John Hassall was born in Walmer Kent and educated at Newton Abbey College, Devon and Neueheim College, Heidelberg. He spent a brief period farming in Manitoba before returning to Europe to study in Antwerp and Paris where he was much influenced by the artist Alphonse Mucha. In 1895 he began working for the advertising agency David Allen & Sons. Hassall’s work ranged from theatrical and commercial poster design to greeting cards to children’s book illustrations. His best known and loved work was The Jolly Fisherman commissioned by North Eastern Railways to encourage visitors to the seaside town of Skegness (a href=””> Hassall’s work was predominantly humourous, usually at music hall level and his designs were bold and brightly coloured giving his posters the character of large cartoons. His work epitomised a peculiarly English humour which had a direct appeal to all levels of society and, while of considerable artistic value, it had none of the rarefied language of his contemporaries – the aesthetic artists and poets. He died on 8 March 1948

His archive is housed at the University of Essex,htm