The desire to capture and preserve the likeness of fellow human is a recurring preoccupation in film, as in painting and sculpture. 

Films showing in this section: 

1:32 - Derek Jarman Miss Gaby 1971
1:38 - Derek Jarman Stolen Apples for Karen Blixen 1971
1:40 - John Scarlett-Davis Chat Rap 1983
1:56 - Steve Chivers Prima Dilettante 1983-4
2:06 - John Maybury Pan is Dead 1998

Derek Jarman Miss Gaby 1971

6 minutes. Collection: James Mackay 

Miss Gaby is a portrait built up from details. Ostensibly a woman at home at her make-up table, with a friend paying court to her, this is in fact a staged performance with props and lighting. None the less, it presents an intimate portrait of an eccentric friend. ‘Miss Gaby reveals Jarman’s desire to deal with iconic images, with a coded entry into personality through dress, artifice, mise en scene and colour.’ Michael O’Pray 1996 


Derek Jarman was born in 1942. He studied at Kings College and The Slade School of Art, London. Jarman’s training in theatre design led to work on films including Ken Russell’s The Devils 1971, but he was introduced to Super8 filmmaking by his neighbour in Bankside studios, Andrew Logan. Prolific equally in 35mm and S8mm, Jarman was shortlisted for Turner Prize in 1986 ‘in recognition of the outstanding visual quality of his films’, in particular Sebastiane, Jubilee, The Tempest and Caravaggio. He died in 1994 

Derek Jarman Stolen Apples for Karen Blixen 1971

2 minutes. Collection: James Mackay 

In this recently re-discovered Super8 film, Derek Jarman simply brings together two portrait photographs and a still life, in his homage to the author of Out of Africa.


See above. 

John Scarlett-Davis Chat Rap 1983

15 minutes. Collection: Lux 

John Scarlett-Davis was initially associated with Scratch Video, the political video-collage movement of the early 1980s. Chat Rap’s portraits of friends from the artworld fringe show his use of strong colour, music and fast editing, and his Warhol-like fascination with glamour and personality. The visual style was drawn on by youth television for the next two decades. 


John Scarlett-Davis was born in 1950. He studied (Geology) at University of Swansea, and Goldsmiths College of Art, London. He worked as an editor and assistant director for Derek Jarman, including Jarman’s first music video, and was a prolific tape maker in the early 80s, importing the tempo of Scratch video into his art pieces. Following a successful career in music videos and commercials, he now lives in Cornwall, exhibits photographs, and is writing a novel. 

Steve Chivers Prima Dilettante 1983-4

10 minutes. Collection: Lux 

Steven Chivers’ portrait Prima Dilettante is of the artist Holly Warburton, with whom he frequently collaborated. His films, like her slide-tape works, explore a decadent sensuality through elaborate costume, theatrical décor and operatic sound. The film is his tribute to her. 


Steven Chivers was born in 1958. He studied at Goldsmiths College of Art and St Martins School of Art, London, where he later worked as a media technician, while also shooting films for William Raban Black and Silver 1981 and Sophie Muller Faust . Now works as a director of photography on music videos Phil Collins - You’ll be in My Heart 2000 and feature films Highlander III

John Maybury Pan is Dead 1998

4 minutes. Collection: Lux 

In his Super8 and video works, John Maybury frequently re-visits old footage, visually elaborating it in the course of editing. This portrait based on a performance by his friend the performance artist and gay icon Leigh Bowery exists in many different versions. 


John Maybury was born in 1958. He studied at North East London Polytechnic, and designed sets for Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, and worked with him on The Last of England and The Tempest . Initially associated with Super8 filmmaking, his mastery of video technology was quickly evident in a series of music videos (Neneh Cherry, Boy George) and long-works for television such as Remembrance of Things Fast 1993. Following the success of his fictionalised life of Francis Bacon Love is The Devil 1998, he is now working on feature films.