|Title ID||734||Collection ID||1016|
|Title||Winchelsea and its Surroundings. A Day with Harry Furniss and his Sketchbook|
|Theme||Early film in the South East|
|Keywords||Buildings Castles Education Handicrafts Leisure Time Activities Rural Areas Schools Urban Areas Visual Arts|
|Copyright & Access||Copyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details|
Illustrator and caricaturist Harry Furniss is filmed with his sketchbook at various locations in and around Winchelsea and Hastings. The actuality footage is introduced with intertitles and is intercut with images of sketches in progress.
Long shots capture Harry Furniss at notable landmarks in Winchelsea - he is seen at The Pipewell Gate and New Gate, the New Inn Hotel, the ash tree under which John Wesley gave his last open-air sermon, Ellen Terry's home Tower Cottage and The Grey Friars. Using paint and ink he creates images of the above locations and of the prominent Winchelsea residents Ellen Terry and The Weston Brothers. He is also filmed observing young girls learning their trade outside the Winchelsea Lace School (known today as 'The Little Shop') - one close-shot shows two of the students working with bobbins on cushions. Harry Furniss then relocates to Hastings where he wanders amongst the ruins of Hastings Castle and visits St Clements Church and The Smugglers Caves. The film ends with images of the fishing area of Hastings Old Town.
Film preserved at bfi National Film and Television Archive
It is highly probable that Winchelsea and its Surroundings. A Day with Harry Furniss and his Sketchbook (ca. 1920) was a Furniss Films production. Harry Furniss was a prolific satirist during the Victorian and Edwardian era, writing and providing illustrations for 'Punch' and 'Illustrated London News'. He also illustrated the novels of Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray. In the early 1910s his burgeoning interest in cinema led him to move to New York, where he worked for the Thomas Edison Company as a writer and actor. Upon his return to England in ca.1914 he built a film studio at Hastings, making films such as Peace and War Pencillings (1914) under the company name Furniss Films. The defining feature of many of the Furniss Films productions was the combination of live action and speeded-up motion sketch animation, reflecting upon Harry Furniss' twin interests. This is evident in Winchelsea and its Surroundings. A Day with Harry Furniss and his Sketchbook (ca. 1920) where he tours the ancient West Sussex town of Winchelsea, capturing its significant locales on celluloid and in ink. It is also interesting to note the prominence of Harry Furniss himself in the film - his presence in every scene implies a level of 'celebrity', one which was no doubt exploited to attract a cinema audience.
Screen Archive South East holds several other films which have recorded Winchelsea and its surrounding area. These include [Local News Film, Hastings] [1913 - 1925].