From clocks and vases to ornate snuff boxes, explore the magic of Disney alongside the exquisite 18th-century French art that inspired it.

American pioneer of the animated film industry, Walt Disney was fascinated by France and French culture – this exhibition explores how many of the films made at Walt Disney Animation Studios were inspired by French decorative art in the 18th-century, creating some of the most memorable characters and architecture in fairytale history.

Hand-drawn animations will sit alongside fine porcelain and furniture from the French Rococo movement, revealing the enchanting connections between these two artistic time periods and their respective pioneers. The artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios and those working in 18th-century France were both aiming for the same goal – to bring the inanimate to life.

Over 120 examples of production artwork and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library and Walt Disney Archives will be on display, plus 30 exquisite 18th-century works. Highlights include Jean-Honoré Fragonard stunning oil painting The Swing (1767), which inspired elements of Beauty and the Beast (1991), Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013), and imaginative architecture in Disney inspired by the likes of Versailles and the Loire Valley. Plus, see two pairs of stunning Sèvres turret vases (the only two in the world).

Other parts of the exhibition are dedicated to the groundbreaking women artists, such as Bianca Majolie and Mary Blair, who were key to creating the characters and vibrancy of films such as Cinderella (1950), plus material from Walt Disney’s inspirational trips to France and discovery of French culture.

Explore how wit, humour, creativity and invention were key to both the French 18th-cenutury Rococo artists and the creative innovators of Walt Disney in the 20th century.

Film & videoDecorative artsPrints & drawingsLondon


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