Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874–1961)

British photographer and early filmmaker, carved his name in the hall of fame thanks to his groundbreaking and pioneering work in stop-motion animation.

Arthur Melbourne Cooper

A true pioneer of early British filmmaking, Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (15 April 1874 – 28 November 1961) began his life in pictures at his father’s photographic business in the Hertfordshire cathedral city of St Albans. Keen to branch out into moving images, he established his own studios in St Albans.

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life and works

Between 1896 and 1915, Melbourne-Cooper made approximately 300 films, mostly for his own Alpha Trading Company (1901-1915).

His output ranged from actualities and topicals to industrial documentaries and live-action comedy and drama. He is best known for his use of stop-motion animation.

During the First World War, he managed a department of an advertising agency, making a number of animated advertisements. Following his retirement in 1940, Melbourne-Cooper moved to Cambridgeshire where he died in 1961.

Dreams of Toyland

He produced over three hundred films. About 36 were all or in part animated. These include Dreams of Toyland (1908) and according to some sources Dolly’s Toys(1901), as well as Matches: An Appeal (1899), which marks the birth of animation.

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