Arts & Literature

Wonderland: Lewis Carroll to JRR Tolkien

Wonderland: Lewis Carroll to JRR Tolkien

In one remarkable 60-year period, some of the most iconic children’s literature was written in Britain. An extraordinary range of authors created ‘Wonderlands’, imaginary places of happiness where sorrows were simply removed. This fascinating arts documentary showcases the lives of writers Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit), AA Milne (Winnie the Pooh) and others.

The Art Of Japanese Life

Image of the red circle of Japan with the cityscape within, as well as a bonzai tree

In recent times, Japan has been at the forefront of technology and has developed into a global powerhouse. But for centuries it lived in deliberate isolation with little known about its culture or people. Art historian Dr James Fox delves into the art of Japan, revealing its mysterious origins and exploring the links between culture, the countryside, urban landscapes and religion.

The vital link between Japanese culture and the natural world is investigated. Japanese culture and the natural environment have always been intrinsically linked. Dr James Fox journeys through Japan’s mountainous forests, glorious Zen gardens and encounters centuries – old bonsai to explore these connections. Traveling around the country’s stunning geography, he examines how two great religions, Shinto and Buddhism, helped shape a creative response to nature.

How the artistic life of three Japanese cities shaped the country’s cultural attitudes. The artistic life of three great Japanese cities shaped the country’s attitudes and helped forge the very idea of Japan itself. Visiting Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo, Dr James Fox reveals how the flowering of classical culture produced many great treasures of Japanese art. These include everything from The Tale of Genji, considered the first novel ever, to the world-famous animation house
Studio Ghibli.

How the clean minimalism and uncluttered mindset of the Japanese home developed. The minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But its origins evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values, dating back centuries. Dr James Fox explores the art of the Japanese home, visiting one of Japan’s last surviving traditional wooden villages and learning the importance of calligraphy.

Nature And Us: A History Through Art

Watch Nature And Us: A History Through Art on BBC Select

In this groundbreaking arts documentary, BBC Select explores the often complex relationship that human beings have with the natural world. Taking a unique approach, Dr James Fox uses art as evidence of our developing attitudes towards nature across the globe and throughout history, from prehistory to the present.

Can culture help to explain our evolving relationship with nature?


Stream Rembrandt on BBC Select

He was the most successful artist working in the richest city on Earth – glittering 17th-century Amsterdam. Like a modern-day rock star, he loved to live extravagantly. But money woes, tragedy and rumor soon left Rembrandt’s reputation in tatters. But these controversies spurred the artist on to create some of his most celebrated works.

Simon Schama delves into Rembrandt’s final, scandal-strewn years in this art history documentary.

The Art of Gothic

Watch The Art of Gothic on BBC Select

This BBC Select art history documentary spends some time down in the dungeon as it delves into the world of the Gothic.

Acclaimed art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how a group of 19th-century architects and artists spurned the modern age and turned to Britain’s medieval past to create iconic works and buildings with a distinctly creepy edge.

But what attracted them to the dark side?