Having stuck the boot in a bit last week on Blitz coverage on the telly, I’d like to warmly commend this programme which aired last night on BBC2. It featured many of our 20C Big Guns: Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash, John Piper, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and, of course, Stanley Spencer. It focused on Kenneth Clark’s programme of commissioning and displaying war art to the public, on nationwide tours and on the bare walls of the National Gallery, dovetailing with the daily music recitals there (which was nice to be reminded of). Presenter Alastair Sooke carried the programme with aplomb, interviewing many elderly people who were in the Land Army, or who used the Underground shelters and so on, asking them what they thought of the pictures. Art experts pitched in as and when appropriate. Cartoons (David Low etc.) and propaganda poster art were properly examined.
This production was the BBC on top of its game: informative, engaging, absorbing, classy. You can check it out on iPlayer, here.