John Craxton – A Life Of Gifts


The painter John Craxton was born into a famous musical family in 1922, and although he had a lifelong love of music, his passion and genius was an artist. In his late teens, he and his best friend Lucian Freud attained much early success. But his subsequent move to Greece and finally to Crete, where he lived for many years, removed him from the London art scene and his work became somewhat overlooked. His relationship with Freud soured in later life, but his unrepressed homosexuality and deep relationships with women such as Lee Miller and Margot Fonteyn made his life gloriously colourful. And his paintings reflected this, particularly after his move to Crete, where vibrant colour and vivid action are expressed in a fashion that elevates Craxton to the first rank of twentieth-century English artists.

This film, inspired by the eponymous book by Ian Collins, published in the centenary year focuses attention back to this great artist and life-loving character.


Watch now on The Arts Channel available standalone or as part of the subscription package.


A film by Tony Britten. ©2022

Includes contributions from:

Tacita Dean, Nicholas Daniel, Sir David Attenborough,

and Stephen Fry as the voice of John Craxton

79’ and 58’ versions