John Hassall, the son of a naval officer, was born in Walmer, Kent in 1868. He studied art in Antwerp and Paris and eventually became a full-time illustrator. As well as designing posters, Hassall illustrated children's books. The poster for the Belgian Canal Boat Fund was an attempt to raise money in order to send food, clothing and medical aid to civilians living in Allied controlled Belgium. Hassall died in 1948.