‘One of the Best’ Portrait of John Hassall, circa 1900


SKU: 6519
Signed, inscribed with title
Gouache on card

Height – 22.9cm
Width – 10.8cm

1 in stock


Private collection

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.216.

Having studied in Antwerp and Paris, during which time he was influenced by the famous poster artist Alphonse Mucha, John Hassall became one of Britain’s most success graphic artists of his generation. His work was characterised by the use of flat colours enclosed by thick black lines,  a style widely recognised when, from 1895 he began work as an advertising artist for David Allen & Sons, a career which lasted fifty years,  and included iconic  posters such as  “Skegness Is so Bracing” (1908). Between 1896 and 1899, he produced over 600 theatre poster designs for the firm.

In 1900, Hassall opened his own New Art School and School of Poster Design in Kensington.  The Hassall brand was thus pass onto a new generation: Annie Fish, Bert Thomas, Bruce Bairnsfather, H. M. Bateman and Harry Rountree were among his students.  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. Dudley Hardy and with Cecil Aldin, were life long friends He was, not surprisingly, the  subject of numerous  portraits by his students and admirers .

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Harry Rountree
1878 - 1950

Painter, illustrator and poster designer born in Auckland, New Zealand where he was educated at the city’s Queen’s College. Working at first as a commercial lithographer, he emigrated to London in 1901 and continued his studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic and at Hassall School of Art. 

He began to contribute the Humorist, Playtime and Punch and from 1903 he collaborated with the editor of Little Folk on a very successful series of books. 
Specialising in animals, Rountree went on to illustrate several volumes of children’s literature such as Playtime, 1929-29. He designed the original label for Cherry Blossom shoe polish and also had work reproduced in Radio Times during the 1930’s. 
He showed at the RA, STISA who elected him a member, 1942-50. 
Rountree was a member of the Savage Club, Langham Sketch Club and a one-time President of the London Sketch Club, 1914. 
Following many arguments with the local ‘Moderns’ such as Peter Lanyon and Ben Nicholson in his adopted town of St. Ives, Rountree slipped into relative obscurity dying in poverty in St. Ives, Cornwall. 
Examples of his work are in the collection of the IWM, Auckland Art Gallery. 
Some sources spell his surname incorrectly as ‘Rowntree’. 
Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris, illustrated by Harry Rountree. Published by Thomas Nelson & Son, London, 1906.
Aesop’s Fables retold by Blanche Winder, with illustrations by Harry Rountree. Published by Ward, Lock & Co, London & Melbourne, 1924. 
Archibald’s Amazing Adventure by Sam Hamer, illustrated by Harry Rountree. Published by Cassell & Co, London, 1905.
Wog & Wig by Winifred Humphries with illustrations by Harry Rountree. Published by Franklyn Ward & Wheeler, Leicester, 1947.
With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk