Ellenshaw, whose artistic career spans more than six decades,
is a renowned landscape artist, motion picture art director,
Academy Awardâ winning special effects artist and official Disney
was born in Great Britain in 1913. A neighbor, Walter Percy
Day, O.B.E., a famous matte artist of his time, discovered Ellenshaw's
talent and took him on as an assistant. Mattes are realistic
paintings done on glass, against which films of actors and other
parts of the set are projected; then both painting and film
are re-photographed to create a new,
1947, his work caught the attention of an art director for the
Walt Disney Studios. Disney was in the pre-planning stages of
his very first live-action film, Treasure Island, which
would be produced in Great Britain and the art director inquired
if Ellenshaw would be interested in the project. Thus began
a professional collaboration and friendship with Walt Disney
that would span over 30 years and 34 films.
regarded Walt Disney as a source of inspiration, a wonderful
executive, and over the years, a good friend. "Walt had the
ability to communicate with artists," recalls Ellenshaw. "He'd
talk to you on your level - artist to artist. He used to say,
'I can't draw, Peter.' But he had the soul of an artist, and
he had a wonderful way of transferring his enthusiasm to you."
1953 the Ellenshaws moved from Great Britain to the United States
where Peter began working full-time for the Walt Disney Studios.
Ellenshaw maintained his identity as a traditional landscape
artist during his Disney years and always found time evenings
and weekends to work on his own canvases.
One of Ellenshaw's first Disney projects upon his arrival at
the Studio was to create a conceptual rendering of something
called "Disneyland." Ellenshaw went to work painting an aerial
view of the proposed park on a 4' x 8' piece of fiberboard.
The painting was then used by Walt Disney to help introduce
television audiences to his new project, while simultaneously
using the painting to attract backers on this exciting new concept
in outdoor entertainment.
In 1964 Ellenshaw won the Best Special Visual Effects Academy
Award for his astounding matte work in Walt Disney's beloved
live-action musical-fantasy Mary Poppins. Not only did
Ellenshaw create the beautiful vistas of Victorian London, he
was also responsible for giving inspiration to the creation
of the rousing rooftop dance of the chimney sweeps in the lively
"Step in Time" sequence.
his amazing film career, Ellenshaw has been nominated for four
1993, Ellenshaw was officially designated a "Disney Legend"
by The Walt Disney Company during a ceremony at The Walt Disney
Studios officiated by Michael D. Eisner and Roy E. Disney.