Iconic Disney animation cels uncovered in county

A house in Spalding where three men died after fire ripped through it is to be auctioned off for at least �50,000.  Photo supplied.
A house in Spalding where three men died after fire ripped through it is to be auctioned off for at least �50,000. Photo supplied.

Colourful Walt Disney animation cels - unearthed in Rutland and used in 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - have sold for thousands of pounds at auction.

The hand painted cels were created for what was a ground-breaking feature film back in 1937 and included the famous image of the Wicked Witch handing the poisoned apple to Snow White.

They were brought into an auction run by Hansons Auctioneers at The Blue Ball in Braunston by someone from the county, who has asked to remain anonymous.

The witch cel sold for £10,500 at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire and another image showing Snow White surrounded by animals went under the hammer for £5,600.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “The cels were brought into one of Hansons’ regular valuation days at The Blue Ball, in Braunston, Rutland.

“Marc Allum, a miscellaneous specialist on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and consultant for Hansons, was valuing for us that day and immediately spotted their great importance.”

Marc added: “I knew I was looking at some classic pieces of cinematic history. The Wicked Witch handing Snow White the apple is iconic – lovely to handle!”

Mr Hanson added: “The people who bought these cels now own an incredible piece of movie history. The Wicked Witch cel is arguably the film’s most celebrated moment.”

When Snow White premiered it was a critical and commercial success, ushering in the golden age of animation.

It cost $1.4 million to make and was briefly the highest grossing film of all time.

Mr Hanson said: “In 1937 Walt Disney and his staff of animators revolutionised the industry with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney’s first animated film.

“Never before had animators tackled animating the human form convincingly, let alone attempted to entertain an audience with animation for the entire length of a feature 
film.”

“The two cels came to us in their period frames, unopened and complete with provenance and original gallery labels.

“They were originally sold in an exhibition of the original paintings for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was held at Leicester Galleries, Leicester Square, London, in December 1938 with the firm Ernest Brown and Philips Ltd.”

“The owner of the cels inherited them and we believe they were bought at the original exhibition in the late 1930s.”

The cels were sold at Hansons’ Summer Jewellery and Fine Art Auction on Saturday, July 1.

Marc Allum will be valuing antiques for Hansons Auctioneers at The William Cecil in High Street St Martin’s in Stamford on Tuesday, between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

He will also be at The Rutland Antiques Centre, Crown Passage in Uppingham, on July 25, again between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

To find out more, call 01283 733988 or visit www.hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.