Sound and vision blog

3 posts from July 2011

28 July 2011

Cataloguing the Judith Bumpus Collection

Bethany Lamont, volunteer cataloguer for the Oral History section and student at Central Saint Martins writes:

Oral-historyThe Judith Bumpus Radio Interviews, a collection of broadcast and unedited talks and interviews from the radio producer and art historian Judith Bumpus, is currently in the process of being catalogued. The collection comprises the BBC Radio Three and BBC Radio Four programmes produced by Bumpus from the late 1970s to 1995. Donated in 1997, by Judith Bumpus herself, the collection totals 456 recordings. The body of work features BBC Radio Three’s ‘Third Ear’; ‘During the Interval’; ‘Writers Under Fire’; ‘British Writing in the Thirties’; ‘Art and the Human Condition’ and ‘British Architecture’. It chiefly includes the broadcasted radio talks but also features unedited recordings.

The collection is notable in its vast diversity, providing a platform for a host of art practices, mediums and ideologies. This could be said to reflect the sheer breadth of insight held by Judith Bumpus herself in the practice of the creative arts; The Independent considered the producer to belong “to that select band of arts communicators who helped shape the taste of today's art-going public and change the way the visual arts were presented and discussed on air”. Examples of this far reaching and imaginative intuition can be seen in the extensive nature of the collection itself. It spans academic art history pieces by speakers such as E. H. Gombrich to lively discussions of comic art and Sony-Gold winning radio dramas. Particularly noteworthy speakers include David Hockney, Aldous Huxley and Borges. (It should also be noted that the dramatic radio reading of Borges’ 'Shakespeare’s Memory' provides a particularly powerful introduction into his literary work.)

Following the death of Judith Bumpus in 2010 the collection can be seen to serve as a testimony, both to the life work of the radio producer herself; but also and, perhaps most notably, to the lives of the artists, authors, photographers, architects and writers that she so carefully documented over her extensive career. A notable example of this can be seen in the 1991 interview with the recently deceased Lucian Freud, coordinated by his close friend and art writer William Feaver. The piece possesses a poignant intimacy, a delicate amaranthine quality, undoubtedly heightened following the days of his passing.

The Judith Bumpus collection is a notable canon of work and it is likely to be a useful and informative addition to The British Library’s oral history visual arts and crafts collections, offering an original and detailed portrait of the arts in the 20th century.  

The Judith Bumpus Collection should be fully catalogued and available at the British Library by autumn 2011.  The British Library acknowledges BBC copyright in many of the items in this collection.

25 July 2011

Recording of the Week: Satyendra Srivastava

Stephen Cleary, Lead Curator, Drama and Literature Recordings, writes:

Between-two-worlds-poetry-and-translation Poet Satyendra Srivastava was born in 1935 near Varanasi, India, but has lived in London since 1958. This recording, made in 2010 in the British Library studio for the Library's poetry recording project Between Two Worlds, begins with perhaps his most well-known poem 'Sir Winston Churchill Knew my Mother'. All the poems are read in both Hindi and English versions.

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners.

11 July 2011

Recording of the Week: Horses hooves

Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, writes:

British-wildlife-recordingsWhen thinking about wildlife sound recordings, we tend to focus on actual vocalisations. However, interesting sounds can also result from activities such as locomotion and feeding. This recording captures the gentle 'clopping' of passing horses on Mardon Down, Dartmoor and was recorded by Lawrence Shove in April 1965.

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners.