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”: