There are three short 16mm films by Beakus Penrose, filmed in and around Ham Spray in 1929 that are now posted on YouTube. They were conserved by the National Film & Television Archive for “Carrington: the Exhibition,” Barbican Art Gallery, 1995.
The films are:
- “Dr Turner’s Mental Home,” featuring Saxon Sydney Turner, Rachel MacCarthy, Lord David Cecil, Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridge, Frances Partridge.
- “Untitled” (‘The Bounder’ to me) starring Dora Carrington, Stephen Tomlin, Julia Strachey, Oliver Strachey.
- “Topical Budget Ham Spray September 1929” with Dora Carrington, David Garnett, Frances Partridge, Ralph Partridge, Lytton Strachey, James Strachey.
As Todd Avery, associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, posted on the VWoolf Listserv, “In the late 1920s, Carrington, Ralph and Frances Partridge, Saxon Sydney-Turner, and others produced four short home-made films—including `Dr. Turner’s Mental Home,’ starring Saxon, which was screened at the Woolfs’ home in London. Until last year, with the exception of one or two public screenings in the 1990s, these films were available for viewing by appointment only in the tiny basement viewing room of the British Film Institute, in London, and only on VHS. A BBC presenter seems somehow to have procured a copy of the films, and posted them online (I will resist regaling you with the tale of cultural espionage by which I may or may not, earlier in the year, have tried and failed/succeeded to procure my own copy).
“Among the highlights: Saxon as a deranged doctor in the first film, and a splendid bathtub scene with Rachel MacCarthy; Carrington riding her white horse behind Ham Spray—and in slow motion! James Strachey snarling at the camera; Lytton Strachey mugging and laughing from an upstairs window; Ralph and Frances and Carrington diving into the pond artistically and then struggling to stay afloat upon inflatable swans. And so much more!”