Toy Tales (09.07.10)
This week, The Hound made an 1100mile round-trip to
amongst other things, he took in the opening night of
a brand new
animation exhibition at The
Cartoon Museum, in Little Russell Street.
Toy Tales features a collection of production artwork
from some of the UK's most famous animated productions,
centerpiece being a mouthwatering collection of wonders from
SmallFilms stable, and as you can imagine, 'twas a joy to
Visitors are welcomed by an amazing Clangers
set display, with our
pink piping pals presented on their moon, gathered around
Yep. Clangers. And a skyboat. In a real life, just as
they were during
the original production, right before your eyes. And if you
your eyes away from that, there's an equally thrilling display
close by, wherein sits Bagpuss,
the original sagpuss, baggy
and yearning for you give him the very biggest hug.
also some framed setups from Ivor
the Engine that are of equal
and unbridled delight. Their muted colours, painted on board,
immediately transport you to that oh-so-grey, but
imaginary corner of Wales.
© Oliver Postgate and
But although it's these first exhibits that will draw the
comment, The Hound found himself even more dazzled
by the stunning selection of artwork from Noggin
the Nog that follows
on from them. These are pure gold. Great brooding seascapes,
and roiling grey skies suck the viewer in to that weathered
realm. Here are the Nogs on their boat, riding the storm-lashed
seas. And here they are again, in a cave, with their torches
lighting up the dark. The artwork has an internal glow
illuminates the viewer. Oh, why aren't there prints
The exhibition moves on to still more SmallFilms in
the shape of
some behind-the-scenes Pogles
photos before allowing other UK
studios and creators to take the stage. Thus we have
wobbling wonderful Roobarb
originals from Bob Godfrey, followed
by some Morph
art, and some Wallace & Gromit prints and comic
art, there are a couple of DangerMouse
cels, items from
The Snowman and Father
Christmas and several cels from
"Famous Fred", Keith Chapman's original character
for Bob the Builder,
and a script-to-film look at Peppa Pig.
and squeezed in amongst all this is a glorious display
containing the indomitable, boom-booming brilliance of an
original Basil Brush
- Well, he-llo!
As for the whole opening night experience, it has to
be said it
was hot, although not altogether in the best of ways.
been in the grip of a relentless, sweltering heatwave
the Museum was stifling. There were cartoonists, animators
hangers-on alike wafting the oxygen-free air with whatever
they had to hand, and The Hound was soon completely overheated.
He was just making a bid for the exit in search of some relief,
the museum founder, Oliver
Preston jumped up on a table right in
in front of him and welcomed the night's most special
No, not me, silly. It was the great Peter Firmin himself.
moments later he was on the same low table, Clanger
in hand, inches away from The Hound as he recounted his
small endeavours in that Kentish barn and how strange it
that he had come
to pass in to the annals of our animation
history. What a sweet sweaty thrill!
Toy Tales, too, is a thrill. It inhabits quite a small
space, but there
are still over 100 items on display. And, yes, you can
that it's highlighting just a few family favourites
whilst omitting great
chunks of our animated history. But who cares? It's
simply a joy to
see this kind of material up close. Plus there are the permanent
gallery delights to savour alongside this temporary
wonderful prints from Hogarth and Gillray, Ronald
Steve Bell, Jak and so many more.
Toy Tales runs at The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street,
London WC1A 2HH from 7th July to 5th September 2010. The
museum itself is dedicated to preserving the best of
caricatures, comics and animation, and it's always worth
when you're in town...
The Cartoon Museum