Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010
Animal Farm artist, Harold Whitaker, lives in Stroud

Harold Whitaker
Harold Whitaker was one of the artists on the 1954 film 'Animal Farm'.

The animated feature film 'Animal Farm' is a classic of British cinema.

It was the first ever full-length animated feature to be made in Britain that was released worldwide.

The 1954 film was based on the book of the same name by George Orwell, and featured a whole host of memorable characters, including Napoleon and Snowball the pigs, Boxer the horse and Mr Jones the drunken farmer.

It took around four years to complete and was made by Halas & Batchelor at their studios in London and Stroud.

One of the animators on the project was Harold Whitaker who still lives in the Gloucestershire town.

Artwork from Animal Farm
Artwork showing one of the film's most famous quotations

Harold had previously worked for the animator Anson Dyer at Stratford Abbey.

He was recruited, along with other Anson Dyer staff, by John Halas (of Halas & Batchelor) to work on the Animal Farm project.

Now aged 89, Harold has fond memories of his time working for Halas & Batchelor.

"We had an animation section in Stroud. Most of the animation - three quarters of it - was done in London.

"Tracing and painting was done in London, but colouring, painting and photography was done in Stroud.

"[Artwork] was continually shuttled on the railway, which was very good in those days.

"You could send stuff 'red star' any time of the day or night and get your rushes back the following morning and pick the stuff up after an hour or so.

"It worked very nicely for the 18 months that the film was being made."

After Animal Farm was completed the Stroud studio blossomed even further.

Harold went on to make further films, including Popeye the Sailor, Asterix and The Lone Ranger.

The Halas & Batchelor studio in Stroud finally closed down in 1995 after the death of John Halas.

In pictures: Animal Farm
04 Jan 10 |  Arts & Culture
Animal Farm rankles the West Bank
28 Mar 09 |  Middle East
Orwell's letters sell for 84,000
24 Mar 09 |  Suffolk

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific