Kay Nielsen is a favorite illustrator for many readers here so I had to share this unusual Little Mermaid illustration although it's been floating around the new for a few years now. You can see the rest of his preliminary sketches for Little Mermaid at The Scepter on LiveJournal. Don't miss them!
The work is obviously sketches and unfinished work but there is enough there to imagine the look and feel of what Disney might have made Little Mermaid appear like in the mid 1940s versus what we got 40+ years later. Nielsen did influence what we saw in Fantasia and Sleeping Beauty, which is one of my visual favorites of the Disney fairy tales.
It has never been my favorite fairy tale--and it is hard to imagine that Nielsen's version would have been a commercial success during the war-ridden years--but it would have been brilliant, I think.