Rupert - Bill and the Pearls (1930s)
Alfred Bestall is a British illustrator of children's books and Amalgamated Press annuals. Born in Mandalay, Burma, as the son of a Methodist Missionary, Bestall eventually was sent to Rydal Public School in North Wales. He attended the Birmingham Central School of Art and spent three years in Flanders during his military service in World War I. He contributed his first cartoons to The Cartoon and Blighty and worked through the Byron Studios in London after the war.
Dust cover for the first Rupert Annual in 1936
He drew for Punch and was also present in magazines like Passing Show, Tatler, Eve and The Strand. He became a productive book illustrator and also drew for the Schoolgirl's Own Annual by Amalgamated Press between 1923 and 1942. He was the artist who continued the adventures of 'Rupert Bear' when creator Mary Tourtel quit the series.
Rupert and Pong Ping's Party (1940s)
Bestall started in 1935, when the furry British bear Rupert already had fifteen years in the public eye. Bestall managed to increase the popularity of Rupert Bear, who is now known all over the world. He semi-retired in 1965 and 'Rupert' was continued by Alex Cubie and John Harrold and scriptwriters Freddie Chaplin and James Henderson. Bestall continued to do art on the annuals until 1973, however.
Portrait of Bestall by John Harrold (Daily Express Anual 1985)