|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.||.|
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
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
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
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
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
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
| 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
Ivor Beddoes: Freelance
|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
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.||.|
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
He painted mattes for "Where eagles dare"
| 1969. "Anne of
the Thousand Days".Shepperton matte department with Doug Ferris, Gerald
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
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',
'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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