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Harry Hargreaves (1922-2004)


Harry Hargreaves, MSIAD (1922-2004)

The artist, animator and writer, Harry Hargreaves, was the finest British animal cartoonist of his generation, with ‘outstanding skill at drawing movement’ and ‘real knowledge of how animals move’ (William Hewison). His abilities are seen to their best both in his own creations, ‘The Bird’ and ‘Hayseeds’, and in his interpretations of Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear for the Blue Peter annuals.

Harry Hargreaves was born in Manchester on 9 February 1922, the elder son of Harry Hargreaves, a civil servant in the Ministry of Labour, and Eugenie (née Ince). He became a choirboy at Manchester Cathedral at the age of eight (1930-33), and began to teach himself to draw cartoons at the age of nine. Then, in 1936, at the age of 14, and while still at Chorlton High School, he published his first cartoon in the
Manchester Evening News.

Following the divorce of his parents, Hargreaves left school at the age of 16, in 1938, and joined a local interior design company – while, in his spare time, he studied architecture, furniture design and mechanical drawing at Manchester School of Art. Within a year, he was working as a trainee engineer, and gaining experience with such companies as Rolls-Royce, Ford and Kestrel Engines.

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