John Hassall

John Hassall RI RMS (British, 1868-1948)

John Hassall was a watercolourist, cartoonist, illustrator, and poster-designer. He was born in Walmer, Kent in 1868 and was educated at Newton Abbot College, Devon. He was the father of the artist Joan Hassall and the writer Christopher Hassall and later emigrated to Manitoba, Canada, where he became a farmer. In the early 1890s, after some success contributing sketches to The Graphic, he moved back to Europe, studying art in Antwerp under P. Van Havermaet and under Bougereau in Paris. He returned to England in the mid 1890s and became a popular cartoonist and celebrated poster designer. One of his designs included the well-known advertisement Skegness Is so bracing. He was heavily influenced by the colours and qualities of Japanese prints.

Hassall also illustrated numerous books and periodicals such as The Idler, London Opinion, Pearson’s Magazine and The Tatler. For many years he also ran his own school of art, the New Art School and School of Poster Design. He was a member of RI, RWA, London Sketch and Savage Clubs.

His work is held in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

References: Houfe, Simon. The Dictionary of 19th century British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists: 171.