Framed was aired on Masterpiece earlier this year and is one of the most enjoyable times I've spent in front of the television in a very long time (and no, that's not just because David Tennant introduces it).
I had no idea of the premise of this story, but watched it because art from the National Gallery (London) was involved. I've been to the National Gallery many times and can just spend hours there.
Synopsis (some minor spoiler points included): London's National Gallery houses some of the world's finest masterpieces, and its curator, Quentin Lester, wants nothing more than to live among them, distraction-free, in a pure and simple life of the mind. When the Gallery's Victorian-era plumbing fails and floods the museum, its paintings are brought to safety in an abandoned slate mine in Manod, North Wales — the very mine to which the collection was evacuated to during World War II. Quentin accompanies his beloved Raphaels, Titians, and Velasquez to safety, relishing a chance to tend to them in isolation.
That isolation, in the grey mist and dramatic slopes of Manod, brings with it sheep; a vaguely frightening butcher; a charming and spirited, if slightly nosey, local schoolteacher, Angharad; and a 10-year-old boy, Dylan Hughes, with whom Quentin develops an unlikely friendship. For Dylan, whose father has just left the family in the face of devastating financial woes, the privileged outsider and his convoy of trucks from London represent a chance to save the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage, his family's business. For Quentin, who mistakes the boy for an art connoisseur when a chicken-wrangling incident goes awry, Dylan presents an opportunity for the human connection that this urbane aesthete craves.
The masterpieces, stored in yellow crates — to the consternation of the ever-challenging teacher Angharad — inspire not intellectual contemplation but action of all sorts throughout the sleepy village. When, out of desperation, Dylan and Minnie, his aspiring criminal mastermind little sister, perpetrate the art heist of the century, it's the renowned curator who gets a lesson in art appreciation and the power of art to transform lives.
|Trevor Eve as Quentin Lester|
I really enjoyed the history of the National Gallery during World War II. The concept that the government would bring a picture out of hiding for a month -- and it's the only picture in the place - and people would line up to see it - during the period of time when
Germany was bombing them into the ground. You have to give it to the Brits for that one!
So as mentioned above, due to a water leak, the paintings are moved to a slate cave in Wales - it's so depressing, (but I still continue my efforts to learn Welsh - it's a lovely language - I just wish I had someone to practice with).
|Eve Myles as Angharad Stannard|
Angharad Stannard (Eve Myles) is the charming school teacher of the village below the slate mine, Manod. She is charming, curious and certainly not in the least afraid to speak her mind. I like her, and best of all her students like her too and she stands up for them. In one of her "conversations," if you can call it that, between Lester and Angharad takes place after she brought all the children to the mine to see the paintings and Lester won't take them out of their boxes. "Art is for looking at, not for keeping in boxes," she says. Lester replies, "Art is for people who appreciate it." Not exactly the way to make friends - and he doesn't even seem to realize he's a snob.
|Samuel Davies as Dylan Hughes|
|Mari Ann Bull as Minnie Hughes|
There are a few more days to watch online, but I'm hoping PBS will show this again. Worth setting up the TiVo for....