This post is the second in a mini-series on iconic British bears. Following on from Paddington Bear, here is a short history on the jolly, white bear known as Rupert, who lives in the fictional village of Nutwood.
Rupert Bear was first created by English artist Mary Tourtel, appearing in the Daily Express in 1920 in an attempt to win sales from other newspapers. Aside from his appearances in the Express, in 1936 Rupert stories were published in an illustrated children’s annual; subsequently these annuals have since been published every year, even during paper shortages in WWII.
Donning a striking red jumper, yellow tartan trousers and a matching scarf, Rupert is one of a collection of other anthropomorphic characters, with whom he goes on extravagant adventures before returning safely home to his parents. From King Frost’s castle to the Kingdom of Birds and the bottom of the sea, Rupert’s adventures are slightly frightful and always exciting.
In 1985, Rupert starred in Rupert and the Frog Song, a short film based on the ideas and music of Sir Paul McCartney. It featured the song ‘We All Stand Together’, which was written by McCartney and arranged by the Beatles’ producer George Martin. The film follows Rupert as he explores the countryside around his house one night, and stumbles upon a rare gathering of frogs.
In 1994, a special collection of commemorative stamps was released, featuring various scenes from Rupert’s adventures. The city of Canterbury in Kent, once home to original illustrator Mary Tourtel, is now the location of the Rupert Bear Museum as part of the Canterbury Heritage Museum.
Photos courtesy of The Daily Express and Royal Mail.