John Hassall

(1868—1948) poster designer

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John Hassall (c. 1571—1654) dean of Norwich


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(1868–1948), English illustrator. Born in Walmer, Kent, Hassall was educated at Newton Abbott College, Devon, and Heidelberg. He farmed with his brother Owen in Manitoba, Canada, for three years, but when one of his sketches was published in the Daily Graphic newspaper in 1890 he returned to England to follow an artistic career. He studied in Antwerp and Paris, where he would have been familiar with the designs of Mucha and Chéret. Hassall had his first commercial success in 1894 with a theatrical poster advertising “The French Maid.” He was quickly recognized as one of the leading poster artists of the day, employing strong slabs of color and solid black outlines. With Cecil Aldin he designed a series of nursery friezes and prints that were sold in Liberty's. In 1939 he was granted a pension for “services to posters.” His poster art also informs his illustrations for children's books and advertising ephemera. Some of his best work can be seen in Barbara's Song Book (1900), in his humorous alphabets such as An ABC of Everyday People (1903) and Round the World ABC (1904), both by G. E. Farrow, and in his books of nursery stories and rhymes published by Blackie. He also produced a large number of pictorial binding designs, notably for G. A. Henty's novels.

From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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