24th Oct, 2016

Tributes paid to popular Pershore artist

Rob George 16th May, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a well-known Pershore illustrator, artist and anarchist who has passed away at the age of 82.

Rufus Segar died last Thursday (May 7) following a fall down the stairs at his Pershore home where he lived for the past 16 years.

Born Patrick Segar in Ipswich, Rufus was the son of Eric Segar, an entertainer and a member of the Magic Circle, a reluctant pharmacist who moved regularly to avoid his creditors.

As a young man, Rufus attended two grammar schools in North Wales: one for an A-level in Maths and the other for an A-level in Art.

At Liverpool College of Art, Rufus fell in with a group of anarchists and moved into number 101, a communal house on Upper Parliament Street, where he met his wife, Sheila Bullard.

Fellow art students called him Rufus because of his abundant red hair and the name stuck.

Rufus followed Sheila to London and began work as a cardboard box designer and moved on to graphic design and layout. At the time when food came off rationing. Rufus designed the box for Trex cooking fat.

As a young father, Rufus went to jail for three months in Pentonville Prison rather than do national service because as an anarchist, he said he could never obey an order to kill.

Son Rupert said: “During his time inside, Rufus was head librarian, learned to roll cigarettes one-handed and made chess sets for the warders.

“During the 1960s, Rufus designed and illustrated the monthly Anarchy magazine.

“It was his bold use of colour on the covers that gave the publication prominence. Every issue was an experiment in its own right, capturing the visual excitement of the decade,” he added.

Rufus worked for many years as an illustrator and graphic designer for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

However, his greatest love was reserved for the books he illustrated: The Cockney Alphabet, Remember Hythe, and On the Tip of My Tongue, among the many volumes he enriched with his visual wit.

“For many of Rufus’ fans, the annual arrival of the sometimes mystifying but always entertaining Christmas card was much anticipated,” Rupert added.

Rufus enjoyed his retirement in both Hythe and Pershore and held a sell-out exhibition of his pictures in Pershore in 2011.

However in recent years, he fell ill and became increasingly frail and had stopped drawing until medical treatment last February saw him begin sketching again.

Rufus leaves behind his wife, Sheila, three sons, Rupert, BJ and Dan and two grandchildren, Hannah and Rufus Hugh.