Art & Design in The British Film #27 – Wilfrid Shingleton

Continuing a series about Art Directors in the British film industry up to 1948, when the book containing these articles was published.

This chapter deals with Wilfrid Shingleton (1914 – 1983)

He is essentially a practical artist and there are few problems in art direction that he would not overcome.

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Bonnie Prince Charlie, 1948. Conté, London Films.
(Click the image to show it in Vistavision!)

WILFRID SHINGLETON wanted to get into films at a very early age (18 yrs old!). Living with his family at Ealing he got the opportunity in 1932 and started as a junior assistant in the art department at Ealing Studios under Edward Carrick and Clifford Pember.

He was very studious and took his responsibilities very seriously.

When Carrick left Ealing Studios, Shingleton took over the art direction and in 1938 was designer for ‘Four Just Men’, followed by `Proud Valley’, ‘Saloon Bar’, and ‘Convoy’.

Returning from a very interesting wartime experience on naval camouflage, he joined Cineguild as Art Director on ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Take My Life’, on which films John Bryan was Production Designer.

He recently left this set-up to join Andrejew as associate on ‘Anna Karenina’ thus renewing a friendship made when as a draughtsman he had worked on ‘The Dictator’, Andrejew’s first picture in England.

Shingleton spends quite a lot of time lecturing on art direction to schools and youth clubs and writes about films from the technical viewpoint.

He is essentially a practical artist and there are few problems in art direction that he would not overcome.

(Excerpted from: “Art & Design In The British Film” A Pictorial Directory of British Art Directors and their work. Compiled by Edward Carrick, 1947 )


If you look at Shingleton’s profile in IMDB, you’ll find that during his long career he was the art director or production designer on some seminal films, including Polanski’s Dance of the Vampires, The Blue Max, The African Queen, and the wonderful Pure Hell of St Trinians.

I also find it wonderful that Shingleton spent time “lecturing on art direction to schools and youth clubs”. I’d love to see a modern day art director anywhere near a school or youth club.

Vroom Broom – Cleaning Up The Mean Streets Of Sanremo.

This is another post based on photos from the recent holiday in Liguria, Northern Italy.

I came across this curious little one seater car on very hot day in Sanremo. Its driver had parked and gone off somewhere, leaving the keys in the ignition.
I was so tempted to jump in and have a ride, but I figured that: 1) It might spoil the guy’s day to find his tiny car missing, and: 2) I had no idea of how to drive it.

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(All these images get bigger if you click on them.)

Another rather whimsical thought struck me; That the little car might be magical. Apart from its unusual shape and size, and its very modern looking curves, there was a striking and arresting anomaly:- The bamboo broom clamped onto the side looked just like the besom that Kiki rides in “Kiki’s Delivery Service“.
But enough of such whimsy…

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The picture below shows the strange combination of hi-tech car, and lo-tech bamboo broom. A wonderful mix.

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The interior is a bit sparse, to put it mildly…. That dashboard / control panel will never win any prizes for style.
I was intrigued to know who made such utilitarian cars, and was surprised to find the name of a very famous Italian motorbike company on the badge…

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The “DUC” part is from “Ducati”, makers of legendary superbikes, with names like “Monster” and “Streetfighter“.

There are two branches of the Ducati group of companies, and the little single seater DUC is a product of the electrical engineering side of the company.

Here’s a link to their website, and a downloadable brochure that gives you all the vital statistics you crave.

The car in these photos is the hybrid- petrol / battery version, which gives the driver a range of about 40 kilometres ( about 25 miles) which is enough sweeping for anybody in one day….

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Although that rear end isn’t exactly pretty, the picture shows the two independent motors that propel and turn the rear wheels, without the need for any clunky steering mechanism.

To finish, I leave you with a link to a (translated) French website, that shows how many of these new types of vehicles are already available today. Most of them are designed for urban transport, rather than street cleaning, and what’s so striking is the new cartoony aesthetic that pervades so many of the novel designs.

There’s a real sense that this market for electric and hybrid vehicles is maturing in Europe..

And furthermore, there aren’t really any mean streets in the belle epoque gentility of Sanremo. But you knew that, anyway.


Two Animation Jobs (UK)

1: Lecturer in Design (Illustration & Animation) at Blackburn College
( The application deadline isn’t stated in the ad, but I imagine it will close within a couple of weeks)

2: Demonstrator in Computer Animation at Bournemouth University
Application deadline: Midnight on Thursday 24 September 2009

Sign up to if you want to receive a daily email of jobs in universities and colleges. For animation jobs it’s best to sign up for the Creative Arts & Design and the Media & Communications emails.


Scary Scorpion

While preparing a salad in the kitchen of the house in Liguria, I nearly jumped out of my skin when this fierce looking scorpion scuttled out onto the work surface. Amazingly, I happened to have the camera handy….

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(Click to see terrifying detailed view.)

More photos coming later….


Mystery Building

What and where is the building shown in the picture below?

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You an click the thumbnail to enlarge it, if that helps.

OK. Here’s the rather surprising answer to the mystery building question:

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You’ve obviously twigged that it’s a Russian Orthodox church from the onion domes. What’s unexpected is the location: Sanremo, in the Italian Riviera, close to the border with France.

It’s the Church of Christ the Saviour, St. Catherine and St. Seraph, erected in 1912 by rich Russian emigrés who liked to winter on the Riviera.
I came across it while on holiday recently, when the town was lit by the warm late afternoon light of “golden hour”.
(Link to the church’s website – in Italian)

The church was designed by Alexey Shchusev, who also designed Lenin’s tomb in Red Square in three breathless days.

The church is undergoing a bit of restoration at present. All the bells were stored in the vestibule, as you can see in the bottom right of this next picture.

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( Click on these pictures to enlarge them, please. )

The church has a slightly magical quality with its icing sugar decoration, and it suggests to me something that might easily figure in a landscape dreamed up by Maurits Escher.
Have you ever seen pictures of the churches on Kizhi Island?

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More pictures from Liguria and the Italian Riviera coming soon….