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Entry to the Special Exhibition is included with your museum entry ticket.


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During the early twentieth century, John Hassall was one of Britain’s best-known and most high-profile artists. Working across a variety of disciplines, he was a prolific book illustrator, a humorous artist for postcards and magazines, an art school founder and teacher, a painter in oils, consummate clubman, and a designer of toys, figurines, pottery and nursery decor. But it was through his commercial illustration for travel companies, political causes, theatre and well-known brands that he made his name in an age when advertising hoardings were known as the, ‘poor man’s art gallery’. Hassall’s natural affinity for poster art, and the popularity of his creations, was to earn him the title, ‘The Poster King’. Employing bold line, flat colours and an engagingly cheery style, Hassall’s designs had immediate impact with many creations, notably his famous, ‘Skegness is SO bracing’ poster, becoming embedded in popular culture. This exhibition seeks to explore key aspects of John Hassall’s work, and to celebrate the life of this extraordinary artist a century on from his heyday.

Here’s a talk by Luci Gosling who curated this exhibition about Hassall’s famous “Jolly Fisherman”:

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Permanent Exhibition

Our permanent Heath Robinson exhibition combines original artwork with books, photographs, film & digital media to tell the full story of Heath Robinson’s artistic career.

30 Mar - 23 Jun

Heath Robinson’s Illustrations for magazines, 1925 to 1936

With the start of the Second World War in 1914 Heath Robinson observed that “There was now no demand for purely artistic productions, for new editions of Shakespeare or other classics”. He was then dependent on humorous work for his income. However, from about 1925 respite from the constant need to be funny came from time to time with commissions to provide serious illustrations to short stories and articles in Nash’s Pall Mall Magazine and its sister publication Good Housekeeping.…

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