Event details

  • Thu 3 December 2020 to Sun 7 March 2021
  • All day
  • Admission free, donatitions encouraged
  • The Beaney, 18 High Street, Canterbury, CT1 2RA
  • 01227 862 162
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Due to the national lockdown, we have had to postpone the Rupert Bear Centenary exhibition until December. But that doesn’t mean the Rupert fun is cancelled!

Enter our competition to design a Rupert Bear birthday card and tag us on Facebook @TheBeaney or Instagram @The_Beaney for your chance to win a £50 Rupert Goody Bag!

Plus, we’ll be treating you to lots of exhibition teaser content, a digital Rupert story corner, and much more! Keep an eye on our social media channels for more details.

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Bring your family and friends along and join us for this interactive exhibition celebrating the Rupert Bear centenary!

You will get the opportunity to be immersed into magical seasonal landscapes, enjoy a story corner, play interactive games and create your own story as well as engaging with many original collections and artworks from the museum’s collection (some of which have never been on display before) and learn more about Canterbury’s Mary Tourtel, the creator of Rupert Bear.

November 8th 2020 is the 100th anniversary since Rupert the Bear first appeared in print in the Daily Express newspaper.

The tale of Rupert Bear is rooted firmly in Canterbury and begins with the story of the Caldwell Family. The Caldwell’s were artists who worked on the restoration of stained-glass windows at Canterbury Cathedral.Their daughter, Mary, attended Simon Langton Girls’ School and then studied at the Sidney Cooper School of Art in Canterbury before going on to marry a man named Herbert Tourtel.

Herbert worked for the Daily Express, and knowing his wife was somewhat of an artist, she was asked by the newspaper to invent a new children’s character. Her creation, Rupert Bear, was born.

Rupert first appeared in the Daily Express on Monday 8 November 1920, in a single frame illustration called the ‘Little Lost Bear’, and continued to run in the paper every day thereafter.

Mary Tourtel illustrated and wrote her Rupert stories until 1935, after which Albert Bestall continued the strip cartoons and became well-known for the Rupert annuals – a number of which are on permanent display in our People and Places gallery.

Join us for this interactive exhibition which will celebrate 100 years of Rupert, linking to our varied collection of Rupert the Bear objects and artworks.

Free entry, donations welcome, Rupert activity bags available (£5 each)

Runs from December until Sunday 7 March (Closed Mondays).

Location: Special Exhibitions Gallery, The Beaney

Did you know?

  • Rupert was originally called Little Lost Bear and in the early books often wore a blue jumper and cream trousers, before he was given his now familiar red and yellow outfit
  • Originally depicted as a brown bear, his colour soon changed to white to save on printing costs, though he remained brown on the covers of the annuals.