A CELEBRATION OF ART
This wonderful series sees cultural historian Gus Casely-Hayford pairing up with various celebrities including Helena Bonham Carter and Jeremy Paxman to chart Britain’s greatest painters. Tonight comedian Billy Connolly joins Casely-Hayford to discuss Stanley Spencer, whose religious works based around village life – which infuse the everyday with the divine – are iconic. Connolly loves Spencer’s works and says the enormous Cookham Resurrection seems radical even today. But the work wasn’t appreciated at the time. “Some people thought it was a little bit simple but he knew exactly what he was doing,” Casely-Hayford says. “What I love about his work is that he included all his friends and his family,” Connolly says. “It is his love of the ordinary. He makes the ordinary extraordinary.” Time for the pair to travel to Cookham, where Spencer was born in 1891 and lived most of his life to better understand his inspirations and influences. Spencer described it as his “village in heaven”. A former church, now a gallery, has the world’s largest display of his paintings. I have been lucky enough to see his works at The Tate and also at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and they are astounding. This is a must-watch for art lovers.