Film: 9218

Art + Architecture | 1970 | Sound | Colour


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Introduction by Kenneth Clark, sitting in antique chair in the foreground of shot; hands folded on lap, occasional hand and arm movement. On the left wall behind Clark is a large, floor to ceiling, bookcase, and on the right of Clark is the bottom half of a full length portrait painting. Introduction continues over self-portrait by W. Blake, holding a pencil or pen, film slowly zooms in on head and shoulders. Full and close-up shots of three 'small' Blake paintings; narrative comparison with the 'great canvases' of David and Delacroix. The film returns to Clark, sitting at chair, arms/elbows on arm rests. Several shots, both close-up and full size, of four Blake paintings and two drawings inspired by his (spiritual) visions. Narrative reference between Blake's work and The Devil in Michelangelo's The Last Judgement, alongside images of the 'The Devil'. Return to Clark, close-up, head and shoulders, shot with only bookcase visable in the background. Narrative and visual reference to the influence on Blake of 'prints after Michelangelo and the antique and the book of engravings after Tibaldi(?).'

Close- up shot of 'Blakes earliest, original design, the engraving known as Glad Day dated 1870.' Camera zooms out to reveal full length of drawing. Narrative compares this with Renaissance diagram of a geometrized figure from which Blake had taken the design; film of this diagram is also shown, both full size and close-up. Shot of Blake's second drawing of Glad Day, studies of both front and back. Close-up shot, panning down of one of Blake's 'last great prints; Albion Adoring the Crucified Christ'. Full shot of Blake's coloured print; The Dance of the Albion. Several shots of two of Blake's illustrations from his poetry books; Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. Close-up shot, panning down, of the introduction/first page of one of the books. Four early Blake drawings from monuments in Westminster Abbey for the publisher-(?). Comparison between these drawings and later works, including the effigy of Edward the Third. Narrative comparison between a Blake drawing and similar drawing from the Winchester Bible; full shots of both pictures. Close-up of the title page of Songs of Innocence, 1789. Pans up to reveal the rest of page. Close-up and full shots of two pages of the poetry; The Blossom and The Sick Rose, showing both poems and illustrations. Similar shots of the poems and illustrations from The Divine Image and A Poison Tree. Close-up and pan out for full view of the title page of The Book of Thel. Film of two illustrations/designs from this book. Return to film of Clark, sitting infront of books as he also recites a short passage of Blake's poetry. Narrative and illustrations, with images surrounding text, revealing Blake's descent from happiness into despair, with full-length and close- up images from the books: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, America, Horizon, Europe and The Book of Urilem (1784). Return to Clark sitting at chair, books and painting both visable. Cut to three engravings, from 1793, of the illustrations Blake made for 'Captain Steadmans expedition against the revolting Negros of Surrinam'. Comparison between these images of torture and Blake's subsequant prints. Five close-up shots of drawings from The Book of Urilem. Close-up, panning out to full shot of Blake's colour plate; The Ancient of Days'. Cut to shot of the final page, both text and image, of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Move on to several minutes of Clark discussing futher work, without related images. A head and shoulders shot with books behind and occassional hand movement for dramatic effect.

There follows a narrative explanation, alongside visual images, of the engraved illustrations from The Book of Job. Eight/nine pages of this book, and related work are shown, both close-up and full-length shots. Various shots of several illustrations from; 'the other masterpiece of Blake's old age, the hundred large watercolours illustrating Dante.' Return briefly to Clark and his books. Then cut to a shot of Blake's death mask, set against black background, film zooms in slowly and rests on eyes, nose and mouth. Full sized, still shots of four of Blake's watercolours illustrating Dante, including Whirlwind of Lovers. Return to Clark for conclussion, which includes related images and a Clark recital of part of a Blake poem.

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