Alfred Bestall, 1892 - 1986 took over the drawing of Rupert Bear from Mary Tourtel for the Daily Express in 1935. This he did for thirty years in the newspaper and continued working on the annuals until 1973. Looking at the last of the Annuals before they left my Library I had an odd feeling that certain figures - the Exotic Chinee, the gnarled dwarves, certain stances of figures at the top of hills, the Goat Man were absorbed in my youth and never forgotten despite the annoyances of the texts and particularly the cumbersome rhymed couplets. My Mother read them to me with little conviction, but I was entranced with the pictures. I was grateful for the strip format as a way of expediting the stories, but also remember how magical was the sequential flow that included variants in the page format - cartouches, panels and cod Japanese decorative devices.

I derived much of my own sense of security from Rupert finally making it back home after his adventures. Then I looked at the balloons again which were in the books vastly superior to any balloons ever inflated for me. Bestall's sense of colour needs thinking about but it is fizzing with hidden memories. The origami figure in the images above should remind us of Bestall's own participation in the practice but also how good he was at inventing sinister, almost threatening figures which tended to lurk in his strips.