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Worcester museum helps Les Miserables director dream a dream
SCENES from the awardwinning film Les Miserables were inspired by a visit to an historic house in Worcester, it has been revealed.
Film-makers behind the blockbuster got their inspiration for the big screen version of the much-loved musical by visiting the Commandery museum in Sidbury.
The film’s director, Tom Hooper, and set director, Eve Stewart, visited the former hospital in the summer of 2011 while they were scouting locations for the filming.
Worcestershire museums staff said they spent time in the Commandery’s painted chamber, even getting into the mindset of the patients by lying on heir backs to see the pictures as a 15th-century sick person would have.
Unfortunately, the restrictive size of the room prevented filming a scene there.
Philippa Tinsley, senior curator, said they bought photos of the useum instead.
“They felt the power of the paintings,” she said. “We are very pleased the Commandery has inspired the set of such a major film. We believe the building to be beautiful but it is lovely when others recognise its beauty too, particularly with a room as powerful as the painted chamber.”
After Jo Willis, senior museum learning assistant, watched the film last week, those working at the museum believe the chapel which features in the film was inspired by the painted chamber.
The room, which dates back roughly to the 1480s, is decorated with paintings, including a person on a rack.
Ms Tinsley said: “The painted chamber is a hidden gem, one of very few domestic-sized rooms of mediaeval frescos that survived the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.
"Instead of being destroyed, they were painted over and rediscovered in the 20th century, making a fascinating insight into another world 600 years ago.
“They depict saints who are associated with specific ailments, for example St Roche was believed to have special powers to intercede with God with sufferers of the plague.”
The Commandery is open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm and from 10.30pm until 5pm on Sundays.
Entry is £5.50 for adults, £2.50 for children or free to anyone who pays council tax to Worcester City Council. For more information, visit the website at museumsworcestershire.org.uk.
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