Rupert Bear special issue stamps, annual, marking character’s 100th anniversary, on sale now

Rupert the Bear Special Issue Stamps 2020 - Presentation Pack

The Royal Mail‘s new Rupert Bear special issue stamps, to mark the character’s 100th anniversary in November, are on sale now from all Post Offices and online, too.

The set, created by the Royal Mail in partnership with DreamWorks Animation (who acquired rights to Rupert back in 2012 through the purchase of Classic Media) and Universal Brand Development, is made up of four pairs of stamps, each pair featuring two illustrations from one of Rupert’s adventures, all by Alfred Bestall – “Ruperts Rainy Adventure” (1944), “Rupert and the Mare’s Nest” (1952), “Rupert And The Lost Cuckoo” (1963) and “Rupert’s Christmas Tree” (1947).

  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert's Rainy Adventure
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert's Rainy Adventure
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert and the Mare's Nest
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert and the Mare's Nest
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert and the Lost Cuckoo
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert and the Lost Cuckoo
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert's Christmas Tree
  • Royal Mail Stamp 2020 - Rupert's Christmas Tree
  • Rupert the Bear Special Issue Stamps 2020 - First Day Cover

Rupert made his first appearance in the Daily Express on 8th November 1920. Herbert Tourtel, who wrote the stories, was an editor at the Express, and his wife, Mary, was the illustrator.

Mary illustrated 89 stories, later reprinted in books, retiring in 1935 due to her failing eyesight and replaced by Alfred Bestall, then already an established artist with Punch and other magazines, who also illustrated children’s books.

Bestall wrote and illustrated 224 Rupert stories for the newspaper and provided 47 other tales, mostly for the Rupert Annuals. He was awarded the MBE for his work in 1985, but died the following year.

Bestall developed the Rupert tradition of featuring a rhyming couplet beneath each picture, plus a few lines of story text to accompany them. His couplets often ended with the promise of a mystery – a cliffhanger to leave children curious to see how the story would unfold, and eager to read the next day’s paper.

Rupert the Bear Special Issue Stamps 2020 - Presentation Pack
Rupert the Bear Special Issue Stamps 2020 – Presentation Pack

A fold-out souvenir featuring the special issue stamps is on offer, a beautifully illustrated collectible keepsake that explores Rupert’s story – ­from his creation by Mary Tourtel in 1920, through the iconic style developed by Alfred Bestall up to the modern era under John Harrold – charting the history of the Rupert Annuals, which have become the treasured mementoes for fans of Britain’s longest continually running comic strip.

2021 Rupert the Bear Annual

The 2021 Rupert the Bear Annual is on sale now, also marking the 100th anniversary, and containing a collection of carefully curated stories and activities themed around the idea of celebration, including Rupert and the Rainbow (Alfred Bestall, 1948) and Rupert and the Apple Trees (John Harrold, 1999).

Check out the 2020 Rupert the Bear Special Issue here on the Royal Mail web site

Buy the 2021 Rupert the Bear Annual from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

RECOMMENDED READING

The Life and Works of Alfred Bestall: Illustrator of Rupert Bear by Caroline G. Bott

Life and Works of Alfred Bestall

Published in 2003, The Life and Works of Alfred Bestall is a wonderful account of the artist’s life, the result of many years careful and painstaking research. Caroline G. Bott pieced together the life of her godfather Alfred Bestall, who illustrated Rupert Bear almost uninterruptedly for 30 years. The artwork was bequeathed her by “Fred” Bestall to the author with the words, “you will probably want to make a bonfire of this” – which I think we can all agree would have been a tragedy.

Caroline lovingly collected together and catalogued Bestall’s work, which ranges from incisive cartoons for Punch to romantic, dreamy watercolours, as well of course as his Rupert Bear illustrations. Caroline was also bequeathed his diaries, from which, alongside letters, photographs and other archive material, she has drawn together his life.

What emerges is a gentle, very generous man, who was loved by all who met him. His diaries include his experiences in the World War One, and his travel diaries include remarkable journeys to Egypt as well as those of his beloved Wales. His fans are as diverse as Sir Paul McCartney (who wrote the book’s foreword), Prince Charles, Terry Jones, Terence Stamp, Richard Rogers and Sir Hugh Casson.

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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1 reply

  1. I recall reading the Rupert cartoons in the Express in the 1940s and 1950s, and getting the Rupert Annuals as Christmas presents. Perhaps I have Alfred Bestall to thank for my writing my own verse – I refuse to call it poetry!

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