Sir Christopher John Frayling (born 25 December 1946) is a British educationalist and writer, known for his study of popular culture.
Frayling read history at Churchill College, Cambridge and gained a PhD in the study of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He was appointed a Fellow of the college in 2009. He taught history at the University of Bath and was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Arts) from that University in 2003. In 1979 Frayling was appointed Professor of Cultural History at London's post-graduate art and design school, the Royal College of Art. Frayling was Rector in charge of the Royal College of Art from 1996 to 2009.
He was the Chairman of Arts Council England from 2005 until January 2009. He also served as Chairman of the Design Council, Chairman of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, and a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was a governor of the British Film Institute in the 1980s.
He has had a wide output as a writer and critic on subjects ranging from vampires to westerns. He has written and presented television series such as The Art of Persuasion on advertising and Strange Landscape on the Middle Ages. He has conducted a series of radio and television interviews with figures from the world of film, including Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, Ken Adam, Francis Ford Coppola and Clint Eastwood. He has written and presented several television series, including The Face of Tutankhamun and Nightmare: Birth of Horror.
He studied spaghetti westerns and specifically director Sergio Leone. He has written a very popular biography of Leone, Something To Do With Death (2000); helped run the Los Angeles-based Gene Autry Museum's exhibit on Leone in 2005; and appeared in numerous documentaries about Leone and his films, particularly the DVD documentaries of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He also provided audio commentaries for the special edition DVD releases of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Colossus of Rhodes.
In 2001, he was awarded a knighthood for "Services to Art and Design Education" and chose as his motto "PERGE SCELUS MIHI DIEM PERFICIAS", which can be translated as "Proceed, varlet, and let the day be rendered perfect for my benefit". That is, 'Go ahead, punk, make my day'.
- Napoleon Wrote Fiction (1972)
- Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula (1978, revised 1992)
- Nightmare: Birth of Horror (1996)
- The Face of Tutankhamun (1992)
- Strange Landscape: Journey Through the Middle Ages (1995)
- Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone (1981)
- American Westerners (1984)
- Clint Eastwood (1992)
- Things to Come (1995)
- Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death (2000)
- Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema (2005)
- Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in Italy (2005)
- Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design (2005)
- The Royal College of Art: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Art and Design (1987)
- Design of the Times: One Hundred Years of the Royal College of Art (1996)
- The Art Pack (1998)
List of audio commentaries
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- Duck, You Sucker!
- A Fistful of Dollars
- For a Few Dollars More
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- The Innocents – his commentary is only featured on the UK region 2 BFI DVD and Blu-ray, along with a featurette he presents
- The Magnificent Seven – his commentary is only featured on the US region 1, 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD, along with a featurette he presents
- Once Upon a Time in the West, with directors John Carpenter, John Milius, and Alex Cox, film historian Dr. Sheldon Hall, and other participants
- Guardian profile
- Frayling on BBC Desert Island Discs
- Interview (02/2008)
- Interview (05/2004)
- Interview (02/2002)
- Interview (10/1997)
- Interview (10/1997)
- The Frayling Coat of Arms
|Chair of Arts Council England
Dame Liz Forgan