Ike visits the Ray Harryhausen exhibition

Geography Cat’s loyal friend Jane kindly took Ike with here when she visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh late last year. There they both enjoyed the Ray Harryhausen exhibition which was in the Modern Two building. You can see the building in the photo below, in the background behind Ike and Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1989 sculpture Master of the Universe. Paolozzi (1924 – 2005) was born in Leith, near Edinburgh. The sculpture is based on an iconic drawing of Isaac Newton by William Blake, and there is a similar but larger sculpture, completed in 1995, on display outside the British Library in London.

Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013) was an American animator and special effects artist perhaps best known for his work in a method of stop-motion animation called dynamation, which was created by Harryhausen himself. This technique was used in many films, most famously Might Joe Young (1949), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason & the Argonauts (1963), and Clash of the Titans (1981). Harryhausen was a pioneer of cinematic special effects in this way, and has inspired many later movie makers.

Ike enjoyed seeing some of the movie posters below:

Prior to his work on feature films, Harryhausen worked on shorter animations such as Little Red Riding Hood (1949), and Hansel & Gretel (1951). Ike was interested to see some of Harryhausen’s sketches for these short films:

Also on display were many of the small heads from The Story of the Tortoise & the Hare, The Story of King Midas, and Little Miss Muffet & Humpty Dumpty. If you’re able to zoom in, you’ll notice the range of expressions on the heads:

Next Ike saw Harryhausen’s models from the film Clash of the Titans:

Ike was already feeling a little nervous, but then he saw some maquettes from the film Jason & the Argonauts:

If you’re not familiar with these films. Ike and Geography Cat recommend you watch this short clip of Talos comingto life after Hercules and Hylas have stolen from the chamber which he guards:

The following models are from First Men on the Moon (1964). Ike was surprised at their level of detail and small scale:

These models are from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977):

As is so often the case, Ike was very grateful for Jane’s local knowledge when she told him that Ray Harryhausen’s wife Diana had very strong ties to Scotland. In fact, she was the great-great-granddaughter of the explorer Dr David Livingstone. Ike remembered seeing an impressive statue of Dr Livingstone when Jane took him to the Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire. This statue had been designed by Ray Harryhausen!