Monday, April 6, 2009

Prints On Screen: Little Dorrit

A large percentage of antique prints were issued in order to be displayed in the home or work place. As paintings were expensive, only owned by the relatively wealthy, up through the nineteenth century prints have been one of the most common forms of wall decoration. Even to the present day, antique prints have remained a popular means of decorating the home, office, bar, restaurant or club. Thus one would expect to see a lot of prints on screen, either in movies or television programs, especially period pieces. However, it seems that most scene designers do not think of prints when put together their sets. Once in a while, though, one can spot some original antique prints on the screen. It strikes me that this is a topic worthy of an occasional blog...

Last night I watched Little Dorrit, a wonderful British production of this Dickens work. The British tend to be more aware of antique prints than Americans, so it is not surprising that prints have appeared prominently in a few scenes in this BBC produced story set in mid-nineteenth century London. At that time, prints would have been a common form of wall decoration for the classes of people who appear in this program, and the producers have shown this nicely.

A print that was unrecognizable appeared in the front window of a bookstore that appeared briefly, but then two engravings were shown prominently in the rooms of John Chivery, the turnkey's son, when he invites Amy in to warm her hands. I didn't recognize these prints, but maybe some else did? Then a group of colored aquatints were shown in the Meagles drawing room during a soiree scene. I did not recognize these scenes, but they appeared to be a from a plate volume from a "foreign" land. Did anyone recognize these?

As I spot other prints on screen I'll post that information, but would love to hear from any other print spotters.

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