Dagenham special effects exhibition to showcase models from Jason and the Argonauts

AN EXHIBITION has been launched showcasing films most famous special effects models- including skeletons and the Hydra from Jason and the Argonauts.

The exhibition in Valence House, Dagenham features the work of special effects master Ray Harryhausen.

Harryhausen revolutionised cinema with his pioneering use of stop-motion animation effects and developed some of the most well-known models that have been used in famous films such as Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts and Mysterious Island.

Many of the original models from the Ray Harryhausen Foundation are now on display at Valence House including 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.

Harryhausen was determined to conserve his famous film models and entrusted the help of Alan Friswell, a man from Dagenham who taught himself to make models inspired by the work of the legendary film-maker.

After studying animation at Barking College, Friswell went on to make models for Hollywood films and immediately applied when he saw that Harryhausen was looking for someone to maintain his models.


The exhibition at Valence House and will also feature some Friswell’s work, focusing on the creation of Dinosaur models. Visitors will be able to find out about the dinosaurs that once roamed Barking and Dagenham.

John Walsh, trustee of the Ray Harryhausen Foundation, said: “The exhibition is very nicely mounted and brings Hollywood to Dagenham.

“The models look fantastic in the intimate setting of Valence House and they are the original creatures that have been used in some of the biggest Hollywood films. This is a great opportunity for people to see them.

“We have over 50,000 individual items which is the largest outside of Walt Disney and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are ready to come back with more models in the future.”

Councillor Saima Ashraf, deputy leader and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, said: “This is a fantastic exhibition and once again demonstrates the great work that takes place at Valence House.”

The exhibition runs until June 30, 2018.