John Hassall (illustrator)
John Hassall (21 May 1868 – 8 March 1948) was an English illustrator, known for his advertisements and poster designs.
Hassall was born in Walmer, Kent, and was educated in Worthing, at Newton Abbot College, and at Neuenheim College, Heidelberg. After twice failing entry to The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he emigrated to Manitoba in Canada in 1888 to begin farming with his brother Owen. He returned to London two years later when he had drawings accepted by the Graphic. At the suggestion of Dudley Hardy (along with Cecil Aldin, a lifelong friend), he studied art in Antwerp and Paris. During this time he was influenced by the famous poster artist Alphonse Mucha.
In 1895, he began work as an advertising artist for David Allen & Sons, a career which lasted fifty years and included such well-known projects as the poster "Skegness Is so Bracing" (1908). Between 1896 and 1899 alone, he produced over 600 theatre poster designs for this firm while, at the same time, providing illustrations to several illustrated newspapers. Making use of flat colours enclosed by thick black lines, his poster style was very suitable for children's books, and he produced many volumes of nursery rhymes and fairy stories, now fetching high prices on eBay, such as Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes (1909).
In 1901, Hassall was elected to the membership of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Society of Miniature Painters. He also belonged to several clubs, including the Langham (until 1898), the Savage, and the London Sketch Club, of which he was a President from 1903-1904.
In 1900, Hassall opened his own New Art School and School of Poster Design in Kensington where he numbered Annie Fish, Bert Thomas, Bruce Bairnsfather, H. M. Bateman and Harry Rountree among his students. The school was closed at the outbreak of the First World War. In the post-war period, he ran the very successful John Hassall Correspondence School.
John Hassall was the father of poet Christopher Hassall and the printmaker Joan Hassall, OBE. He was also the grandfather of the actress Imogen Hassall and grandfather (and surrogate father) to noted "green" architect, David Dobereiner.
Arguably John Hassall's most famous creation was "The Jolly Fisherman" in 1908, which is regarded as one of the most famous holiday advertisements of all time. His 1910 design for the Kodak Girl, in her iconic striped blue and white dress, became a feature of Kodak's advertising to the 1970s. Hassall's design was continually updated to reflect changing fashions and trends and was longer-lasting and of greater international significance than his Jolly Fisherman.
- Cannon, John. "Exhibition at Buxton Museum", Gilbert and Sullivan News, Vol. IV, No. 18, p. 16, Autumn/Winter 2012
- Mark Bryant, ‘Fish, (Harriet) Annie (1890–1964)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 accessed 8 April 2017
- See: Nancy Martha West, Kodak and the lens of nostalgia, London: University Press of Virginia, 2000, p. 56. ISBN 0-8139-1959-2
- John Hassall Kodak Girl poster
- John Hassall Kodak Girl and Brownie poster
- John Hassall Genealogy and Family History Tree
- BBC article on "Skegness is so Bracing" and John Hassall
- The official National Railway Museum print website containing a number of Jolly Fisherman posters
- Victoria & Albert Museum reproduction of "Skegness is so Bracing" artwork
- website for Jolly Fisherman & "Skegness is so Bracing" by John Hassall
- The Jolly Fisherman Gallery with Images of John Hassall[permanent dead link]
- John Hassall GEC March sheet music cover illustration
- John Hassall at Library of Congress Authorities, with 10 catalogue records