Charles Pears

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Charles Pears
Born (1873-09-09)9 September 1873[1]
Pontefract, Yorkshire
Died 28 January 1958(1958-01-28) (aged 84)[1]
Truro, Cornwall[2]
Nationality British
Known for Naval and marine art
"Gibraltar" by Charles Pears, for the Empire Marketing Board, 1930
Battleship HMS Howe in Suez Canal by Charles Pears

Charles Pears RI ROI[1] RSMA (9 September 1873 – 28 January 1958) was a British painter, illustrator and artist.


Born in Pontefract, Yorkshire, he studied nearby at East Hardwick and Pomfret College,[2][3] where he started a lifelong appreciation of Canaletto.[4] Active from 1890, he worked as an illustrator throughout his career. His early illustrated works were included in periodicals such as The Yellow Book, Punch, The Graphic and Salt-Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield.[2]

Pears is best known as a marine painter, where he often signed his work as Chas Pears. Pears was the first elected President of the Society of Marine Artists.[2] His works were exhibited from 1904 to 1939 in London having moved there, and he also wrote a number of books on small boat cruising.

A commissioned officer in the Royal Marines during the First World War, Pears worked also worked as an official War Artist during both the First and Second World Wars.[2] His Second World War poster entitled "MV San Demetrio gets home" was issued by the Post Office Savings Bank,[5] with the original artwork presently part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum.

From 1913 to 1936, Pears was a prolific poster artist, working for London Underground.[6] He also created posters for the Empire Marketing Board,[1] the Metropolitan Railway, Southern Railway, London, Midland and Scottish Railway, LNER, GWR. He latterly created works for British Railways.

Pears moved to Saint Mawes, Cornwall in semi-retirement, and died in Truro on 28 January 1958.[4]

Today his artworks are held in the collections of the London Transport Museum,[6] National Maritime Museum, National Railway Museum,[7] Imperial War Museum,[8] and Tate.[9] He is commemorated in a prize at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, the Charles Pears Memorial Award.[4]


  • From the Thames to the Seine (Chatto & Windus, London, 1910)
  • From the Thames to the Netherlands: A Voyage in the Waterways of Zealand & Down the Belgian Coast (Chatto & Windus, London, 1914)
  • South Coast Cruising – from the Thames to Penzance (Edward Arnold, London, 1931)
  • Yachting on the Sunshine Coast (Southern Railway Company, 1932)
  • Going Foreign (Edward Arnold, London, 1933)


  1. ^ a b c d "PEARS, Charles". Who Was Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mr. Charles Pears". The Times. 30 January 1958. p. 10. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Benezit, Emmanuel (2012) Benezit Dictionary of British Graphic Artists and Illustrators , p202, Oxford University Press
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ "Art.IWM PST 16448 – San Demetrio Gets Home". Imperial War Museum Collections Search. 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Artist – Charles Pears, London Transport Museum website. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  7. ^ Collections Online – Pears, Charles, Science Museum Group. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  8. ^ Imperial War Museum Collections Search for "Charles Pears", Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Charles Pears". Tate. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

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