50 minutes
September 2007
R0 (PAL) Download (SD, mp4)

Sense and Sensation

Sense and Sensation: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century is a lavish exploration of the arts in eighteenth-century London. Written and presented by the eminent historian John Brewer, and drawn from his highly-acclaimed book The Pleasures of the Imagination, this BBC4 film considers the world of commerce and celebrity in which Georgian culture was created. A world, Brewer argues, that has many parallels with today.

John Brewer relates the remarkable stories of entrepreneur Jonathan Tyers, who oversaw the high art and low morals of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and of Anna Larpent, a voracious reader, gallery-goer, and theatre-lover. Actor-manager David Garrick and literary giant Samuel Johnson are other key characters, as is John Gay, the writer of the hugely popular ‘The Beggar’s Opera’.

Extensively illustrated with prints and paintings of the period, the film also features artful reconstructions in its analysis of the arts and their audiences as English high culture first emerged.

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