Home TV Guide Soaps & Dramas Entertainment Lifestyle Sport News Weather Kids Region Shop  
Lloyd Webber’s art

On Friday 19th September, the eve of a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, Andrew Lloyd Webber invites The South Bank Show into his London and Berkshire homes for an exclusive preview of his remarkable collection.

This film opens with the original performance of The South Bank Show theme tune by Lloyd Webber who first made a name for himself in the late 60's.

He has since achieved worldwide recognition for some of the most famous and successful musicals to date.

But few are aware of his love of art, particularly Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite pieces which began when, as an unhappy schoolboy, he would visit local churches and lose himself in the treasure chests of art he found there.

Talking to Melvyn Bragg about the wealth of people and places that have influenced him, Lloyd Webber takes Bragg back to one such place - All Saints church in Margaret Street, London.

This church sparked a life long love affair with Victorian art.

The result is his acquisition of over 300 works of art, the majority of which have only ever been seen by family and friends.

His first ever purchase when still in his early teens was a series of books called the Dugdale's Monasticon which depicts the history of monasteries with wonderfully detailed illustrations.

This purchase made his family realise that 'there was something really quite strange going on here', says Julian Lloyd Webber.

Shortly after, he spotted the masterpiece Flaming June by Frederic Leighton for sale but couldn't afford it.

'It was in a shop in Fulham Road. The frame was £65 and the picture was £50 and it was filthy dirty,' says Lloyd Webber.

'All I knew was that the image was something I'd seen in a book. It could be [worth] between £7 and £10 million today.'

His subsequent fame and fortune allowed Lloyd Webber to seriously indulge his passion and to date his eclectic collection includes pieces by artists such as Picasso and Stanley Spencer who Webber describes as 'the daddy of all modern artists.'

Webber's love of 'social paintings' from the Victorian era that depict people from everyday life has led him to commission Ronnie Wood to paint a triptych of a day in the life of The Ivy, London's stomping ground for the rich and famous.

This piece, seen for the first time on The South Bank Show, will be on display in the Royal Academy restaurant during the run of the exhibition and is the only painting in the collection by a living artist.

Produced and Directed by Daniel Wiles Edited and Presented by Melvyn Bragg

Michael Frayn
14/11/2004 22:45
The Darkness
21/11/2004 22:45
Iggy Pop
05/12/2004 22:45
Ruth Rendell
12/12/2004 22:45
Mary Poppins
26/12/2004 22:45