The Spirit of Elsa, 2005


Limited edition print publication date: April 2005

Edition size: 1250 copies + 125 artist proofs

Published price: £70

Still available at published price

Also released as a box canvas in 2005

Edition size: 150 copies + 15 artist proofs

Published price: £150

Maximum known secondary market price reached: £320

Gary says “In the autumn of 2004 I received a life-changing telephone call. It was from the Born Free Foundation asking me if I would be able to create a special drawing for their landmark occasion; 21 years of compassionate campaigning and protecting Wildlife. I leapt at the chance. I have had a fantastic relationship with the charity since 1989 and was honoured to accept their offer. Now, I thought, the hard bit, the drawing!

“I almost always use my own photographs as the main references for my drawing, but on this occasion I couldn’t. My subject, Elsa the World famous Lioness as portrayed in the 1960s iconic BORN FREE film had died when I was a small child. So I had to use other peoples’ rather grainy, 1960s style photos.

“As an aid, I played the film’s theme tune, ‘Born Free’, on repeat whilst creating my drawing. The song, by my dear Aunt Joan’s favourite, Matt Monro, conjured up many memories of my childhood, family and friends. To add a modern twist to the equation, I also regularly played a beautiful new acoustic version by a favourite of mine, Kiki Dee. Blending those with my profound memories of the film as a child, the drawing seemed to draw itself. I don’t know just how many times I played the song on repeat but I’m happy to say I still love it. I feel The spirit of Elsa has a touch of innocent, child-like quality to it.

“It took five intense but rewarding weeks to complete. Some days I drew for eleven hours, something I hadn’t done for many years.


“I am particularly pleased with the look in Elsa’s eyes which I feel reflects Born Free’s compassionate ethos. I don’t think it’s one of my best drawings but I do love the ethereal feel.        

“I’m proud to say, The spirit of Elsa prints have so far raised over £28,000 to help Born Free continue their great work. The print is in loving tribute to Bill Travers, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation and star of the film Born Free.”

PREVIOUS                                                                                            NEXT


                                                    All images on this website © Gary Hodges 2013 unless otherwise stated.
  Site Map