Charles Pears

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Charles Pears
Born(1873-09-09)9 September 1873[1]
Pontefract, Yorkshire
Died28 January 1958(1958-01-28) (aged 84)[1]
Truro, Cornwall[2]
Known forNaval 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 Royal 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 & Scottish Railway, London & North Eastern Railway and Great Western Railway. 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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