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The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)

Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends ... See full summary »




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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
R Neville / Mr Neville
Virginia Herbert / Mrs Herbert
Anne-Louise Lambert ...
Mrs. Talmann (as Anne Louise Lambert)
Mr Talmann
Neil Cunningham ...
Thomas Noyes / Mr Noyes
Dave Hill ...
Mr Herbert
Mr Seymour
David Meyer ...
The Poulencs
Tony Meyer ...
The Poulencs
Mr Parkes (as Nicolas Amer)
Mrs Pierpont
Mrs Clement (as Lynda Marchal)
The Statue
Philip (as Alastair Cumming)
Steve Ubels ...
Mr. van Hoyten


Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert. Written by Paul Kevin Harm <pkharm@papyrus-inc.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A landscape of lust and cunning. [Video Australia]


Comedy | Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

30 June 1983 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

El contrato del dibujante  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£320,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The moated manor house and estate including its maze and gardens featured in the film as the picture's central locale is known in real life as "Groombridge Place" and "Groombridge Place Garden". It is situated near Tunbridge Wells in the village of Groombridge in the English county of Kent in England. The film though is set not in Kent but in a rural region of the county of Wiltshire in England. See more »


The cooing of a collared dove is not a sound that would have fallen on Jacobean ears, as the species was unknown in Britain until 1955. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Noyes: Mr. Chandos was a man who spent more time with his gardener than his wife. They discussed plum trees - ad nauseam. He gave his family and his tennants cause to dread September, for they were regaled with plums till their guts rumbled like thunder and their backsides ached from overuse. He built the chapel at Fouvant, where the pew seats are made of plumwood, so the tennants still have cause to remember Chandos through their backsides - on account of the splinters.
See more »


Referenced in The Serpent's Kiss (1997) See more »


Eye For Optical Theory
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by Nyman Band
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User Reviews

Can Mathematics Be Erotic?
20 October 2005 | by (North Carolina, United States) – See all my reviews

Hugely enjoyable, if somewhat a tad too clever for its own good. A very good English director's attempt to be more continental, by being deliberately obscure, and throwing in large dollops of raunchy eroticism. Imagine if you will an episode of PBS's Mystery set during the Restoration, with a script by Einstein, and direction by Frederico Fellini.

Two excellent stage actors - Anthony Higgins and Janet Suzman - in combination with the very sultry and seldom seen Australian actress Anne Louise Lambert, act their sexy sox off in this delightful delicate pastry of a movie. In the year 1694 an artist is commissioned to create a series of precise drawings of an enormous country house. The twist is that his agreed form of payment is most unusual.

Michael Nyman's score is a careful, yet loud, modern arrangement with contemporary wind and string instruments. The photography by Curtis Clark is incredible, and these two creative artists convince you, you are in the 17th Century. The interior scenes are lit only by candlelight - as was also the case in Kubrick's superb historical masterpiece Barry Lyndon. This movie somehow combines elements of sophisticated themes of woman's self-empowerment, the inhumanity of the aristocracy, mathematics, and Benny Hill eroticism. Really rather wonderful and unique, but also in-retrospect, less than the sum of its parts. For a superior Peter Greenaway picture, try Drowning By Numbers, A Zed and Two Naughts, and The Cook, the Wife, etc..

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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