The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Paperfolding of Alfred Bestall

Alfred Edmeades Bestall, MBE, was born in Mandalay, Burma on 14 December 1892 and died in Porthmadog, Wales on 15 January 1986.(2)

Details of paperfolds diagrammed by Alfred Bestall and included in the Rupert Bear Annuals between 1946 and 1973 can be found here.



(1) 'The History of Paperfolding in Britain' by David Lister, which was published by the British Origami Society in 1975.

(2) Alfred Bestall - Wikipedia

(3) Rupert Bear - an article by David Lister published on the Lister List.

(4) Rupert Bear 2 - an article by David Lister published on the Lister List.




Born in Mandalay, Burma on 14 December 1892 (2)



Alfred Bestall's interest in paperfolding began when he was given a copy of 'The Book of Indoor Games' by J K Benson, which included several paperfolding items (1).



In 1935 Alfred Bestall began writing and drawing the Rupert Bear cartoon strip in the Daily Express (1).



Alfred Bestall introduced paperfolding into the Rupert Bear Annual for the first time. The 1946 Rupert Annual included diagrams titled 'How to Make a Paper Bird' which showed how to fold the Flapping Bird.

According to David Lister (3) 'The Rupert Annual was one of the only children's annuals to survive the War, but when it ended in 1945, it was thought that many new annuals would be introduced and that the Rupert Annual would face competition. It was decided to improve the attraction of the annuals by the introduction of other features, such as games and colouring pages. Alfred Bestall hit upon the idea of including paperfolding.'



Alfred Bestall and Robert Harbin first met at the Daily Express offices on 12th June 1953 (1).



Alfred Bestall produced his last daily Rupert story on 22 July 1965 (2) but continued to contribute to the Annuals, producing the covers and end-papers, creating the puzzles and drawing the diagrams for the paperfolding (4).**********1973According to David Lister (4) 'For some reason, Rupert's head in the stories in the annuals was left uncoloured, although the covers always showed him with a brown teddy bear coloured head. So Alfred painted him for the 1973 Annual.' Unfortunately someone at Exoress Newspapers thought this was a mistake an decided to correct it. David Lister goes on, 'The change from brown to white was made without consulting Bestall. Alfred Bestall was a very mild-mannered man, but he was furious and considered that his artistic integrity and artistic independence had been impugned. From then onwards he gave up his connection with the Rupert Annuals and the Daily Express.'



Awarded the MBE (2).



Died in Porthmadog, Wales on 15 January 1986.(2)