This film is part of Free
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.
Documentary 1948 20 mins
From penny-dreadfuls to Shakespeare, peep shows to opera glasses! This fascinating 1948 issue of the news cinemagazine 'This Modern Age' traces the changing fortunes of arts engagement and appreciation in Britain - from popular culture to the 'high' arts. It shows how the public revival of interest in the arts as a means of escape from wartime realities was boosted in peacetime by increases in state-funding through bodies such as CEMA (the Committee for Encouragement of Music and the Arts) and the Arts Council.
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