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  • Orkney Islands


  • Arts and crafts
  • Emotions, attitudes and behaviour
  • Environment, the
  • Landscapes and seascapes


  • Experimental
  • Women film makers


  • TAIT, Margaret


  • 1950s

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Reference number: 6217

Date: 1955

Director: [filmed by Margaret Tait]

Sound: sound

Colour: col

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 6.27 mins

Description: An film interpretation of the poem 'The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo' by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Margaret Tait speaks the poem throughout the film.

An entrancing 'translation' into film of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo". The theme is a common one in this most difficult and yet most transparently simple of all poets: all things lovely and young are doomed inevitably to decay and death - nothing can keep them away. Yet (comes back the golden echo from the grayness of the lamentation) having once existed they can never pass away: beauty is gathered and stored in granaries beyond corruption. Every film artist who attempts to interpret such a poem will do it in her own different way. I found Margaret Tait's choice of individual images extraordinarily moving and evocative: the flowers, the children, the wrinkles in the mirror...'
[Source: George Mackay Brown The Orcadian 13 Dec. 1979]

See also Additional Information file at 11/1/455. Paper Archives 4/5/119, 4/11/651, 4/5/92.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/avantgarde based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library http://www.bfi.org.uk holds many of the published articles on her and her work.

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Credits: [comm.s. Margaret Tait]

Shotlist: [Margaret Tait narrates poem throughout film, beginning "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo made in song from St. Winifred's Well by Gerard Manley Hopkins"...]

This film is a montage of shots translating the written word into a 'film poem'. Shots include woman and man drinking from outdoor tap, women gazing into mirror, children walking in field, teacher at desk, houses in a row, gravestones, church and stained glass, farmer sowing seed, scything, dandelions going to seed, cherubic young children, lambs running along field, c/u hair, choirboys singing outdoors, bird flying in sky, c/u rose, field of wildflowers, man carrying driftwood, child and mother, padlocking a farm gate, church spire, young children running along (6.27)