Monday, 22 November 2010

Ken Clark's history of British animation

In the eighties Ken Clark, an animator who co-founded the Grasshopper Group, wrote a lengthy history of British animation entitled "The Shadows Move" for Animator magazine (or Animator's Newsletter as it was known at the time). All seven parts are available to view on the Animator website.

The article covers the history of animation in the UK from Dr. Mark Roget’s 1824 paper "Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel seen through vertical apertures" to Richard Williams' still-in-development The Thief and the Cobbler (then being made under its rather ironic title of The Thief Who Never Gave Up); dips into the odd bit of critical commentary (explaining why Anson Dyer's collaborations with Stanley Holloway didn't really work and providing a chunky technical analysis of a few frames from an Animaland cartoon); drops such tidbits as Roger Moore's brief experience in the animation industry as a youngster; and finally concludes on an optimistic note:
The state of the art of British animation has never been so keenly honed as it is today. From humble beginnings it has grown in stature, finding expression in a hundred diverse ways, ably reflecting the many talents of artisans whose skill and zeal may be found imprinted on each and every frame of 35mm animated film. The scope of the genre is only just being realised and exploited. Where it will all lead is a matter for happy speculation.
A number of rare stills are also included; alas, as the magazine was in black and white, these are not always in the best shape.

Part 1: the British pioneers
Part 2: the 1930s
Part 3: the 1940s
Part 4: the story of G.B. Animation
Part 5: the 1950s
Part 6: the rise of TV animation

Part 7: the 1970s


  1. Awwww, the links aren't working!

  2. Hmm - for some reason the entire website vanished shortly after I made this post and can't even be accessed through (although some of it is currently cached by Google). Hopefully it'll return soon.

  3. It's back now; must have been having hosting issues.