Segments in this Video

Reflections of Broken Gargoyles (03:18)


In July 1916, there were two hundred patients in a military hospital needing facial reconstruction after the Battle of the Somme. Henry Tonks made portraits of these victims, preserving the humanity in the distorted figures.

London Immigrants (03:30)

In the 1950s, race wars dominated Notting Hill. Then 12-year-old photographer Charlie Phillips preserved images of the racial tension in London at that time.

Capturing Truth (02:24)

Phillips' work preserved culture and history of people that may otherwise have been forgotten. His photographs are not editorials trying to communicate a particular point, but images captured from everyday life, portraying a sense of a time.

Painting the Underworld of London (04:00)

William Hogarth of the 18th century visited a prison in London to paint prisoner Sarah Malcolm, a murderer two days away from execution. Hogarth knew that a portrait of the convicted murderer would be a sensation in England.

Satifying the Public Appetite (02:00)

Hogarth made a fortune by transforming portraiture into a lucrative market, selling depictions of the people to the people. Late 18th century Edinburgh was home to barber and portraitist John Kay.

Kay's Caricatures (03:26)

Kay created some 900 images, forever capturing the people of 18th century Edinburgh. Kay had an intellectual and instinctive understanding that history is made up of all characters, not only the royal or rich.

Portraiture of the People (03:32)

Traced profiles became a commonplace facet in the marketplace. Prior to photography, silhouettes were created and sold to the masses as souvenirs, able to be quickly produced at inexpensive rates.

Labor of Love (01:31)

Ford Madox Brown kept a diary of his daily life. In Hamstead in 1852, Brown had an artistic epiphany and decided to depict the working class people he felt represented all of England's nobility. His paintings immortalize and heroicize working class people.

Navvies in Work (03:41)

In 1852, Brown decided to capture the physical labor of London's migrant workers. For 13 years, he harnessed all of his artistic knowledge to create a painting that depicts the working class people in a grandeur usually reserved for the richest of society.

Unchanged Fishing Village (02:48)

Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill worked together in the 1840s to create a unique sort of photography, capturing images of fishermen and women in New Haven. It was a tight knit community that had not changed for several hundreds of years. Adamson and Hill found that the village contained a social solidarity that industrialized Scotland had lost.

Working Class Heroes (01:55)

The quiet drama of the subjects featured in the careful photography of Adamson and Hill elevated the status of photography to a higher art. Critics held the men's work in high esteem, comparing the works to Rembrandt.

Suffragette Rampage (03:49)

In 1913, women fighting for suffrage were angry that men were ogling the bodies of naked women in art museums, yet ignoring the pleas of live women and their desires to vote. The women defaced art in museums in opposition, and in response, surveillance photographs were taken by the state and circulated in order to identify criminal offenses. Candid photographs were used to coerce and identify women.

Adventurous Maverick (03:27)

In 1914, suffragettes halted their campaign as men marched off to war. Dr. Harold Gillies ran a facial surgery hospital where men went to have their disfigurements caused by explosions repaired. Artist and professor Henry Tonks volunteered as an orderly to do his part during wartime despite his age; he had been a surgeon and learned to draw at medical school.

Works of Humane Beauty (02:55)

Though Tonks' works were intended as medical illustration, they exceeded their initial purpose. With Gillies, Tonks created portraits of disfigured faces injured in the war, creating anatomically correct and artistically compassionate renditions of the victims prior to their life-altering surgeries.

Resisting Separations (02:32)

These artists went against the grain in choosing to depict the portraits of people normally unlikely to be preserved, from the working class to the convicted. The Singh twins' family fled India and sought refuge in Great Britain, prompting them to collectively create images with ancient Indian methods to communicate their family history.

Many Faces of Britain (04:39)

The Singh twins, with their Indian heritage and British nationality, felt pressure to conform to British identities, but were determined to maintain their Indian parts, as well. When studying art in Britain in the 1980s, they found that their work was not accepted readily into contemporary art, but they refused to be swayed from their beliefs and methods.

Credits: Faces of the People: Episode 2—The Face of Britain (00:41)

Credits: Faces of the People: Episode 2—The Face of Britain

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Faces of the People: Episode 2—The Face of Britain

Part of the Series : The Face of Britain
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



In this film, Simon Schama investigates those British artists over the course of history that went against the grain of portraiture, painting and photographing the common people rather than just the richest and noblest in society. Artists like William Hogarth painted convicted murderers while John Kay created detailed caricatures of passing strangers in the city of Edinburgh, adding to the collection of timeless depictions of everyday British folk and demanding the representation of the people. A BBC Production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL115633

ISBN: 978-1-63521-073-6

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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