British VFX Matte painting Timeline.
 

The information above has been compile from different sources, magazines and books, and with the help of Martin Body, John Grant, Bob Cuff and Doug Ferris to whom I'm sincerely thankful.



 

1916.  Walter Hall, the English art director of D. W. Griffith's
         "Intolerance", develops his own method of creating the
         glass shot. He paints the additions to the scene on
         composition board, cuts them out with a beveled edge,
         and mounts them in front of the camera. He patented
         this variation of the glass shot technique, known as "The
         Hall Process" in 1921.



 

1922.  Walter Percy ("Pop") Day introduces the "The Hall
         Process or galss shot"  to the French film industry on “Les Opprimés.”

 
 1927.  For Alfred Hitchcock film "The ring" Walter Percy Day is called from 
          France, to execute a trick shot using the "schuftan process", to integrate 
          the ring set, into a painting of the Albert Hall. 

 

1930.  Percy Day develops his version of the latent image
          technique and applies it in “Au Bonheur des Dames"                              .
          and "Les jouer de chess"



 

1934.  Returning to England, Percy Day to demonstrate the value of glass shots 
          executed some paintings free at some British Studios.
          Studios producers encourage their own Studios painter to made 
          matte paintings. Although Percy day and His assistant Peter Ellenshaw 
          are the only two credited matte painters at that time, there where some 
          others unknown 

 
 
 1934. Percy Day and his assistant and stepson Peter Ellenshaw paint 
         mattes for producer Alexander Korda. " The scarlet pimpernel"

 

1935. Director Alfred Hitchcock has illustrator Fortunino Matania
        create a matte painting for the trap sequence at
        the Royal Albert Hall in “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
        Albert Whitlock worked as scenic artist at Gainsborough Studios.

 
 
1936.  Walter Percy Day headed the Department of Matte Painting
        at Denham Studios.
        Percy Day and assistant Peter Ellenshaw paint mattes for
        “Things to Come”.

 
 1936. For Alfred Hitchcock film "Sabotage", the Strand Street of London 
          was  recreated into a Studio, with the help of a glass painting. 

 
  1937. For the film "Young and innocent" made at gaingsborough studios,
      they used miniatures and matte painting. 
     Albert Whitlock worked on scenic and miniatures and probably 
     Albert Jullion as matte painter.

 

1940.  Percy Day and assistant Peter Ellenshaw paint a fantasy                            .
         world for “The Thief of Bagdad” The film wins the
         Academy Award for Visual Effects.

 

1945.  Percy Day paints glass shots for "Henry V".                                           .

 
 1946. After many years as scenic artist and background painting, 
         Albert Jullion get his first credit as matte painter for "The magic Bow"

 
1946. Another scenic artist,  Les Bowie begun as matte painter 
           at Pinewood Studios, he paints mattes for David Lean´s
          “Great Expectations”.

 
1946. A young Cliff Culley entered Pinewood studios as apprentice at the 
         Special effects department under Bill Warrington. 
1946.   Walter Percy  Day was appointed Director of Special Effects
        of London Films at Shepperton Studios. After returning  from
        five years in the RAF, Peter  Ellenshaw paints mattes for
        “A Matter of Life and Death”. Percy Day heads the visual
        effects for the film

 
 1947. Percy Day and Ellenshaw paint Himalayan views and the
         monastery for “Black Narcissus”.

 
 
 1948.  Les Bowie, Joseph Natanson, and Ivor Beddoes paint mattes for
         the ballet dream sequence in “The Red Shoes”.

 
1948.  Les Bowie paint mattes for “Oliver Twist” at Pinewood Studios.
1948 . Joseph Natanson started to work at Shepperton matte department

 
1948 . Peter Ellenshaw was called to Tom Howard at  British MGM Studios 
        to make matte paintigs for "Idol of Paris".
1949.  Albert Whitlock paints his first original negative matte
        painting for “The Bad Lord Byron”.

 
1949 .  Hitchcock film "Under capricorne" was made at British MGM Studios
         Matte paintings probably by Albert Jullion, who was art director at 
          "Idol of Paris".

 
1950  Peter Ellenshaw works on his first Disney Studio film in England,
          painting mattes for “Treasure Island.”

 
 1950. Albert Whitlock is credited with Bill Warrington as Special effects 
           for his matte paintings at "Trio" made for at Pinewood.

 
 1952.  Tom Howard head of Special effects department of British  MGM
            ask Peter Ellenshaw to paint mattes for "Quo Vadis? "

 
1951  Les Bowie left Pinewood matte department to create his own company in 
         association with Vic Margutti,  Bowie-Margutti films.

 
1952. Roy Field  still in his teens, entered at Bowie Films, and learned
        with Margutti as FX Cameramen

 

1952. Percy Day retired from Shepperton Studios
         Wally Veevers  became head of Matte Department at Shepperton 
         Shepperton Studios crew:
         George Samuels  principal painter and constructor.
         Albert Jullion  a brilliant painter, much loved by Vincent  Korda.
         Bob Cuff hired as trainee Matte painter by Vincent Korda.
         Joseph Natanson
         Judy Jordan: left about 1954
         Ivor Beddoes: Freelance
         Alan Maley: went to Hollywood,  Disney at 1964

 
1952  Peter Ellenshaw  work for Disney, with  Albert Whitlock as assistant,
        for “Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue”, and “The  Sword and the Rose”(image)

 
 1952. At British MGM Tom Howard  supervised VFX work for films like
          "Ivanhoe"(image) or "The rounded table Knights".
           Matte paintings were uncredited

 
1953 .Joseph Natanson worked frequently at Rome for films like 
         "Puccini" ,  "Madame Butterfly" 

 

1954  Peter Ellenshaw went to America to work at Disney matte department
         for "20. 000 Leagues Under the Sea"
         Albert Whitlock  moved also to USA to work under Ellenshaw.

 
 1954. Ivor Beddoes painted mattes for "Atila" filmed in Italy.                          .

 
1954.  Judy Jordan left Shepperton matte departement to work at MGM British 
            Studio under Tom Howard.

 
1956. Joseph Natanson already settled at Rome, painted mattes for         .
          Louis Lichtenfield at " Helen of Troy", filmed at Cinecitta.

 
1956. Vic Margutti and Roy Field left Bowie films to go to Pinewood

 
1957. Matte artist Bob Bell who had previously worked at Pinewood
          Studios, left to AP films as art director.

 
1957. Derek Meddings worked with Les Bowie as matte assist
        at Anglo-Scottish Pictures Ltd. They painted mattes for
        Hammer films like "Dracula" (image) and "The curse of Frankenstein"

 
 1958 . Tom Howard at British MGM wins an academy for the FX 
          at "Tom Thumb" with matte paintings probably by Judy Jordan. 

 
 1959. Bill Warrington left Pinewood Studios to work freelance.
          Cliff Culley remains as head of matte painting and optical effects
          for films like "Northwest frontier"

 
1960 . Derek Meddings left Bowie and went to Gerry Anderson
           TV series as Director of Special Effects.

 
1961-. The Shepperton studios matte department was responsible
        for the mattes from some Ray Harryhausen films like  “The mysterious island”
        and “Jason and  the Argonauts”.(image)
        Wally Veevers was in charge of the photographic dept and Ted Samuels in
        charge of practicals on the floor. Peter Harman was his cameraman with
        Bryan Loftus, Geoff Stevenson, and  John Grant who comes from kodak.
        John Mackie with Bob Cuff was about to leave to join Les Bowie .
        The main matte artist was Doug Ferris with Gerald Larn, Brian Evans
        and Peter Melrose assisting. Films from this period at Shepperton included
        "Vampire Killers",  "Best House in Town", "Casino Royal",  and many more,
        not all had matte paintings as they also did transitions, Split Screens and titles.
        Shepperton matte  department was housed in M stage which had a large
        matte painting studio employing several matte painters, a model shop,
        a small shooting stage and optical rooms. The walls displayed many matte 
        paintings and models from earlier films, sadly most lost today.

 
1963. Cliff Culley head of matte department at Pinewood, with
          Roy Filed supervising optical effects.
         Begun his James Bond series, painting mattes for
          "From Russia with love"
         At middle sixties, Charles Stoneham joins Pinewood matte department,
         trained by Cliff Culley.

 
1963. Bob Cuff begun working with Les Bowie.
         Ray Caple was already working as Les Bowie’s
         matte artist  and had been trained by him from an early age.
        They share matte work for films like "The first men in the moon"           .
         or "The masque of the red death" (picture)

 
1963. "Cleopatra" earned the Academy Award for Special effects with Emile Kosa 
         as matte painter supervisor and Joseph Natanson matte assistant,
          in Cinecitta, Italy.

 
 
1964. After his well-regarded work in “Doctor Strangelove”,
        Alan Maley joins Disney Studio in America as a matte painter.          .

 
 1964.  Ivor Beddoes working as freelance, painted mattes for                         .
           Bill Warrington at "The long ships" 

 
1966.  Peter Melrose and Bob Cuff paint mattes for Hammer film                  .
          “Dracula has risen from the Grave”

 
1967 John Mackey, Les Bowie and Bob Cuff formed a company
        (Abacus Productions) to make T.V. commercials. (Les  Bowie
        did not want to be involved with commercials and acted as sleeping
       partner, renting his premises and equipment to the  offshoot company).
        - Wally Veevers leaves Shepperton to workk on "2001" along with Brian Loftus
        - Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn, Peter Harman and John Grant remain at 
        Shepperton  Working on films like "Dance of the Vampires"

 
 
1968- Abacus were invited by Carl Foreman and his designer Geoffrey Drake
        to carry out painted mattes and other work for  “McKenna’s Gold”.
        John Mackey went with. The painting was  shared between Ray Caple,
        Lynette Lee, Bob Cuff and Joy Seddon, who joined Abacus as a matte
        artist, having  previously been working with Stanley Kubric on 2001.
        They  also did various model shots and some pickups, employing a
        fair number of technicians, including Brian Loftus, John  Johnson and
        others. Bob´s son Paul Cuff worked as Matte Process cameraman and
        married Joy Seddon, now Joy Cuff.

 
 
 1968. At Pinewood studios Cliff Culley and Roy Field  were responsibles for 
        the matte paintings at "Chity Chity Bang Bang"

 
1968 . Douglas Adamson was employed as matte painter at MGM British Studios.
          He painted mattes for "Where eagles dare"

 
 
 1969.   Anne of the Thousand Days.Shepperton matte department with
             Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn and Bryan Evans painting and 
       John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography.
       Gerald Larn painted the night view of the Tower of London matte. 

 
 1969 . Ray Harryhausen film "Valley of Gwangi" went to Shepperton 
        matte department, with Doug Ferris and Gerald Larn painting and 
       John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography.
       Gerald Larn painted  some rock formations for the Lost Valley.                   .

 

1969 . Ray Caple was responsible for mattes at “The battle of Britain”.              .
          Martin Body assisted Caple as matte camera.

 

1971. Roy Field went freelance in 1971, as Vic Margutti had retired

 
 1971. Gerald Larn at Shepperton matte department paint mattes for 
          Roman Polanski "Macbeth"
1973- After 11 years at Shepperton matte department, Gerald Larn 
         left his film work when the Studios closed. 

 
1974 - Wally Veevers sets up at Bray Studios. 
           Doug Ferris & Peter Harman join him.

 
1975.  Cliff Culley left  Pinewood, and create his own company
          Westbury Design and Optical. He provide matte effects for                    .
         "The pink panther strikes again"

 
 1976.  Shepperton reopens and Wally Veevers hires new premises 
         just across from M stage. Doug Ferris  and Peter Harman join him.
         They work at "The prince and the pauper"

 
1978. Matte painter and composite supervisor Les Bowie, and
         matte painters Doug Ferris, Ray Caple, assisted by Liz
         Lettman, create the matte paintings for "Superman". Bowie
         is awarded with a posthumous Oscar the following year.
         He shared the award with Roy Field, Derek Medings, Colin Chilvers,
         Dennys Coop, and Zoran Perisic

 
 1978.  Cliff Culley  hired Leig Took as matte painter assistant
            for "Warlord of Atlantis" and other films. 

 

1979 . Ivor Beddoes joined  Doug Ferris and cameramen Peter
           Hammond and Peter Harman to create the mattes of
           "Superman II", made for Roy Field´s "Optical Film Effects" compamy

 
 
 1979. Ray  Caple paint mattes for Ridley Scot´s "Alien"                   .

 
1981. Alan Maley retired from movies after supervising the matte
        department at I.L.M from "Dragonslayer" (1980) and
       "Raiders of the lost ark" (1981)

 

1981. John Grant join Wally Veevers, Doug Ferris and Peter Harman,
        for "The Keep" with Roy Carnell and Stuart Galloway as camera assistants.

 
1982 . Doug Ferris  Peter Harman, John Grant, and Martin Body join
        Roy Field and Peter Watson at Optical Films effects in Pinewood,
        to work on projects in the early to mid eighties: 'Superman III', 
        'Santa  Claus',  'Labyrinth' or "The last Days of Patton"(image)

 
 1983. Leigh Took, after some years  learning with Cliff Culley, 
          went to work under Derek Meeding  painting mattes for "Octopussy"

 
1983. Derek Meddings Supervising visual effects for "Supergirl"                         .
         painted a glass shot.

 
 1984 .Cliff Culley provides mattes and optical effects fo TV miniserie
         "The last Days of Pompeii"  with his company "Westbury design"

 
1984. Albert Whitlock retired as head of Matte department at
        Universal after painting  mattes for "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan".
         He remains working as matte consultan for "Illusion arts"

 
 1984. For  David Lean´s "A passage to India" Doug Chian paint matttes 
       for Peerles Camera Company with Kent Houston  supervising optical effects.
       The upper left part  of the rock formations was painted.

 
1985. Charles  Stoneham became disillusioned with the increasing
        pressures of the industry, and retired to live in Cornwall,
        after his work at "Return to Oz" and "A Chistmas carrol" (image) 

 
 1985 . Ray Caple is responsible for the matte paintings at "Spies like us"

 
1986.  Bob Cuff retired from commercials company Abacus.

 
1986.  Joseph Natanson retired after his last painting work at                           .
         "The name of the rose"
         Since the  early 60´s he lived and worked at Rome 
         painting mattes for  more than 80 films. 

 
 1988. After some years workingg under Harrison Ellenshaw ,
          British painter JP Trevor  painted mattes for Derek Meedings 
          at "Stealing Heaven"

 
1988. Bob and Joy Cuff with Doug Ferris and Leigh Took paint                      .
          mattes for “Baron Munchausen”. John Grant and Martin
          Body  worked as matte camera at Peerles camera

 
 
 1988 . Cliff Culley paint mattes  for "Hellraiser II" with his son Neil Culley 
         as matte fotography.

 
1989. After painting mattes for "Eric the Viking" with Doug Ferris, 
          Bob and Joy Cuff retired from matte painting.

 
 1989. For the film "Batman"  Ray Caple, Leigh Took and JP Trevor 
            paint mattes for Derek Meedings

 
 
1990.  Peter Ellenshaw made his last contribution to film industry
          assisting his son Harrison painting the mattes for "Dick Tracy"                   .

 
 
  1990. Steve Beggs, after some years working on miniatures, 
          paints mattes for "Hardware" at Cliff Culleys company                            .
          Westbury design and opticals"

 
 1990.  John Grant joined Magic Camera Company with Doug Ferris
           to work on various projects.

 
 1990. Afther his work on "Treasure island" Ray Caple died from illness.

 
1991. Albert Whitlock painted his last glass shot for 
         "The neverending story II"

 
 1993. Doug Ferris paint mattes for Derek Meddings company 
          "Magic camera Company for films like "Princess caraboo"

 
 1995 . Cliff Culley´s company "Westbury desing" provided mattes and opticals
         for the film "Restoration"

 
 1997. Doug Ferris again for Magic camera Company painted 
             the city of Calcuta for "City of Joy"

 
1997  . Cliff Culley painted mattes for "Orphans" His son Neil Culley 
        was matte camera. Cliff Culley retired and his son Neil went into digital FX.

 
1997 . Doug Ferris painting, and John Grant camera, made which could be the last
          traditionanly hand done matte painting for "Seven Years in Tibet".
          Doug Ferris retired, John Grant continued to work and retrained on
          computers until the company  relocated to central London and retired 
          in 2002.

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