Charles Pears was a British painter and illustrator. Born in Pontefract, Yorkshire in 1873 Pears initially worked as an illustrator for a number of popular periodicals in the late 1890s. His black-and-white illustrations and caricatures were featured publications Punch, The Yellow Book and The Graphic. In 1908 Pears was commissioned to illustrate an edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll.
Pears was an enthusiastic sailor, and published a number of short books on the subject – the earliest volumes, published in 1910 and 1914, detailed the cruising routes most enjoyed by the artist. The artist’s love of boats and open water encouraged Pears to serve as an Official War Artist for the Admiralty during the First World War. His skill in portraying the changeable nature of the sea in the shadow of great battleships was such that the artist received great acclaim for his nautical works and, following the War, Pears was soon considered to be among the most skilful marine artists of his age. Pears continued to be enthralled by the sea, and published a further three books on the subject of sailing between the years of 1931 and 1933. In 1939 Pears was involved in founding what would later become the Royal Society of Marine Artists and was elected the first President of the Society in the same year, a position he held until 1957. Though his marine and seascape paintings are among his most recognisable works, Pears was a skilled draughtsman and produced a multitude of posters in a range of styles for London Transport and the London Undergound between the years of 1913 and 1936. During the Second World War Pears again served as an Official War Artist for the Admiralty, and the work produced during this time further established the artist’s position as one of the most accomplished marine artists. The artist died in 1958. His work remains in the collections of the Tate, the Imperial War Museum and the National Maritime Museum among several others.