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Harry Rountree (1878-1950)


Harry Rountree (1878-1950)

New Zealand-born Harry Rountree settled in London in 1901, and developed a perfect style for illustration, of flat blocks of colour surrounded by thick outlines. Specialising in animal subjects, he illustrated many books, contributed widely to periodicals and designed posters.

Harry Rountree was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on 26 January 1878, the second of seven children of the bank manager, Stephen Gilbert Rountree, and his wife, Julia (née Bartley). He was educated at the city’s Queen’s College, and began work in the lithographic department of Wilson & Horton Printers, designing labels for jam tins and other products, and producing advertisements for newspapers that were printed by the company.

In 1901, Rountree migrated to London and attempted to gain commissions with magazine editors. Having little immediate success, he decided to study art, and took a course of life drawing under Percival Gaskell at Regent Street Polytechnic’s School of Art. The style that he evolved there directed fin-de-siècle elements towards comic ends, and his use of blocks of flat colour surrounded by thick jagged lines was found to be equally suitable for small-scale illustrations and large posters.

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Animals
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