3.1.10 Arts and crafts

How important were "the Arts" to this story?

[jp] Oh, very important, indeed. The Arts require and nourish creativity and imagination. These things were highly valued by Juliet and Pauline. Pursuit of the Arts raises the pursuer above the mundane and into a more profound plane of existence and understanding, as the girls (and others) would have told it. Having talent and ability in the Arts makes one an Artist, and that is a special status shared by very few. All of these characteristics of the Arts and of Artists reinforced the girls' exclusive and privileged view of themselves.

Juliet declared that the primary characteristic of the Fourth World was that it was a place of "Music, Art and pure enjoyment." This is a direct quote from real life.

When Juliet met the Riepers, she stated: "Oh, I adore everything to do with the Arts." Again, in real life, the two girls contemplated the Arts and their talents as Artists extensively.

What arts do we see the girls indulging in?

[jp] Sculpture, painting, composition (including opera), drama (with no audience, and also appreciation, at the cinema), music (appreciation and, in Juliet's case, an imagined performance), dance. The reference to singing comes straight out of Pauline's real-life diaries. Walsh and Jackson doing their homework yet again.

Who made the plasticine models, and where and when?

[jp,sb] Juliet made the plasticine horses displayed on the Ilam mantlepiece, noticed and admired by Pauline on her first visit.

The girls are shown making models in Juliet's bedroom in "The Donkey's Serenade" sequence. They are dressed in school uniforms and they are making human figures and horses.

Juliet is also shown making figures in the TB sanatorium, specifically, Diello.

Pauline was shown making plasticine figures of Borovnian characters in her bedroom out back. She is dressed in her school uniform, and John(Nicholas) admires her craftsmanship. Pauline tells him that Juliet made 'Gina'.

In real life, it appears as if Pauline was the instigator of the plasticine models of Borovnian characters, though Jackson insists there were also models made by Juliet on the mantlepiece at Ilam.

Where were the plasticine models displayed?

[jp] Juliet's horses were displayed on the Ilam mantle.

Juliet displayed Borovnian models in her bedroom, on her bedside table. We see them in several scenes, though the figures and their positions change from scene to scene. For example, the figures are prominent by Juliet's head during the "birth of Diello" scene and later in the "Loveliest Night of the Year."

Juliet also displayed Borovnian figures by her bed and on the windowsill in the sanatorium. Diello was there, in a trinity.

Pauline displayed her large collection of Borovnian figures on the window sill of her outside bedroom.

When she was moved inside, Pauline took her Borovnian figures with her, but they were not displayed as prominently. There were some on her desk and some on her bureau.

What craft did Mr. Rieper enjoy?

[jp] Woodworking. He mentioned plans to make a birdhouse in "Heavenly Creatures." Apparently Pauline used to enjoy helping her father do his woodworking, when she was younger.

This reference to woodworking was taken directly from Herbert Rieper's trial testimony.

What did Juliet sketch in art class on her first day?

Rahpael's attempt.
Juliet's far superior version.
[jp,sb, kc, am] A rousing portrait of St George (patron saint of England) slaying the dragon (the story is a famous myth). Juliet painted St George in the likeness of "Mario Lanza, the world's greatest tenor." There was no room for Pauline in the picture. "Sorry!"

Pauline told her: "I think your drawing's fantastic!" Or, more precisely, "I thunk your drawering's fentistuc!" (see [sb]

Juliet's rendition of the legendary scene bears a striking resemblance to one painted by Raphael around 1306 (and currently on display in The National Gallery in Washington). In this rendering, the dragon is very sinuous and reptilian, low to the ground and coiling around the horse's legs and St George has speared its neck with a lance. Raphael's version may seem the more noteworthy effort, but then again, Juliet's version has Mario Lanza. [am]

According to local legend, heard by me as a wee lad, St George slew the dragon on the flat-topped 'Dragon's Hill' at White Horse Hill, near Wantage, in what was then Berkshire but what is now part of Oxfordshire, in England. Probably coincidentally, though with Jackson you never know, but 'Dragon's Hill' is just a few miles away from Aldermaston (see 3.2.2, 7.10.1) [jp]

White Horse Hill is part of a ridge known locally as the Ridgeway after an ancient track that runs along it (I am not sure of the official name for the ridge). The association comes from the fact there is a chalk figure on the side of White Horse Hill (hence the name) which has a long neck and a long whiplike tail. So although it is commonly thought to represent a horse it could perhaps be a dragon. Another local legend says that the bald patch on Dragon Hill where grass nevers grows (which really is so) is due to the blood of the dragon poisoning the ground at that point. [kc]

What did Pauline sketch in her French notebook?

[jp] A picture of three horses. The largest one was rearing on its hind legs, a reference to real-life fiction of Pauline Parker (see 7.4.1), and the other two had their their long manes flying in the wind. If she was a typical schoolgirl, Pauline probably also had romantic pictures of long-tressed maidens on other pages, dressed in long, flowing dresses, though we don't see them.

In real life, horses figured quite prominently in the case and in the real-life writings of Pauline (see 7.4).

What did Pauline sketch in art class?

[jp] A picture of carnage in Borovnia, much of it Diello's doing. Apparently the only colour needed for the painting was red. The art teacher rolled her eyes and shook her head in disapproval.

To my eyes, Pauline's painting was drawn in a similar style to the Bayeaux Tapestry (sp?)--you know the one celebrating "1066 and All That," [My favourite history book. It's no wonder I didn't excell in History. jp], the one with Halley's comet flying over severed heads and other glorious carnage of William the Conquerer's doing.

What paintings and sketches hung in Pauline's rooms?

[jp,sb,lfr,aa] This is complicated. The set dressers changed the pictures in Pauline's rooms in almost every scene, as a way of showing the passage of time, among other things.

We get our first good look in Pauline's room outside after Juliet develops tuberculosis. On her wall are pictures of Mario and Mel, a brown horse head (which migrates around the room from scene to scene) and a pencil drawing of a rearing horse along with other pictures of dancers.

Later, when John(Nicholas) is caught in her bed, there is a picture of a pair of horses going in opposite directions above Pauline's head, and a picture of Paradise through columns by an old Master.

When Pauline first moves into the house, she puts up a few pictures of golden-haired Juliet on her wall, along with many of the others from her old bedroom. Also, there is now a (famous) photo of (the real) Juliet smiling and posing in a bed of daffodils (actually in the gardens of Ilam and much reproduced in true crime books) above the head of Pauline's bed. And there are lots of pictures and portraits and photos of the Saints.

By the time Honora and Pauline have their shouting match over the letter from "Old Stew," the pictures of the various Saints have been joined by 5 drawings of Juliet plus the photo of Juliet. There are now 14 pictures in all on Pauline's walls.

In the final scene in Pauline's room, the morning of the murder, almost all of the pictures on Pauline's walls are of Juliet in various incarnations and all pictures are more and more child-like in their execution, including:

When was Dr Hulme's portrait painted?

[jp,Mir] A portrait of Dr Hulme was painted to mark the occasion of his resignation as Rector. It was unveiled in a supercilious going-away ceremony and approved by a peck on the cheek from Hilda Hulme and reproduced in the newspapers. The reproduction in the newspaper was a real one, and is shown as an allusion to a real-life diary entry by Pauline (see 7.4.3). It is possible that the portrait used in the film was the real-life portrait of Henry Hulme painted for the occasion depicted (see 5.3.6). It certainly looked like pictures of the real Dr Hulme that I have seen.

Are there other portraits shown in the film?

[jp] Yes. In every classroom there was a portrait of the Monarch.

In the first classroom, French Class in early 1952, we see a black & white portrait of King George. He died on Feb 6, 1952. Perhaps this is meant to imply that the opening scenes occurred very early in the year.

In the Geography? class in May '53, the portrait above the blackboard is now a colour picture of a very young Elizabeth II, standard fare for classrooms throughout the British Commonwealth. Especially during the 'Coronation' period depicted in "Heavenly Creatures."

Back Forward