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Ray Harryhausen Returns to Bradford
Concept drawing for the skeleton fight scene. Jason and the Argonauts, Columbia Picture Industries Inc. Ray Harryhausen, 1963. Courtesy of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.

LONDON, ENGLAND.- Tony Dalton, co–author of Ray Harryhausen, An Animated Life and The Art of Ray Harryhausen will deliver the 2006 Lumière Lecture. Tony will give a brief overview of the master stop-motion animator's 60-year career which will be followed by an illustrated on-stage interview with Ray Harryhausen himself. Ray Harryhausen is the renowned creator of special effects for films such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Jason and the Argonauts . He is widely admired by filmmakers and audiences alike for his imaginative, groundbreaking animation work.

The Museum's new exhibition looks at the imagination and research that went into conceiving the fantastic creatures that populate Harryhausen's films, and the sources of his inspiration, ranging from Willis O'Brien - the creator of King Kong - to the prehistoric animal paintings of Charles R Knight and the work of 18th and 19th century artists whose subjects were drawn from the Bible and the Classical world.

The majority of Harryhausen's films started with him drawing key scenes and characters in order to interest a studio in backing the project. Only then would a script be written and Harryhausen begin to design, sculpt and make the animated models. Throughout this process, Harryhausen would develop his ideas by making technical drawings of his models and producing storyboards that showed shot-by-shot how scenes in the film would look on screen.

The exhibition presents Harryhausen's drawings, tracing his career from his early fairytale films, through the ‘monster' movies of the 1950s and 1960s to his large-scale features based on the Arabian Nights and Greek and Roman myths. It includes many key models, such as the Kraken and Medusa (from Clash of the Titans) Gwangi (from The Valley of Gwangi) and the Minaton (from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger) as well as Harryhausen's bronze sculptures based on his original animated models.

Harryhausen's work is shown in the context of the work of those who inspired and influenced him – the drawings of Hollywood art directors of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Byron Crabbe and Mario Larrinaga, his mentor, animator Willis O'Brien, the natural history painter Charles R Knight and 18th and 19th century artists such as Michael Joseph Gandy, John Martin and Gustav Doré. His work can thus be appreciated as part of a wider cultural tradition.

The Museum is showing a season of Harryhausen's films, as weekend matinees during the run of the exhibition. Ray Harryhausen will be here with Tony Dalton, the co-author of his two recent books Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life and The Art of Ray Harryhausen (both published by Aurum Press) to give this year's Lumière Lecture on 3 September.

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