The rarest of the Carl Barks studies produced by Connoisseur as part of the ‘Another Rainbow’ series was Scrooge McDuck’s limousine. It is by far the largest of their Disney pieces, being a full 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and 14” (35.5 cm) wide … and that is not including the massive hardwood display table upon which it rests.
The sculpture, designed by Richard Sefton, is adapted from an illustration at the end of the Barks late-1940s story Trail of the Unicorn which was later reprinted by Fantagraphics Press as part of their Complete Carl Barks Disney Library series. (The image below is a photograph of a review or advertisement of unknown origin for the Fantagraphics book.)
In this story Donald Duck has been offered a $10,000 reward by his Uncle Scrooge to travel to the Himalayas and bring back the only animal missing from Scrooge’s zoo: a unicorn. The party ends up including nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie as well as Donald’s ever-conniving cousin Gladstone Gander.
The Connoisseur of Malvern studio worked closely, as always, with Mr. Barks during the design and production of the sculpture. Although it was intended as an extremely limited retail edition – probably no more than five – it appears that even fewer were actually produced. The first (#1) was given to Carl Barks, as were all of the other #1 pieces in that series, and there is also a proof piece in storage in the UK.
The photo above, courtesy of Martyn Lewis, shows the #1 sculpture while still in mid-production; although all of the elements are in place, the painting and gilding have not yet been completed. This front license plate says “Carl Barks”, although on subsequent sculptures it is “McDuck”. Also in the photo are Richard Sefton and the artist (Tracey) who painted this first retail piece.
I have been unable to confirm whether the actual name of the sculpture was indeed Trail of the Unicorn but, considering that all of the other Connoisseur/Barks/Another Rainbow studies were named after the story upon which the original painting or illustration was based, I believe it probably was.
The photographs below appear through the courtesy of a private collector.
Scrooge McDuck employed various chauffeurs throughout the years; some were ducks and others were dogs. In those stories the chauffeur wore a traditional uniform and cap; however, in the illustration and sculpture the drivers wear an adaptation of a Grenadier Guards bearskin and tunic. Because in the original illustration the limousine belonged to Donald (it has a D.D. monogram on the side) it makes sense that these retainers were depicted differently by Barks than the ones he drew for Scrooge.
Although in the original Barks illustration only Donald appears in the back seat, here he is joined by Uncle Scrooge, because in the Barks/Connoisseur sculpture the vehicle is not portrayed as belonging to Donald.
The trunk/boot of the limo bears the logos of Another Rainbow, Carl Barks, and Disney. (The Connoisseur of Malvern name did not appear on any of the actual pieces in that series; however, they were identified within the accompanying literature for each piece.) And naturally this very large and luxurious limousine is the “Roadhog V24” model!
The limousine was sold with, and is attached to the top of, this specially designed solid wood table base. It is more than 6 ft (almost 2 meters) long and 3 ft high; this must have been a monumental (no pun intended!) challenge to pack for overseas shipment. One can only imagine the weight….
At this time I do not know what the original retail price in US$ was, but will update this information should I discover it. Many thanks to the private collector who generously made the above photos available for inclusion in the Connoisseur of Malvern Archive!
Update, March 2021: A white version of the limousine has come to light. It’s not known if more than one was made in this color.
Photos are courtesy of Heritage Auctions (HA.com) who will be offering this piece for sale – or has sold it, depending on when you are reading this – next month.
I absolutely love the crest on the side of this version: E pluribus keepum, which is a perfect motto for Uncle Scrooge!
Images of Connoisseur of Malvern porcelain sculptures are provided for informational and educational purposes only, not for reproduction, resale or advertising. All
photographs on this site are copyrighted by their owner as indicated via watermark. The characters and names of Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, Gladstone Gander, Huey, Dewey and Louie are owned, copyrighted and trademarked by the Walt Disney Company which retains all rights thereto.