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In celebration of Women's History Month, this Curation is dedicated to retelling the remarkable legacy of Rupert Bear's creator - Mary Tourtel. Although best known for creating one of Britain's favourite bears, Tourtel's life tells a story of extraordinary female accomplishment, independence and exploration during the late 19th and early 20th century. It is a story that begins and ends in Canterbury, and is testimony to the pioneering creativity the city has inspired.


The Curation is based on The Beaney's Rupert Bear Centenary Exhibition, which has sadly been unable to open due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, we hope this Curation will offer a glimpse into the inspiring beginnings of Rupert and the woman who brought him to life.

Artists featured in this Curation: Walter Scott
1 artwork
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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Childhood in Canterbury

The Caldwell family outside their home at 5 Palace Street, Canterbury.

Thomas Sidney Cooper (1803–1902)
Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Thomas Sidney Cooper (1803–1902)

Walter Scott (active 1831–1853)

Oil on canvas

H 61 x W 50.8 cm

Canterbury Museums and Galleries

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Herbert Tourtel

Herbert Tourtel's Diary

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Early Stories

Mary Tourtel's Early stories

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Creating Rupert

The first Rupert Story - Little Lost Bear

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

The Little Lost Bear

The Adventures of Rupert, The Little Lost Bear

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

Rupert Little Bear Library

Rupert and the Monster, Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd.

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Photo credit: Canterbury Museums and Galleries

International Acclaim

'De Avonturen van Bruintje Beer' by Algemeen Handelsblad

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Photo credit: Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society

Mary's Final Years

Mary Tourtel Plaque outside the Ivy Lane hotel, Canterbury