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Original Production Animation Drawing of Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," 1991

Original Production Animation Drawing of Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," 1991

Original production animation drawing of Belle in graphite and red pencils from "Beauty and the Beast," 1991, Walt Disney Studios; Numbered B-273 lower right; Production numbers and Property of Walt Disney Pictures stamps lower center; Size - Belle: 3 1/2 x 3", Sheet 12 1/2 x 17"; Unframed.

Belle is the Disney Princess who is featured in the Walt Disney Pictures' 30th animated feature film "Beauty and the Beast" from 1991. The book-loving daughter of an eccentric inventor, Belle is thought of as an outcast by the village townsfolk because of her nonconformity. She sings of longing to abandon her provincial life in exchange for fun and adventure. When her father is imprisoned by the Beast, Belle sacrifices her own freedom in return for his, and eventually learns to love the Beast despite his outward appearance. Belle was voiced by Broadway actress Paige O'Hara.

Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg commissioned "Beauty and the Beast" as an animated musical with a strong heroine, and hired first-time screenwriter Linda Woolverton (the first woman to pen an animated film). The film is loosely based on the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. However, Belle was developed by Woolverton into a stronger and braver character for the film. Inspired by the women's rights movement, Woolverton wanted Belle to be very different from "The Little Mermaid's" Ariel. The character would be a staunch individual and a feminist. Belle's fearlessness and love of reading were inspired by actress Katharine Hepburn's portrayal of Jo March in the film "Little Women" from 1933. The writers for the film developed the character by giving her aspirations beyond simply marriage and romance, and the result was a much more complicated Princess than those proceeding her. Animated by James Baxter and Mark Henn, who based the character's graceful mannerisms on artist Edgar Degas' paintings of ballerinas. Belle's European facial features were inspired by two of Hollywoods most iconic British actresses, Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn. This is wonderful full figure drawing of Belle, sitting on the ground and doing what she loves most- reading. Both her eyes and mouth are open, and she is rendered in graphite and red pencils with extensive paint and ink notations throughout. A simply beautiful drawing of one of the last great Disney Princesses, and a great addition to any animation art collection!

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