british-vfx  
 
 
   British VFX Matte painting Timeline.

The information above has been compile from different sources, magazines and books, and with the help of VFX professionals like Martin Body, John Grant, Bob Cuff ,Doug Ferris, Dennis Lowe, Kent Houston,  and others  to whom I'm sincerely thankful, like matte expert Peter Cook.



 
 
1912. , At the book  "The Saga of Special Effects" by Ron Fry and Pamela Fourzon, they  mention Britain's Edgar Rogers, who worked with England's trick film pioneer G.A. Smith, as an early developer of glass shots and other special effects.  They reference the film Santa Claus (1912) as a showcase for his effects.  .

1916. 
Walter Hall, the English art director of D. W. Griffith's "Intolerance", develops his own method of creating the glass shot. He paints the additions to the scene on composition board, cuts them out with a beveled edge,
 and mounts them in front of the camera. He patented this variation of the glass shot technique, known as "The Hall Process" in 1921.
1922.  Walter Percy ("Pop") Day introduces the "The Hall Process or galss shot"  to the French film industry on  “Les Opprimés.” .
 1927.  For Alfred Hitchcock film "The ring" Walter Percy Day is called from France, to execute a trick shot 
using the "schuftan process", to integrate  the ring set, into a painting 
of the Albert Hall. 
1930.  Percy Day develops his version of the latent image technique and applies it in "Les jouer de chess"

1934.  Returning to England, Percy Day to demonstrate the  value of glass shots, executed some paintings for free  at some British Studios.
  Studios producers encourage their own Studios painter to made matte paintings. Although Percy Day and his 
assistant Peter Ellenshaw are the only two credited matte painters at that time, there where some others unknown.
  Percy Day and his assistant and stepson Peter Ellenshaw  paint mattes for producer Alexander Korda at
 " The scarlet pimpernel"
.

1935. Director Alfred Hitchcock has illustrator Fortunino  Matania create a matte painting for the trap sequence at
the Royal Albert Hall “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
1936.  Walter Percy Day headed the Department of Matte Painting at Denham Studios for Alexander Korda films.
 Percy Day and Peter Ellenshaw paint mattes for “Things to Come”.
 1936. For Alfred Hitchcock film "Sabotage", the Strand Street of London was  recreated into a Studio, 
 with the help of a glass painting. 
  1937. For "Young and innocent" made at Gaingsborough Studios,they used miniatures and matte painting. 
 Art director Albert Jullion was probably the matte painter.Albert Whitlock worked on scenic and miniatures artist.

1940.  Percy Day and assistant Peter Ellenshaw paint a oriental fantasy world for “The Thief of Bagdad” 
 The film wins the Academy Award for Visual Effects.
1945.Percy Day paints glass shots for "HenryV". 
 1946. After many years as scenic artist and background painting, Albert Jullion get his first credit as matte 
 painter for "The magic Bow"
1946.Another scenic artist, Les Bowie begun as matte painter at Pinewood Studios, he paints mattes for David Lean´s  “Great Expectations”.
1946. A young Cliff Culley entered Pinewood studios  as apprentice at the Special effects department 
under Bill Warrington. 
.
1946.   Walter Percy  Day was appointed Director of Special Effects of London Films at Shepperton Studios. 
After returning  from five years in the RAF, Peter Ellenshaw paints for  “A Matter of Life and Death”. 
Percy Day heads the visual effects for the film
 1947. Percy Day and Ellenshaw paint Himalayan views and the monastery for “Black Narcissus”.
 1948.  Les Bowie, Joseph Natanson, and Ivor Beddoes paint mattes for  “The Red Shoes”.
1948.  Les Bowie paint mattes for “Oliver Twist” at Pinewood Studios.
1948 . Peter Ellenshaw was called to Tom Howard at British MGM Studios to make matte paintigs 
 for "Idol of Paris".
 1948. After Ellenshaw left, Percy Day started to work with other asistants like Judy Jordan who help him painting the mattes for  "Bonnie prince Charlie". Another Day´s assistant was Joan Suttie who  painted with the master on films like "Uncle silas" or "Fame is the Spure" (1947)               .
  1948.  Geoffrey Dickinson was matte artist at Ealing Studios from 1947 to 1953: working on films like "Scott of the Antarctic "(48) (see image) "Whisky galore"(49), "The cruel sea"(53) or "The man on the white suit"(51)                -
1949.  Albert Whitlock paints his first original negative  matte painting for “The Bad Lord Byron”. .
1950  Peter Ellenshaw works on his first Disney  film in England, painting mattes for “Treasure Island.”
 1950. Albert Whitlock is credited with Bill Warrington as Special effects  for his matte paintings at "Trio" made for at Pinewood.
1951  Les Bowie left Pinewood matte department to create his own company in association with Vic Margutti
 Bowie-Margutti films.
.
  1952.  Tom Howard head of Special effects department of British  MGM ask Peter Ellenshaw to paint mattes 
for "Quo Vadis? "
1952. Roy Field  still in his teens, entered at Bowie Films, and learned with Margutti as FX Cameramen
1952. Percy Day retired from Shepperton Studios Wally Veevers  became head of Matte Department.
Shepperton Studios crew:
 George Samuels  principal painter 
         Albert Jullion 
        Bob Cuff 
        David Hume
         Joseph Natanson
         Judy Jordan
         Ivor Beddoes: Freelance
        Alan Maley
.
1952  Peter Ellenshaw  work for Disney, with  Albert Whitlock as assistant, for “Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue” and “The  Sword and the Rose”(image) They  had some matte apprentices like Cliff Culley and probably also Peter Melrose who helped Whitlock  doing foreground glasses for some films by the Arthur Rank Organization.
 1952. At British MGM Tom Howard supervised VFX work for films like"The rounded table Knights" or 
"Ivanhoe"(image) 
 Matte paintings were uncredited
1953 .Joseph Natanson worked frequently at Rome for films 
 like "Puccini" or "Madame Butterfly" 
 Finally he moved to Italy.
.

1954  Peter Ellenshaw went to America to work at Disney matte department  for "20. 000 Leagues Under the Sea"
Albert Whitlock  moved also to USA to work with him.
1954. Ivor Beddoes painted mattes for "Atila" filmed in Italy. 
1954.  Judy Jordan left Shepperton matte departement to work at MGM British Studio under Tom Howard.
1956. Joseph Natanson already settled at Rome, painted mattes for Louis Lichtenfield at " Helen of Troy"
filmed at Cinecitta.
1956. Vic Margutti and Roy Field left Bowie films to go to Pinewood. .
 1956. For the film "Satellite in the Sky" Wally Veevers had scenic artist Julius Kay working as matte artist with Bob Cuff and George Samuels.   .
1957. Matte artist Bob Bell who had previously worked at Pinewood Studios, left to AP films as art director. .
1957. Derek Meddings worked with Les Bowie as matte assist at Anglo-Scottish Pictures Ltd. They painted mattes for Hammer films like "Dracula" (image) and 
 "The curse of Frankenstein"
Another matte apprentice with Bowie who started at those years was Ray Caple.
  1957 . David Hume left Shepperton matte department to became scenic artist at Teddington Studios.  .
 1958 . Tom Howard at British MGM wins an academy for the FX  at "Tom Thumb" with matte paintings probably by Judy Jordan.
 1959. Bill Warrington left Pinewood to work freelance. Cliff Culley remains as head of matte painting and optical effects for films like "Northwest frontier"
1960 . Derek Meddings left Bowie and went to Gerry Anderson TV series as Director of Special Effects. .
1961.  Shepperton Studios matte department was responsible for the mattes from some Ray Harryhausen films like “Jason and  the Argonauts”.(image)
 Wally Veevers was in charge of the photographic dept. Ted Samuels in charge of practicals on the floor. 
 Peter Harman was his cameraman with Bryan Loftus, Geoff Stevenson, and  John Grant who comes from Kodak.
 John Mackie with Bob Cuff was about to leave to join Les Bowie .
The main matte artist was Doug Ferris with Gerald Larn, Brian Evans and Peter Melrose assisting.
Films from this period at Shepperton included "Vampire Killers", 
"Best House in Town", "Casino Royal",  and many more.
Not all had matte paintings as they also did transitions, Split Screens and titles.
 Shepperton matte department was housed in M stage which had a large matte painting studio employing several matte painters, a model shop, a small shooting stage and optical rooms. The walls displayed many matte 
paintings and models from earlier films, sadly most lost today.
1963. Cliff Culley head of matte department at Pinewood, with Roy Filed supervising optical effects.
 Begun his James Bond series, painting mattes for"From Russia with love"
At middle sixties, Charles Stoneham joins Pinewood  matte department,trained by Cliff Culley.
1963. Bob Cuff begun working with Les Bowie. Ray Caple was already working as Les Bowie’s matte artist  and had been trained by him from an early age.
They share matte work for films like 
 "The masque of the red death" 
1963. "Cleopatra" earned the Academy Award for Special 
effects with Emile Kosa as matte painter supervisor and Joseph Natanson matte assistant, in Cinecitta, Italy.
1964. After his well-regarded work in “Doctor Strangelove”,Alan Maley joins Disney Studio in America . 
1964.  Ivor Beddoes working as freelance, painted mattes for Bill Warrington at "The long ships" .
1966.  Peter Melrose and Bob Cuff paint mattes for Hammer film “Dracula has risen from the Grave”
1967 John Mackey, Les Bowie and Bob Cuff formed a Abacus Productions to make T.V. commercials.  (Les  Bowie didn´t want to be involved with commercials and acted as sleeping partner, renting his premises and equipment to the  offshoot company).
- Wally Veevers leaves Shepperton to work on "2001" along with Brian Loftus
- Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn, Peter Harman and John Grant remain at Shepperton working on films like 
 "Dance of the Vampires" (image)
1968- Abacus were invited by Carl Foreman and his designer Geoffrey Drake to carry out painted mattes and other works for  “McKenna’s Gold”.
The painting was  shared between Ray Caple, Bob Cuff, Lynette Lee,  and Joy Seddon, who joined Abacus as 
a matte artist, having  previously been working with Stanley Kubric on 2001.
They  also did various model shots and some pickups,  employing a fair number of technicians, including 
Brian Loftus, Brian Johnson and others. 
Bob´s son Paul Cuff worked as Matte Process cameraman and married Joy Seddon, now Joy Cuff.
 1968. At Pinewood studios Cliff Culley and Roy Field were responsibles for  the matte paintings 
on "Chity Chity Bang Bang"
1968 . Douglas Adamson was employed as matte painter at MGM British Studios.
He painted mattes for "Where eagles dare"
 1969.   "Anne of the Thousand Days".Shepperton matte department with Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn and 
Bryan Evans painting and John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography.
Gerald Larn painted the night view of the Tower of London matte. 
 1969 . Ray Harryhausen film "Valley of Gwangi" went to Shepperton matte department, with Doug Ferris and 
Gerald Larn painting and John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography.
Larn painted  some rock formations for the Lost Valley. 

1969 . Ray Caple was responsible for mattes at  “The battle of Britain”.   Martin Body assisted Caple as matte camera.

1971. Roy Field went freelance   as Vic Margutti had retired
 1971. Gerald Larn at Shepperton matte department paint 
mattes for Roman Polanski "Macbeth"
1973- After 11 years at Shepperton matte department, Gerald Larn left his film work when the Studios closed.  .
1974 - Wally Veevers sets up at Bray Studios.  Doug Ferris & Peter Harman join him. .
1975.  Cliff Culley left  Pinewood, and create his own company Westbury Design and Optical. He provide mattes for"The pink panther strikes again". he was assisted by Steve Archer who later became stopmotion animator for films like "Neverending story" (84) or "Krull" (83)
1975. For the film " The man who would be king"  Wally Weevers and Shepperton matte department executed many matte paintings. Most of them by Doug Ferris with John Grant as matte camera. Scenic artist Peter Wood was comissioned to paint this cave matte shot for the film. Albert Whitlock was responsible for the matte shot of the Holy city.     .
1976.  Shepperton reopens and Wally Veevers hires new premises just across from M stage. Doug Ferris  and Peter Harman join him.
They work at "The prince and the pauper"
1978. Matte painter and composite supervisor Les Bowie, and matte painters Doug Ferris, Ray Caple, 
assisted by Liz Lettman, create the matte paintings for "Superman". 
Bowie is awarded with a posthumous Oscar the following year. He shared the award with Roy Field, Derek Medings, Colin Chilvers,Dennys Coop, and Zoran Perisic
 1978.  Cliff Culley  hired Leig Took as matte painter assistant for "Warlord of Atlantis" and other films. 

1979 . Ivor Beddoes joined  Doug Ferris and cameramen Peter Hammond and Peter Harman to create the mattes of "Superman II", made for Roy Field´s "Optical Film Effects" Compamy.
 1979. Ray  Caple paint mattes for Ridley Scot´s "Alien" .
  1979. For the film "Raise the Titanic"  scenic artist Bob Spencer  executed some cut out paintings for Wally Veevers.             .
1981. Alan Maley retired from movies after supervising the matte  department at I.L.M from "Dragonslayer" (1980) and "Raiders of the lost ark" (1981) .

1981. John Grant join Wally Veevers, Doug Ferris and Peter Harman, for "The Keep" with Roy Carnell and Stuart Galloway as camera assistants.
.
1982 . Doug Ferris  Peter Harman, John Grant, and Martin Body join Roy Field and Peter Watson at Optical Films effects in Pinewood, to work on projects in  the early to mid eighties: 'Superman III',  'Santa  Claus', 
'Labyrinth' or "The last Days of Patton"(image)
1983. Derek Meddings Supervising visual effects for "Supergirl" painted a glass shot.
1984 .Cliff Culley provides mattes and optical effects fo TV miniserie  "The last Days of Pompeii" with his company "Westbury design and opticals" with Leigh Took as matte artist.
1984. Albert Whitlock retired as head of Matte department at Universal after painting  mattes for "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan".
He remains working as matte consultan for "Illusion arts"
1984. For  David Lean´s "A passage to India" Doug Chian  paint matttes for Peerles Camera Company with 
Kent Houston supervising optical effects.
The upper left part  of the rock formations was painted.
1985. Charles Stoneham became disillusioned with the increasing pressures of the industry, and retired 
 after his work at "Return to Oz" and 
"A Chistmas carrol" (image) 
1985 . Ray Caple was responsible for the matte paintings at "Spies like us"
1986.  Joseph Natanson retired after his last painting work at "The name of the rose". Since the  early 60´s he lived and worked at Rome painting mattes for  more than 80 films. 
1988. After some years workingg under Harrison Ellenshaw, British painter JP Trevor  painted mattes for 
Derek Meedings at "Stealing Heaven"
1988. Bob and Joy Cuff with Doug Ferris and Leigh Took paint mattes for “Baron Munchausen”. 
 John Grant and Martin Body  worked as matte camera at Peerles camera.
 1988 . Cliff Culley paint mattes  for "Hellraiser II" with his son Neil Culley as matte fotography.
1989. After painting mattes for "Eric the Viking" with Doug Ferris, Bob and Joy Cuff retired from matte  painting.
 1989. For the film "Batman"  Ray Caple, Leigh Took and JP Trevor paint mattes for Derek Meedings.
1990.  Peter Ellenshaw made his last contribution to film  industry assisting his son Harrison painting the mattes 
for "Dick Tracy"
  1990. Steve Beggs, after some years working on miniatures, paints mattes for "Hardware" at Cliff Culleys company "Westbury design and opticals"
 1990.  John Grant joined Magic Camera Company with Doug Ferris  to work on various projects. .
1990. After his work on "Treasure island" Ray Caple died from illness.
1991. Albert Whitlock painted his last glass shot for "The neverending story II"  .
 1993. Doug Ferris paint mattes for Derek Meddings Magic camera Company for films like "Princess caraboo".
  1995. After decades working as scenic artist,  Brian Bishop also contributed painting  mattes and  foreground glasses. He worked very often with Derek Meddings, for "Goldeneye" he executed a glass painting. Meddings on the picture with Brian´s painting.               .
 1995 . Cliff Culley´s company "Westbury desing" provided mattes and opticalsfor the film "Restoration".
 1997. Doug Ferris again for Magic camera Company painted the city of Calcuta for "City of Joy".
1997. Cliff Culley painted mattes for "Orphans" His son Neil Culley was matte camera. Cliff Culley retired 
and his son Neil went into digital FX.
1997 . Doug Ferris painting, and John Grant camera,  for "Seven Years in Tibet".
Doug Ferris retired, John Grant continued to work and  retrained on computers until the company relocated to central London and retired  in 2002.
 2001.  Steve Mitchell, scenic artist who was trained under Brian Bishop, executes traditional painting on hardboard, latter photograph and composite digitally for films and TV series like "Band of brothers".
Only the hide and soldiers are real the rest is oil painting on hardboard by Mitchell. 
 
2004.  Steve Mitchell executed a glass painting for the film "The life and death of Peter Sellers". He is probably the last  practitioner of tradicional matte painting.
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