Hidden Gems Edition V

Refreshed every Friday at midday, Hidden Gems is a carefully curated selection of original art and world art news. This week, we're looking at why film and television characters are so collectible, and artists are so fond of recreating them in their own style.

The 1989 Batmobile is being offered for sale by a specialist car dealership in America, and is sure to attract huge amounts of interest amongst collectors. Batman is just one of many superhero and animation characters who are now so popular that they’ve burst into popular culture, where fine artists are keen to show their own take on the famous creations.

Discover more about this, and see the work of the many artists we represent who have been inspired by their fictional favourites.


Buying a Batmobile

How do you fancy your own Batmobile? The sleek 1989 model, as seen in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, is for sale for a cool $1.5 million (around £1.75million) by Classic Auto Mall in Pennsylvania, USA.

It was designed by conceptual illustrator Julian Caldow and brought to life by Pinewood Studios in England, and is, of course, incredibly stylish and iconic – and very collectible. However, if you fancy yourself burning up the motorway in it, you’ll be disappointed. Although equipped with fenders from a Daytona Prototype racing car and a jet-engine turbine, the car only has a 48-volt engine which can achieve a magnificent 30 mph. And as it’s not certified as roadworthy for driving on public roads, you can’t even impress your kids’ friends on the school run. Still, at least it does have a built-in flamethrower.


NHU Attack Of The Penguin

Featured art: Attack of the Penguin by Nigel Humphries. Signed original oil on canvas, £4,950.

Collectable Comic Characters

It shows how collectible anything to do with superhero and comic book franchises is. Turning the work of comic illustrators into fine art really took off in the 1960s, when Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol began using images from pop culture and turning them into something more grown-up. Lichtenstein’s signature style used the ‘Ben-Day’ dots used in cheap comic printing in his art, whilst Warhol and his Factory staff made works based on everyday, humdrum items such as Campbell’s Tomato Soup and Brillo Pads. He made versions of the popular US comic strips Dick Tracy and Nancy, and later, in his Myth series, featured Superman.

Artists of this generation, and the ones who followed, were brought up on pop culture; it became mainstream and eventually mixed with the world of fine art. Artists who came out of the New York graffiti scene in the Eighties, such as Jean Paul Basquiat and Keith Haring also took existing characters and featured them in their art – Basquiat put Superman and Captain America in his work, whilst Haring created a character called Andy Mouse, a hybrid of Andy Warhol and Mickey Mouse.

Mickey and his fellow Disney characters are also at the heart of pop culture, so it’s no wonder that they, as well as the characters created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s animation studio are eternally popular with collectors, and as contemporary animations are usually made on a computer, hand-drawn and painted cels and artwork from earlier works are increasingly rare. Castle Fine Art carries a wide collection of original animation art from Disney Vintage and Hanna-Barbera; each one is unique and captures our love of the characters who have become part of our lives.

From the blog

Batman Through the Ages: Gotham City Suite by Nigel Humphries


From early images of Batman in 1970s comics, to some of the best known character interpretations from the films, this unique collection by Nigel Humphries is sure to dazzle and thrill fans and collectors.

Behind the scenes of our Disney Vintage collection!


Curated by one of the most reputable vintage animation art dealers in the world, our Disney Vintage collection boasts original works from the films that made history. Discover more about the different types of art.

Hanna-Barbera | 2022 | Original production cels & drawings


Signed by animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, this collectible selection boasts best-loved characters like Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, Top Cat and Snagglepuss.

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