art, exemplified by the work of Peter Kennard.
Artist - Robert Evans-Hughes
Amateur film196111 minsSilent Location: Rhyl
From Llanrwst to Australia, Rome to London, and then finally to Rhyl, Robert Evans-Hughes painted what he saw and, having painted, he would ponder his work with a pipe.
London's Free Shows
Travelogue19248 mins Location: Westminster
Part of Wonderful London, the BFI National Archive’s programme of restored London travelogues, filmed in the capital in the 1920s.
Rufus De Pinto - Artist and Eccentric
Factual TV19657 mins Location: Stradbroke
Anglia TV’s Mike Robson visits eccentric British artist Rufus De Pinto at his home in Stradbroke, Suffolk.
Listen to Britain
Government sponsored film194220 mins
Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister's masterly collage of the various people and classes of Britain - at home and at work, at war and at peace - is one of the great films of war-time Britain.
The Artist's House and His Works - Sir Alfred Munnings
Factual TV19714 mins Location: Dedham
A peek inside the Munnings Art Museum in Dedham, Essex, a memorial to England’s finest painter of horses, known as the artist who hated Picasso.
Amateur film195320 mins Location: Bardsey Island/Ynys Enlli
At home with Brenda Chamberlain. The artist/writer from Bangor lived on Bardsey 1947-62 and is filmed there by a regular visitor to the island.
Raymond Piper and Creative Women
News197515 mins Location: Belfast
Join Spectrum as Ulster Television celebrate two rarities in Northern Irish art, orchids and an entirely female exhibition.
Exhibition of Sculptures by Daphne Hardy Henrion
Factual TV19764 minsSilent Location: Ely
Figurative sculptor of the human form, Daphne Hardy Henrion’s solo exhibition at the Old Fire Engine House in Ely, Cambs. Anglia Television.
Biopic200014 mins Location: Whitby
Imagining the unimaginable through the eyes of Wilfred Owen, combining reconstructions of Owen’s war experiences with animation and readings from his poems and letters.
Factual TV19623 mins Location: Cambridge
Cambridge graduate, English poet and wit, C.S. Calverley's poem, read by Dick Graham for Anglia Television, with accompanying visuals to illustrate the verse.
Documentary193812 minsSilent Location: Lake District National Park
Immerse yourself in the beautiful serenity of the Lake District and the poetry this treasured landscape inspired.
Poet Goes North
Documentary196826 mins Location: Leeds
A long-lost BBC documentary of John Betjeman reflecting, in his unhurried manner, his sense that something vital was being lost and singling out what should be preserved.
The Trouble with Art
Documentary199341 mins Location: Belfast
Compelling personal stories from 13 artists as they wrestle with difficult questions during troubling times in Northern Ireland.
Animation & Artists Moving Image19719 mins
Lutz Becker’s innovative homage to the work of Kazimir Malevich uses one of his unrealised film scripts as the basis for a portrait of the artist and his theory of abstract art, Suprematism.
Animation & Artists Moving Image19865 mins Location: Fulham
Iconic images by photo-pioneer Eadweard Muybridge come to life in this striking video collage.
Louis Le Brocquy
News197324 mins Location: Belfast
The artist discusses his inspiration, early education and enslavement by Cubism in an un-broadcast interview from the UTV archives.
The Portable Theatre
Documentary196824 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry
Meet the McCormick Players and experience one of Ireland’s last travelling theatres before it falls victim to the TV epidemic.
Amateur film197010 mins Location: Middlesbrough
Song and dance folk hit the streets of Middlesbrough with a splash of international colour for the Tees-Side International Eisteddfod.
Lifestyle: The Shapes of Cornish
Documentary197626 mins Location: Spennymoor
A shot against time: the last ‘pitman painter’ turns an unblinking eye on the near-vanished world of the County Durham coalfields.
Laughing at Life
Documentary198126 mins Location: Scotswood
“A bundle of nerves, no music, one black dress”: Scarlet O’Hara, a Geordie queen of comedy, looks back at her life of grit and glamour.
Performance19777 mins Location: Brimham Rocks
Brimham Rocks provides the perfect setting for an entrancing and hypnotic enactment of a primitive ritual in front of bemused sightseers.
A Sense of Ireland
News19806 mins Location: Westminster
Irish culture makes an ambitious leap in search of an audience beyond its own shores. How will London react to Ireland’s new found confidence?
News196410 mins Location: Belfast
The writer and talker from North Dublin makes one of his final TV appearances in both an interview and scenes from his funeral.
Francis Bacon: Paintings 1944-1962
David Thompson’s wordless film from 1963 presents an unsettling montage of images from Bacon’s major mid-period works.
Barbara Hepworth at the Tate
A record of the famed sculptor’s 1968 Tate retrospective, accompanied by a fascinating narration by Hepworth herself.
Hepworth Sculpture Arrives at Bolton Museum
Amateur film197015 minsSilent Location: Bolton
Art on the move - behind the scenes at Bolton Museum.
Henry Moore: Recollections of a Yorkshire Childhood
Documentary198139 mins Location: Castleford
From solitary Idle Rock to recumbent sculptured stone, from terraced house and pit shaft to Sheep Piece, a national treasure in the making.
Lifestyle: The Little Waster Makes Good
Documentary197626 mins Location: Penshaw
The north east’s finest flat-capped stand-up, Bobby Thompson, talks about his life in comedy.
Arthur Conan Doyle Relaxes with his Family at Windlesham
Amateur film192917 minsSilent
The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, relaxes with his family in Windlesham and goes on tour to Egypt, Africa and Australia
28b Camden Street
Documentary196528 mins Location: St Pancras
A powerful documentary which sees a community of artists under threat as their London studios face demolition.
Painters in the Modern World
Insightful documentary exploring the inspirations, environments and working methods of three contemporary artists.
Magazine and Review show19859 mins Location: Camden Town
Composition is the key as Nancy Kuo guides us through the strength and grace of her art in her Camden Town studio.
The Airy Tomb
Drama196313 mins Location: Pontrhydfendigaid
An isolated life can mean that home is nothing more than an “airy tomb”, as imagined by poet and rural parish priest R S Thomas.
Leonardo Da Vinci The Tragic Pursuit of Perfection
A portrait of the artist as a "sublime demon with the archangel's face", with an innovative musique concrète soundtrack.
Shadows from Light: The Photography of Bill Brandt
Take a mesmerising journey through the world of Bill Brandt's shadowy black and white photography.
The Constable Country
Amateur film19707 mins Location: East Bergholt
Glimpses on Super 8 film of the picturesque landmarks and pretty countryside that inspired Romantic artist John Constable's paintings.
Documentary19867 mins Location: York
A man with a historic mission, dedicated to preserving the magnificent artistry of the medieval glaziers of York for future generations.
A Woodman's Dream
Amateur film19837 mins Location: Harrogate
The transformative power of both nature and art meet as a tree becomes an elegant bird in the hands of a skilled craftsman.
The Hospital Sing
Documentary198726 mins Location: Mapplewell
A chance to see and hear the last mining village, and last generation, to keep alive a cultural practice that knitted a community together.
Hallmark of Harmony
Documentary198626 mins Location: Sheffield
The many joys of barbershop singing on display as our Sheffield hopefuls are cajoled into a winning chorus by an inspirational teacher.
News197219 mins Location: Downpatrick
What passions burn behind doors in Downpatrick? Enjoy a tale of two unknown artists who have both found something they can truly call their own.
Documentary196730 mins Location: Chelsea
Potter Ted sells his work in London, to keep the wolf from the door, but practises his art at Felin Wen, his home-cum-studio at Pontrug, Gwynedd.
Travelling for a Living
Performance196645 mins Location: Kingston upon Hull
This "musical profile of the Watersons" is a precious document of the British folk revival, much of it shot in their hometown, Hull.
Rolanda Polonsky, Sculptor
Enter the imaginative world of acclaimed sculptor Rolanda Polonsky, a resident of Netherne Psychiatric Hospital, Surrey.
A Beautiful Way To Live
Factual TV197125 mins Location: Downham Market
Novelist Cressida Lindsay and Commune Movement pioneer Sarah Eno feature in this Anglia TV documentary about life in a commune.
Writers and Artists Commune At Old Rectory Farm, Scoulton, Norfolk
News19708 mins Location: Scoulton
Author Cressida Lindsay has created a commune in rural Norfolk for fellow writers, artists, sculptors, and the occasional pop group.
I Know What I Like (Artists)
Documentary198326 mins Location: Holtby
In a ten mile triangle giant toads are sculpted in bronze, the intricacies of trees are captured in oil and the first space invader is exhibited.
British - Are They Artistic?
From peep shows to opera glasses: how war and state funding turned a "Philistine, sports-loving people" into connoisseurs of the high arts.
Documentary198029 mins Location: Haworth
Out on the wiley, windy moors, by rundown stone cottages, the bonneted Brontë sisters feed their imagination, and Emily (aka Ellis Bell) dreams of meeting her Heathcliffe.
A Bronte Christmas
Documentary198014 mins Location: Haworth
Richard Whiteley joins children on the Worth Valley Railway Santa’s Special, while the Haworth Town Band sing On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at.
The Shooting of Emily Jane
Amateur film198023 mins Location: Stanbury
An intriguing film of an amateur filming a documentary about Emily Brontë on location, up on the Yorkshire moors, and editing it in his home.
Topical Budget Ham Spray September 1929
Amateur film19293 minsSilent Location: Ham Spray Ho
Bloomsbury Group antics at the Wiltshire home of Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey.
Send Out Your Homing Pigeons Dai
Documentary196715 mins Location: Rhymney
What do pigeons want? Patience, punctuality and kindness, according to William Robinson of Rhymney who loves his birds.
Drama200013 mins Location: Blackwood/Coed Duon
Someone new, someone old, something borrowed and something blue combine to make a school tale that pits inspired youth against aged cynicism.
The Artist in Wales
Documentary197832 mins Location: Swansea/Abertawe
Where would a world of movers and shakers be without the makers and soul-feeders? Long live the poets and musicians, artists and performers!
Memoirs of a Pit Orchestra
Drama-documentary198139 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
War and a grinding economy take their toll on the spirit and soul of the Welsh in this haunting, poetic study
Arlunydd wrth ei Waith /Artist at Work
Documentary197212 mins Location: Trearddur Bay
No place to hide: sculptor accepts challenge of creating piece for Holyhead comprehensive school working in an open Trearddur Bay studio.
Portrait of a Glass Worker
Documentary196213 mins Location: Wealdstone
A young art student captures the artistry and skill of a glass worker.
Meet a young Ian McKellen, treading the boards of the legendary Crucible Theatre.
Government sponsored film197114 mins
Glenda Jackson talks about acting for theatre and for the camera
Frida Kahlo's Corset
Frida Kahlo’s Corset is a short experimental drama that follows a journey of transformation by the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) who wore a series of orthopaedic corsets because of impairment.