Rupert Bear and his creators

Author & Artist

Rupert Bear and his creators

The children of Britain have been lucky enough to enjoy the adventures of three famous fictional bears - Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington Bear, and Rupert. Rupert came first and still continues to this day, in his original format as a newspaper cartoon strip.

In 1920 the Daily Express newspaper wanted to lure readers from rivals Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, who both had popular comic strips. One of the assistant editors thought of his wife, children's illustrator Mary Tourtel. The initially un-named bear appeared for the first time in the Daily Express on 8th November 1920. At first he had brown fur and wore a soft blue jumper with grey trousers.

The early strips were illustrated by Mary and captioned by her husband, often in poetry and were published as two cartoons a day with a short story underneath. To save on printing costs, Rupert became a white bear. He also gained his distinctive red jumper and yellow trousers and scarf over the years.

In 1935, the stories were taken over by Alfred Bestall, who was previously an illustrator for Punch and other glossy magazines. Bestall continued to work on Rupert stories and artwork into his nineties. More recently, various other artists and writers have continued the series. About 50 million copies have been sold worldwide.

Rupert Bear annuals continue to be published every year, with their distinctive style of rhyming couplets under the picture panels, and running prose underneath. Rupert generally has adventures with his anthropomorphic chums - including best friend Bill Badger. These are usually magical adventures in faraway lands, from which the young animals always return in time for tea.

Further reading

Links to external websites are not maintained by Bite Sized Britain. They are provided to give users access to additional information. Bite Sized Britain is not responsible for the content of these external websites.