My Little Pony portraits magically replace National Gallery equine classics in augmented reality posy trail

Posted on 22 September 2021
By Khyle Deen
  • Share:

Visitors to London’s National Gallery will be able to transform ten of the museum’s most famous horse paintings into MY LITTLE PONY portraits, thanks to a cutting-edge augmented reality Pony Trail.

To mark the upcoming release of My Little Pony: A New Generation on Netflix this Friday, the gallery is giving visitors the chance to transform equine classics from George Stubbs’ Whistlejacket to Theodore Gericault’s Horse Frightened By Lightning into Sunny Starscout, Izzy Moonbow and friends from the new film in a fun and educational interactive trail for families.

And guests are being encouraged to gallop their way there soon, as it won’t be around furlong, the MY LITTLE PONY Magical Gallery will be live until November 1st.

The unique augmented reality app, free to all visitors and accessible through QR codes around the gallery, will use image recognition to instantly augment ten iconic horse paintings into the New Generation of Earth Ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi, all brought to life by celebrated children’s artist Rachael Saunders.

What’s more, the new virtual artworks will feature original commentaries from stars of the upcoming film, providing fun greetings and facts straight from the horses’ mouths. Stars including Vanessa Hudgens, Sofia Carson and James Marsden all provide pop-up commentaries specially for the activation along with horse lover Jodie Kidd, who today unveiled the app at The National Gallery.

Jodie Kidd, who commentates on all ten paintings in the app says: “I’m so excited to be part of this magical initiative at the National Gallery. There are so many timeless masterpieces on show at the Gallery and this wonderful app does a fantastic job of helping make them even more accessible and entertaining. Providing children with a thrilling treasure hunt to discover MY LITTLE PONY characters, crystals and magical lands and learn about classic works of art along the way..

“I was brought up around horses and adored MY LITTLE PONY from a young age, so it was a childhood dream come true providing the commentaries on the app, and I can’t wait for visitors to start discovering Sunny, Izzy, Pipp, Zipp, Hitch and friends hidden among the masterpieces!”

Vanessa Hudgens, who plays Earth Pony Sunny in the new film, said: “I’ve loved My Little Pony since I was a kid. I can’t wait for families to enjoy and discover the new generation of MY LITTLE PONY in this unique way at one of the world’s top attractions.”

The app will take visitors around the entire gallery using a digital map bringing the magical land of Equestria to life. They will be able to navigate many of the gallery’s rooms to find the ten magical canvases, with augmented reality created by design studio Playlines, transforming the full-size classics to modern artworks.

All ten MY LITTLE PONY paintings have been crafted by Hampshire illustrator Rachael Saunders, who has previously illustrated book covers for the likes of Roald Dahl and Rudyard Kipling classics.

Saunders, 29, said: “It’s such an incredible honour to see my art augmented into The National Gallery in such a magical way.

“Some of my favourite horse paintings are on display at the Gallery, and to share the same digital space with the likes of Rembrandt, Stubbs and Raphael is a surreal but thrilling privilege! I can’t wait for gallery visitors to discover the MY LITTLE PONY artworks from now until November.”

The ten paintings within the National Gallery that can be transformed through the MY LITTLE PONY Magical Gallery app are:

1. A Hilly Landscape with Figures by Aelbert Cuyp (1655-60) becoming A Magical Landscape with Ponies by Rachael Saunders
2. A Landscape with Horseman, Herders and Cattle, by Aelbert Cuyp (1655-60) becoming A Cliff Face With Hitch Trailblazer and Bunnies by Rachael Saunders
3. Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck (1637-8) becoming Equestrian Portrait of Izzy Moonow I by Rachael Saunders
4. Portrait of Frederick Rihel on Horseback by Rembrandt (1663) becoming Portrait of Princess Pipp Petals by Rachael Saunders
5. A Horse Frightened by Lightning by Jean-Louis-Andre-Theodore (1813-14) becoming A Pony Adorned With Lightning by Rachael Saunders
6. Ovid among the Scythians by Eugene Delcacroix (1859) becoming Pipp Among the Hills by Rachael Saunders
7. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza by Honore-Victorin Daumier (1855) becoming Sunny Starscout and Zipp Storm by Rachael Saunders
8. The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur (1855) becoming My Fair Pony by Rachael Saunders
9. Captain Robert Orme by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1756) becoming Deputy Sprout by Rachael Saunders
10. Whistlejacket by George Stubbs (1762), becoming Starscout by Rachael Saunders

The app is live now until November 1st. Guests can access the app via QR codes within the gallery or download it from all good app stores, by searching ‘My Little Pony National Gallery’.