On 10 March 2018, an exhibition will open at Valence House featuring many original models from the The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation (Charity No. SC001419), made famous in films such as Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans, and Mysterious Island. Models on display will include Gwangi the Tyrannosaurus, Lope and the Ornithomimus from The Valley of Gwangi, skeletons and the Hydra from Jason and the Argonauts and Pegasus the winged horse, Bubo the owl and Medusa the gorgon from Clash of the Titans. These will be accompanied by original sketches made by Ray Harryhausen of scenes from the films. Also included in the Harryhausen material will be several dinosaurs such as a Styracosaurus and a Ceratosaurus, as well as an Eohippus.
The exhibition has been inspired by the work of Alan Friswell, a man from Dagenham who taught himself to make models of animals. Alan had always been inspired by the work of Ray Harryhausen, and after studying animation at Barking College, he went on to make models for Hollywood films. When Alan saw that Ray Harryhausen was looking for someone to conserve his famous film models, he knew that he was the only man for the job. At his interview, Ray gave Alan the model of Lope, the boy from The Valley of Gwangi to conserve as a test of his skills. Happy with his work, and sensing a rapport between them, Ray commissioned Alan to conserve the models from his many films. Some of Harryhausen models on display are those which Alan has worked on.
This exhibition will highlight some of Alan’s work, focussing on his creation of Dinosaur models. Visitors will be able to find out about the dinosaurs that once roamed Barking and Dagenham.
The exhibition runs until 30 June 2018.