A CEL­E­BRA­TION OF ART

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

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.

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