Christopher Frayling

Sir Christopher John Frayling (born 25 December 1946) is a British educationalist and writer, known for his study of popular culture.

Christopher Frayling University of Bath
Christopher Frayling (left) at the University of Bath in 2015.


Christopher Frayling was born in Hampton, a suburb of London,[1] in affluent circumstances.[2] After attending Repton School,[3] Frayling read history at Churchill College, Cambridge and gained a PhD in the study of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He was appointed a Fellow of the college in 2009. He taught history at the University of Bath[4][5] and was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Arts) from that University in 2003. In 1979 Frayling was appointed Professor of Cultural History at London's post-graduate art and design school, the Royal College of Art. Frayling was Rector in charge of the Royal College of Art from 1996 to 2009.[6]

In 2003 he was awarded the Sir Misha Black Award and was added to the College of Medallists.[7]

He was the Chairman of Arts Council England from 2005 until January 2009.[8] He also served as Chairman of the Design Council, Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, and a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was a governor of the British Film Institute in the 1980s. In April 2014 he was appointed Chancellor of the Arts University Bournemouth.[9]

He has had a wide output as a writer and critic on subjects ranging from vampires to westerns. He has written and presented television series such as The Art of Persuasion on advertising and Strange Landscape on the Middle Ages. He has conducted a series of radio and television interviews with figures from the world of film, including Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, Ken Adam, Francis Ford Coppola and Clint Eastwood. He has written and presented several television series, including The Face of Tutankhamun[10] and Nightmare: Birth of Horror.[11]

He studied spaghetti westerns and specifically director Sergio Leone. He has written a very popular biography of Leone, Something To Do With Death (2000); helped run the Los Angeles-based Gene Autry Museum's exhibit on Leone in 2005; and appeared in numerous documentaries about Leone and his films, particularly the DVD documentaries of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He also provided audio commentaries for the special edition DVD releases of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Colossus of Rhodes.

In January 2018, he gave a lecture at the British Library in the Hogwarts Curriculum Lecture series on "Defence against the Dark Arts". This specialised in the treatment of vampires.[12]


His father, Major Arthur Frayling, was a furrier.[13] His mother, Betty Frayling, won the RAC Rally in 1952.[14] His brother, Nicholas, is Dean of Chichester Cathedral.


In 2001, he was awarded a knighthood for "Services to Art and Design Education" and chose as his motto "PERGE SCELUS MIHI DIEM PERFICIAS", which can be translated as "Proceed, varlet, and let the day be rendered perfect for my benefit".[15] That is, 'Go ahead, punk, make my day'.

Select bibliography


  • Napoleon Wrote Fiction (1972)
  • Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (1978, revised 1992)
  • Nightmare: Birth of Horror (1996)
  • On Craftsmanship: towards a new Bauhaus (2011)
  • The Yellow Peril – Dr Fu Manchu and the Rise of Chinophobia (2014)
  • Inside the Bloody Chamber: on Angela Carter, the Gothic and other weird tales (2015)


  • The Face of Tutankhamun (1992)
  • Strange Landscape: Journey Through the Middle Ages (1995)


  • Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone (1981)
  • American Westerners (1984)
  • Clint Eastwood (1992)
  • Things to Come (1995)
  • Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death (2000)
  • Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema (2005)
  • Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in Italy (2005)
  • Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design (2005)


  • The Royal College of Art: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Art and Design (1987)
  • Design of the Times: One Hundred Years of the Royal College of Art (1996)
  • The Art Pack (1998)

List of audio commentaries


  1. ^
  2. ^ 09:00 (2003-11-07). "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Christopher Frayling". Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  3. ^ Jones, Jonathan (12 December 2003). "The Guardian profile: Sir Christopher Frayling". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Professor Sir Christopher Frayling". Honorary Awards. Sheffield Hallam University. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  5. ^ "Sir Christopher Frayling". Honorary Degrees. Nottingham Trent University. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  6. ^ "RCA Announces Rector's Departure in Summer 2009". Royal College of Art. 29 January 2009. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  7. ^ "The Sir Misha Black Medal". Misha Black Awards. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  8. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (29 January 2010). "Arts Council Chief Frayling Departs". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  9. ^ "AUB appoints Sir Christopher Frayling as new Chancellor". Arts University Bournemouth. 7 April 2014.
  10. ^ "The Face of Tutankhamun". BBC. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  11. ^ "Nightmare: The Birth of Horror". BBC. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  12. ^ "The Hogwarts Curriculum Lectures - Defence Against The Dark Arts". British Library. 22 January 2018.
  13. ^ 09:00 (2003-11-07). "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Christopher Frayling". Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  14. ^ Darren Galpin. "1952 Miscellaneous Rallies". Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  15. ^ The College of Arms
  16. ^

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Gerry Robinson
Chair of Arts Council England
Succeeded by
Dame Liz Forgan
1946 in art

The year 1946 in art involved some significant events and new works.

A Fistful of Dollars

A Fistful of Dollars (Italian: Per un pugno di dollari, lit. 'For a Fistful of Dollars' titled on-screen as Fistful of Dollars) is a 1964 Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first leading role, alongside Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy, Sieghardt Rupp, José Calvo, Antonio Prieto, and Joseph Egger. The film, an international co-production between Italy, West Germany, and Spain, was filmed on a low budget (reported to be $200,000), and Eastwood was paid $15,000 for his role.Released in Italy in 1964 and then in the United States in 1967, it initiated the popularity of the Spaghetti Western genre. It was followed by For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, also starring Eastwood. Collectively, the films are known as the "Dollars Trilogy", or "The Man with No Name Trilogy". All three films were later released in sequence in the United States in 1967, catapulting Eastwood into stardom. The film has been identified as an unofficial remake of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo (1961), which resulted in a successful lawsuit by Toho, Yojimbo's production company. In the United States, the United Artists publicity campaign referred to Eastwood's character in all three films as the "Man with No Name".

As few Spaghetti Westerns had yet been released in the United States, many of the European cast and crew took on American-sounding stage names. These included Leone himself ("Bob Robertson"), Gian Maria Volontè ("Johnny Wels"), and composer Ennio Morricone ("Dan Savio"). A Fistful of Dollars was shot in Spain, mostly near Hoyo de Manzanares close to Madrid, but also (like its two sequels) in the Tabernas Desert and in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, both in the province of Almería.

Birds Britannia

Birds Britannia is a BBC's four-part television series about the birds of the United Kingdom, first shown from 7 to 28 November 2010 on BBC Four. It was produced by Stephen Moss.

Each of the four, sixty-minute episodes concentrates on one kind of bird: garden birds, waterbirds, seabirds and birds of the countryside.The series has no presenter, and is narrated by the Scottish actor Bill Paterson, with filmed interviews with a wide range of experts and bird enthusiasts, including David Attenborough, Mark Cocker, Jeremy Mynott, Tim Birkhead, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, Christopher Frayling, Kate Humble, Rob Lambert, Desmond Morris, David Lindo, Helen Macdonald, Andrew Motion, Tony Soper, and Bill Oddie.It has been announced that a book of the same title, by Stephen Moss, will be published by Collins in April 2011 (ISBN 978-0007413447).

Bristol Festival of Ideas

The Bristol Festival of Ideas is a project established in Bristol, England, which aims "to stimulate people’s minds and passions with an inspiring programme of discussion and debate". It was first set up in 2005, as part of the city's ultimately unsuccessful bid to become the European Capital of Culture for 2008, and continues to maintain a programme of debates and other events, including an annual festival each May.

The Festival also awards an annual book prize, worth £7,500, to a book which "presents new, important and challenging ideas, which is rigorously argued, and which is engaging and accessible". It is one of the largest book prizes in the UK.The Festival takes place in a range of venues across the city, including the Arnolfini, the Watershed Media Centre, St. George's, We The Curious, City Hall, the Tobacco Factory, and the Victoria Rooms. It is organised by Bristol Creative Projects (BCP – formerly the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership), Arts Council England, Bristol City Council, and GWE BusinessWest, a private sector organisation promoting economic development in the area, and also works closely with universities in the area and other agencies. The Director of the Festival is Andrew Kelly, who was appointed Director of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership in 1993.

Bristol Silents

Bristol Silents was established by Chris Daniels and Norman Taylor in 2000 to promote and celebrate silent cinema in the Bristol area and in the United Kingdom. The first ever event the organisation put on was a selection of Louise Brooks films in October 2000 at the Arnolfini, Bristol.The group aimed to present a range of silent films along with educational programmes in order to raise awareness and appreciation of the Silent era amongst the film going public.

January, 2005 saw Bristol Silents establish the Slapstick Silent Comedy Festival in the city of Bristol. Since then, the festival has returned to the city every January and has included guests such as Eric Sykes, Christopher Chaplin, Jean Darling (of Our Gang fame) and Diana Serra Cary (aka Baby Peggy).

College of Medallists

The College of Medallists is an association of recipients of The Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services in Design Education. Misha Black (1910-1977) was a pioneer of design in Britain. The College of Medallists was established in 2000, and joined the Founding Bodies (the Design and Industries Association, the Royal College of Art (RCA), the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and the Royal Academy of Engineering) in supporting the Sir Misha Black Awards.

Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!

Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (Italian: Se sei vivo spara, lit. If You Live Shoot) is a film directed by Giulio Questi.

Dracula (1958 film)

Dracula is a 1958 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher and written by Jimmy Sangster based on Bram Stoker's novel of the same name. The first in the series of Hammer Horror films starring Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, this original also features Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing, along with Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, and John Van Eyssen. In the U.S. the film was retitled Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the earlier Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi, and the film was released in the U.S. in 1958 on a double feature with the Universal film The Thing That Couldn't Die.

Production began at Bray Studios on 17 November 1957 with an investment of £81,000. As Count Dracula, Lee fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture. Christopher Frayling writes, “Dracula introduced fangs, red contact lenses, décolletage, ready-prepared wooden stakes and – in the celebrated credits sequence – blood being spattered from off-screen over the Count's coffin.” Lee also introduced a dark, brooding sexuality to the character, with Tim Stanley stating, “Lee’s sensuality was subversive in that it hinted that women might quite like having their neck chewed on by a stud”.In 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw Dracula ranked the 65th best British film ever. Empire magazine ranked Lee's portrayal as Count Dracula the 7th Greatest Horror Movie Character of All Time.

Dracula Society

The Dracula Society is a London-based literature and travel group with an interest in supernatural and macabre works of fiction, as exemplified by Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Eurospy film

Eurospy film, or Spaghetti spy film (especially when referring to Italian-produced films in the genre), is a genre of spy films produced across Europe, especially in Italy, France, and Spain, that either imitated or parodied the British James Bond series. The first wave of Eurospy films were released in 1964, two years after the first James Bond film, Dr. No, and in the same year as the premiere of what many consider to be the apotheosis of the Bond series, Goldfinger. For the most part, the Eurospy craze lasted until around 1967 or 1968. In Italy, where most of these films were produced, this trend replaced the declining sword and sandal genre.

Christopher Frayling, who estimated the number of Eurospy films at 50, felt that they passed on such traits to the Spaghetti Western as emphasis on the technology of death, such as special weapons, the anonymity of the protagonist, the "money = power" equation of the villains and humorous asides that released the audience's laughter after a violent sequence.For additional verisimilitude, these films often featured American and British stars in the lead roles. The heroes of the films were secret agents who were often given a name similar to "James Bond" (including "Charles Bind", "Charles Vine" and "James Tont"), and/or a code name matching, or similar to, James Bond's "007". Other Eurospy films made use of existing literary fictional spies, including Bulldog Drummond, Harry Palmer, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, AKA OSS 117 (who was not based on James Bond but rather had helped to inspire James Bond), Francis Coplan and Rolf Torring.

Fragment of a Novel

"Fragment of a Novel" is an unfinished 1819 vampire horror story written by Lord Byron. The story, also known as "A Fragment" and "The Burial: A Fragment", was one of the first in English to feature a vampire theme. The main character was Augustus Darvell. John William Polidori based his novella The Vampyre (1819), originally attributed in print to Lord Byron, on the Byron fragment. The vampire in the Polidori story, Lord Ruthven, was modelled on Byron himself. The story was the result of the meeting that Byron had in 1816 with Percy Bysshe Shelley where a "ghost writing" contest was proposed. This contest was also what led to the creation of Frankenstein according to Percy Bysshe Shelley's 1818 Preface to the novel. The story is important in the development and evolution of the vampire story in English literature as one of the first to feature the modern vampire as able to function in society in disguise. The short story first appeared under the title "A Fragment" in the 1819 collection Mazeppa: A Poem, published by John Murray in London.

Francis Coudrill

Francis Coudrill (1913 in Warwick – 1989) was an English artist and ventriloquist, most notable for being the creator of Hank the Cowboy. He was also an artist and illustrator.

Coudrill appeared on Lime Grove Studios' 1950s BBC children's television show Whirligig with Peter Hawkins, Peter Butterworth and writer Peter Ling (all of whom were later involved in Doctor Who).

His son is the artist Jonathon Coudrille.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector and Vice Provost of the Royal College of Art and Chairman of the Arts Council said about him:Francis Coudrill introduced the first generation of post-war baby-boomers – the lucky ones who watched television at home in the early 1950s – to TV animation and to the European Western, both at the same time. Hank Rides Again involved puppetry (for the studio introductions to each episode), drawings, cut-out animations, several distinct voices (including that of the horse Silver King, who was something like Disney’s Goofy) and sound effects – all supplied by Francis Coudrill, who made a personal appearance in a check shirt each week with Hank as his ventriloquist’s dummy. The end of each episode, a back view of Hank riding off into the sunset and descending below the horizon line, is still etched in my memory. My interest in European Westerns was first kindled by Hank Rides Again. So was my interest in artisanal kitchen-table animation – an aesthetic challenge to the cartoons produced by the big American studios. Okay, some of the characters were 1950s stereotypes – Mexican Pete the bad bandit, Dirty Face the Indian Chief – but they were harmless and good-hearted ones. They certainly didn’t do me any lasting damage. Francis Coudrill lives on, for all those of us who are about to be eligible for our bus passes and who remember sitting in cramped front rooms dreaming of wide open spaces and listening to tall stories which grew taller in the telling.

Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts

The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (known colloquially as LICA or The Lancaster Institute) is an academic institution, art school, and arm of the University of Lancaster, that delivers research and teaching in fields of contemporary art and design; including in the subject areas of Fine Art, Theatre, Design, and Film studies. The institute also houses two research centres: Insight and Imagination. LICA has a close working relationship with the public arts organisation: Lancaster Arts.

Notable academics include the Professors; Tim Etchells, Charlie Gere, Christopher Frayling KCMG , Kevin Roberts, Gerry Harris, and Rachel Cooper OBE; notable alumni include the television presenter James May, the composer Andrew Ford, the actor Andy Serkis, and winner of the BP Portrait Prize, Peter Monkman.With a heavy research focus, in 2014, 100% of the research output was ranked internationally excellent or world leading. Teaching at LICA is ranked within the global top 100 universities, offering Art and Design courses, by the QS World Rankings., and is ranked consistently within the top 5 undergraduate art schools in the UK; ranked 2nd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015 and 2016.

Mad scientist

Mad scientist (also mad doctor or mad professor) is a caricature of a scientist who is described as "mad" or "insane" owing to a combination of unusual or unsettling personality traits and the unabashedly ambitious, taboo or hubristic nature of their experiments. As a motif in fiction, the mad scientist may be villainous (evil genius) or antagonistic, benign or neutral; may be insane, eccentric, or clumsy; and often works with fictional technology or fails to recognize or value common human objections to attempting to play God. Some may have benevolent or good-spirited intentions, even if their actions are dangerous or questionable, which can make them accidental villains.They are often aided by a hunchback lab assistant named Igor. is a media-website dedicated to the people, places and world of James Bond, providing daily updates on the subject.

The Vampyre

"The Vampyre" is a short work of prose fiction written in 1819 by John William Polidori. The work is often viewed as the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction. The work is described by Christopher Frayling as "the first story successfully to fuse the disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent literary genre."

Things to Come

Things to Come (also known in promotional material as H. G. Wells' Things to Come) is a 1936 British black-and-white science fiction film from United Artists, produced by Alexander Korda, directed by William Cameron Menzies, and written by H. G. Wells. The film stars Raymond Massey, Ralph Richardson, Cedric Hardwicke, Pearl Argyle, and Margaretta Scott.

The dialogue and plot were devised by H. G. Wells as "a new story" meant to display the "social and political forces and possibilities" that he had outlined in his 1933 story The Shape of Things to Come, a work he considered less a novel than a "discussion" in fictional form that presented itself as the notes of a 22nd-century diplomat. The film was also influenced by previous works, including his 1897 story "A Story of the Days to Come" and his 1931 work on society and economics, The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind; speculating on the future had been a stock-in-trade for Wells ever since The Time Machine (1895). The cultural historian Christopher Frayling called Things to Come "a landmark in cinematic design".

Coat of arms of Christopher Frayling
Frayling Escutcheon
(upon a helm with a wreath Or and Sable): A Dodo Sable beaked and legged Or grasping in the dexter foot a Goblet Argent enflamed Or.
Or between three Owls volant affronty bendwise sinister two Bendlets sinister Sable thereon square Billets in bend sinister Argent.
Perge Scellus Mihi Diem Perficias


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.