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John Hassall RI RMS (1868-1948)

John Hassall, RI RMS (1868-1948)

John Hassall was one of the key members of the London Sketch Club, and his characteristic style, with its flat coloured planes and black outlines, so epitomised the early twentieth-century poster school that he became known as ‘king of poster artists’.

John Hassall was born in Walmer, Kent, on 21 May 1868, the son of Royal Navy Lieutenant Christopher Hassall. However, his father died when he was only eight years old, and he and his younger brother, Owen, were brought up by their mother and her second husband. He was educated in Worthing, at Newton Abbot College and then for three happy years at Neuenheim College, Heidelberg. Twice failing entry to Sandhurst, he migrated to Manitoba in Canada in 1888 to study farming with Owen; however, he returned to London two years later when he had drawings accepted by The Graphic. At the suggestion of Dudley Hardy, he studied art in Antwerp, under Charles van Havermaet, and in Paris, at the Académie Julian, under Bouguereau and Ferrier; during this time he was influenced by the poster artist Alphonse Mucha.

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