The Man Behind the Masquerade (2009)

Kit Williams holiding the Golden Hare sculpture

Kit Williams and the Golden Hare © BBC and Thane Bruckland

Documentary reuniting Kent born artist Kit Williams with the Golden Hare

Production Company: BBC
In 1979, Kit William’s children’s book ‘Masquerade’ was published. The meticulously illustrated book gave clues to the whereabouts of an object hidden by Kit. This was supposed to be a great treasure in the shape of a jewel encrusted Golden Hare.. It was hidden in a plain ceramic sculpture, also depicting a hare.

The release of the book triggered a publicity storm that saw people digging up gardens and land all over Britain in their quest to find the priceless hare. Consequently, the book was a huge success and the Golden Hare was eventually found in the summer of 1982 by Ken Thomas. The Hare was later sold at auction for £31,900.

Kit was vilified by his fellow artists who felt that his credibility had been tarnished by the hunt for the hare. The BBC Four programme looks at the effect of the book on Kit Williams and his career and includes interviews with the elusive artist, as well as reuniting him with the Golden Hare for the first time in 30 years.

Kit Williams was brought up in Kent and re-visited the county and the locations that inspired him during filming. When Kit lived in Whitstable, he wrote messages on pieces of driftwood before sending them out to sea, a scene dramatised in Littlestone, at the edge the Romney Marsh, another landscape that inspired the young artist. The beautiful church St Thomas A Beckett at Fairfield, as well as Walland Marsh feature in the programme. The Marsh Tableaux were recreated on the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve near Canterbury.

The programme will be aired on BBC Four on Wednesday 2nd December 2009 at 9pm.


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