Alma Coles

Alma Coles, ink and paint artist, Animal Farm (1954). Coles is at her desk working on pen and ink drawings of Snowball the pig. Animal Farm was the first postwar animation feature made in Britain.

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Carmen Dillon

Carmen Dillon, art director, at work in her studio in 1949. Dillon is acknowledged as the first female art director to work at a British film studio.

Julie Harris

Julie Harris, costume designer, photographed by George Courtney Ward in 1956. She later worked on a number of Beatles and James Bond films, winning the Oscar for best costume design for the swinging 60s classic Darling in 1966.

Muriel Box on set
© The Rank Organisation, courtesy of the BFI National Archive

Muriel Box, screenwriter and director, The Truth about Women (1957). Box directed 16 films between 1941 and 1961.

Wendy Toye

Wendy Toye, director, ‘In the Picture’, one of the three segments of Three Cases of Murder (1955). Toye directed nine British films, getting an Oscar nomination for her short film On the Twelfth Day… (1955).

Anne V. Coates

Anne V. Coates, editor, To Paris with Love (1955), photographed by Ian Jeayes. In 1963 she won the best editing Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia.

Connie Reeve

Connie Reeve, makeup artist, The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), photographed by Bert Cann. Reeve was a pioneer makeup artist who worked on several Technicolor films for Powell and Pressburger.


The photographs in this gallery are all from original works drawn from the BFI National Archive’s Special Collections, a world-class resource for understanding the art, history and impact of moving image in Britain. 

The BFI National Archive, John Paul Getty Jnr Conservation Centre in Berkhamsted will be open to the public on Sunday 16 September as part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days. Opening times and further info.