Peter Ellenshaw Biography

Peter Ellenshaw

Peter Ellenshaw

Born 1913
Birthplace London

Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007), whose artistic career spanned more than seven decades, was considered the premier seascape and landscape artist of his generation. He was also a legendary motion picture art director and won an Academy Award for special effects created for the Disney film Mary Poppins.

Born in London, Ellenshaw was fortunate enough in his early 20s to get a job as an apprentice to W. Percy Day, O.B.E., the British film industry's foremost special effects artist and matte painter. Day took Peter under his wing, working on such classics as Things to Come, The Thief of Baghdad and Black Narcissus.

After serving in World War II as a pilot for the Royal Air Force, Ellenshaw returned to the film industry as a matte artist for MGM's Quo Vadis. In the late 1940s Walt Disney approached Peter Ellenshaw to work on the studio's first live action feature, Treasure Island. Thus began a professional collaboration and friendship which lasted over 30 years and 34 films that earned him 5 Oscar nominations icon status in the art world.