Remembering Tony Pritchett

Tony Prichett with camera, Somerset House 2008

I was saddened to hear of the death of Tony Pritchett in August this year.  For those who don’t know, Tony created The Flexipede in 1967, the first fully surviving work of computer animation created in Britain.  I first met Tony in 2002 and he was always supportive of my research into the history of computer arts in Britain, never losing patience with my often limited grasp at that time of the technical aspects of the subject.  I asked him how he came to create the Flexipede and why.  After giving a detailed explanation, I then asked him who he had told this story to and where it was published, thinking I would look up some more aspects later.  He replied that “no one has ever asked me before” !  This I found astonishing – the man who created the first British computer-generated animation should by rights be a household name nearly 30 years later.  I feel enormously privileged to be one of the first to finally publish his story, which you can read in chapter 9 of The Computer in the Art Room.

Tony Prichett, still from The Flexipede, 1967

Tony loved filmmaking, often making recordings and videos of Computer Arts Society events, lectures and parties.  I remember him filming me giving a speech at the book launch of The Computer in the Art Room at Somerset House in 2008.  He was an early member of the CAS and could always be counted on for support and enthusiasm.  It was typical of his kindness in supporting me at the Bits in Motion film screening I held at the NFT in 2006 (below).  In addition to his computer arts activities, he told me he was interested in homeopathy and edited Positive News at one time.   A very cultured and considerate gentleman, who will be greatly missed.

Malcolm LeGrice, Tony Pritchett & Nina Emmett, panel members at Bits in Motion, NFT 2006

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