Last Friday saw the 50th anniversary of James Bond’s first cinematic outing in Dr. No. Then, at the end of the month, we’ll be seeing Sam Mendes effort with the release of Bond 23 – Skyfall. Following that there’s the anniversary of James Bond himself, when Fleming’s first Bond book Casino Royal turns 60 later next year. All-in-all, Bond-fever has hit and it’s hit hard.
All this has reminded me of these excellent paintings by the British painter James Hart Dyke. Depicting images from inside MI6, the project came about when Hart Dyke was invited by the British Secret Intelligence Service to mark their centenary (in 2009) with a series of paintings. Hart Dyke had to work under strict conditions of secrecy and was apparently extensively vetted before being selected for the project.
The resulting work is fantastic. Capturing a strange and murky world, they’re the types of images you’d hope that the life of an MI6 spy would resemble. Their blurred, washed-out aesthetic is unglamorous, unromantic and raw. There’s something mysterious in the hazy world that Hart Dyke paints and I love it. You can view the complete set of paintings online here.