We start with an immersive journey into the life and art of Venice's famous view-painter Canaletto. The film also offers the chance to step inside two official royal residences - Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - to learn more about the artist and Joseph Smith, the man who introduced Canaletto to Britain. The programme visits some of the sites immortalised in Canaletto's views, from the Rialto Bridge to the Piazza San Marco, and the Palazzo Ducale to the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Featuring contributions from Royal Collection curators and the world's leading experts in Venetian history.
Monet, Cezanne, Degas and Renoir are some of the world's most popular artists. Their works, and that of their contemporaries, fetch tens of millions of dollars around the globe. Who were they and how exactly did they paint? To help answer these questions, this film focuses on the man credited with inventing impressionism as we know it - 19th-century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel. It was his brave decision to back these radical artists and then, on the verge of bankruptcy, to exhibit them in New York in 1886 that created impressionism as we know it. Thanks to his sales to enlightened wealthy Americans that subsequently filled US galleries with impressionist masterworks, Durand-Ruel kept impressionism alive at a time when it faced complete failure. This film tells his remarkable story, along with that of the impressionists themselves.
Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin visit an island in Norway, spending two days in a house built on a footprint of just 100 square metres. In Spain, the pair head to a home built into a steep cliff face overlooking the Mediterranean, featuring a cantilevered terrace offering maximum sea views and a swimming pool as well as an unusual tiled roof. After viewing a house in New Zealand crafted from two separate wooden cladded structures, the duo explore a home in Canada inspired by two ships in dry dock, designed to peer over the coast, allowing the sea to pass underneath.