Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Roundhouse, Sudborough

BB's last home, The Roundhouse

Shrubland House, Welford

Shrubland House was BB's first home after he married in 1939.

The Old Rectory, Lamport

The Old Rectory in Lamport was where BB was born and grew up.  He spent his childhood in the grounds of the house and in the surrounding countryside which later inspired him in his writing.  It was in this house, that as a child, BB claimed to have seen a real live gnome.  We really liked the idea of a young BB coming in contact with a gnome and want to include this in the film.  We've created a few mood boards based around the places we want to feature in the film below are the ones from Lamport.

The Film Brief

Ros Stoddart commisioned Andy EathorneHannah Suppiah and myself to make a short animated film that takes on the 'spirit' of BB's love of the natural environment in Northamptonshire.  
Denys Watkins-Pitchford "BB"

Who is BB?
"Denys James Watkins-Pitchford MBE (25 July 1905 – 8 September 1990) was a British naturalist, children's writer, and illustrator who wrote under the pseudonym "BB".
Denys Watkins-Pitchford was born in Lamport, Northamptonshire, the second son of the Revd. Walter Watkins-Pitchford and his wife, Edith. His elder brother, Engel, died at the age of thirteen. Denys was himself considered to be delicate as a child, and because of this was educated at home, while his younger twin, Roger, was sent away to school. He spent a great deal of time on his own, wandering through the fields, and developed a love of the outdoors, which was to influence his writing. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and drawing; all these things were to influence his writing greatly. At the age of fifteen, he left home and went to study at the Northampton School of Art. He won several prizes while there, but was irked by the dry, academic approach, and longed to be able to draw from life.
While at the Northampton School of Art, Watkins-Pitchford won a travelling scholarship to Paris. He was later to say that he could not remember how long he had spent in Paris, but Quinn suggests (p. 50) that it was probably about three months. He worked at a studio in Montparnasse, and attended drawing classes. It is unknown exactly where he studied. In the autumn of 1924, he entered the Royal College of Art in London. In 1930 he became an assistant art master at Rugby School where he remained for seventeen years. While at Rugby School he was to begin contributing regularly to the Shooting Times and start his career as an author and illustrator. He wrote under the nom de plume of '"BB"', a name based on the size of lead shot he used to shoot geese, but he maintained the use of his real name as that of the illustrator in all his books. He later illustrated books by other writers, and sold his own paintings locally.
Watkins-Pitchford married in 1939, and had two children, Robin, who died at the age of seven from Bright's Disease, and Angela. Tragedy entered his life a second time in 1974, when his wife, Cecily, became unwell after working in the garden while a farmer was spraying his fields at the other side of the hedge. She died a few weeks later. By the late 1980s, Watkins-Pitchford needed regular dialysis treatment. He was awarded an honorary MA by Leicester University in 1986, and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1990. He collapsed suddenly in September of that year, and died while under anaesthetic in the operating theatre."

taken from wikipedia.

As part of our research we have looked at BB's most well known and award winning book 'The Little Grey Men'.  The book tells the story of three gnomes who set out on trip up the folly to find their long lost brother.  We have also looked at the book 'BB Rememebered' by Tom Quinn and have more recently picked up 'BB A Symposium' by Bryan Holden.

Last month we went on a field trip to visit places related to BB's life.  These were Lamport Rectory and church; The Round House, Sudborough; Cranford St John cemetery; river Nene; Shortwood (home of Lady Susan Farr with its medieval hawking tower featured in Wild Lone- tale of Rufus the Pytchley Fox) and
Shrubland House Welford.  It is around these places and the rest of the Northamptonshire countryside that we will base our film.