Artists / Ken Russell


The late film director Ken Russell was invited to undertake a residency at Grizedale due to his status as one of the great eccentric creative mavericks, and his sure eye and untroubled drive through success to ultimate commercial failure.

Originally Ken intended to come out to New York for 'Romantic Detachment' to undertake a series of ‘in conversation’ pieces with John Carpenter and Isaac Hayes. Unfortunately he was too ill to make the trip and came on a short visit to Grizedale after the project, undertaking an 'in conversation’ with an awestruck Olivia Plender (not as bald or as low slung as the intended) at Rusland Village Hall, discussing the same subject as intended in the US, the idea of genius.

Ken also took part in the Coniston Water Festival leading the march of Plender’s re-enacted 'Kibbo Kift' through the village, then orchestrating a series of games, and all in the worst possible taste. Olivia desperately wanted Ken to fulfill his early potential, the working class wunderkind of Hugh (Well bred) Weldon; Ken determinedly pursued his Benny Hill personae.

A fond memory of Ken was going to a car boot sale with him as he purchased piles of junk as props for his next film/home movie 'Brave Tart and the Loch Ness Monster'.

Sadly we were unable to cement the perfect collaboration between Ken and Jesse Rae, both feeling the other was overly maverick for fruitful partnership.