11 December 2019
HISTORY OF CINEMA. Animal Farm (1954), an animation archive from the Halas and Batchelor studios, [c.1954]
The British animation company Halas and Batchelor played a central role in the history of 20th-century cinema, the studio’s relevance extended beyond the British domestic market – the viewing public for whom John Halas and Joy Batchelor first started producing war information and propaganda films in 1940 – into the international sphere. The 1954 film Animal Farm is Halas and Batchelor’s best-known work: generally acknowledged to be the first British animated feature film (two earlier war films produced by the studio did not receive a cinema release), it was famously funded by the C.I.A. as part of the American anti-Communist effort during the Cold War.
The present archive represents the most important collection in private hands of animation artwork for Animal Farm: Britain’s first animated feature film, famously funded by the C.I.A.
Animation art from the making of the 1954 film, including 38 cels over painted backgrounds and a further 18 loose cels, eight painted backgrounds, three series of character cells with paired pencil underdrawings (62 in total) and two series of pencil underdrawings (8 in total), altogether spanning almost the entire duration of the film and featuring all the central characters, in a variety of sizes and formats.
Harold Whitacker (1920-2013). Original illustrations for the Animal Farm strip cartoon, ink and blue crayon with Tip-Ex to highlight, 172 scenes on 26 boards (380 x 540mm), some emendations on added paper slips.
[With:] a small quantity of miscellaneous material, chiefly cels and painted backgrounds for Piping Hot, a 1960 promotional film produced by Halas and Batchelor for the Gas Council. Approximately 13 items.
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