Event details

  • Sat 7 November 2020 to Sun 28 February 2021
  • All day
  • Admission free, donatitions encouraged
  • The Beaney, 18 High Street, Canterbury, CT1 2RA
  • 01227 862 162
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Join us for this family friendly interactive exhibition opening on Saturday 7 November in time for Rupert Bear centenary celebrations!

November 8th 2020 is the 100th anniversary since Rupert the Bear first appeared in print in the Daily Express newspaper. The creator of Rupert lived and worked in Canterbury. This exhibition will be a celebration of the centenary, linking to our collection of Rupert the Bear objects.

The tale of Rupert Bear begins with the story of the Caldwell Family. The Caldwell’s were a family of artists who worked at Canterbury Cathedral on the restoration of stained-glass windows.

Their daughter, Mary, went on to attend Simon Langton Girls’ School, 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.

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.