Vanity Fair Prints - Artists Biographies

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This page features the bibliograhies of some of the Vanity Fair arists of the 19th and earl 20th centuries. To browse our stock of Vanity Fair prints please click here

Leslie Ward ('Spy')1851-1922
cartoonist, was born November 21, 1851, in Harewood Square, London. As the son of artists Edward Matthew Ward and Henrietta Mary Ada Ward, Ward's artistic talent was fostered from an early age. After being educated at Eton, Ward who originally trained as an architect subsequently trained under Sidney Smirke and W.P. Frith. He joined the Royal Academy Schools in 1871, during which time Sir John Everett Millais, struck by Ward's caricatures, introduced him to Thomas Gibson Bowles, the editor of Vanity Fair. Bowles recruited Ward in 1873 to replace Carlo Pellegrini (Ape). Ward contributed regularly to Vanity Fair over the next forty years under the pseudonym 'Spy'. He produced over 2,387 caricatures of well-known people including those in government, finance and education many of which were lithographed by Vincent Brooks. Ward authored a book of recollections in 1915, Forty Years of 'Spy'. He was knighted in 1918 and died on May 15, 1922 in London.

Ape - Carlo Pellegrini
was born in March 1838 in Capua, near Naples, Italy to a noble family. His character was prominent and boldly individual from a young age. He began to draw caricatures in Naples as thumbnail sketches but he didn't have any published until he joined Vanity Fair. Pellegrini moved to London in November 1864. Alias SINGE for his first two plates, which was later translated to English as APE. Pellegrini started working for Vanity Fair in 1869 being the author of the very first published caricature. There is some confusion as to the subject of this initial cartoon, his biography published in Vanity Fair suggests that it was of Lord Beaconsfield, whereas other sources name Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli as his first published lithograph. Ape frequently worked from memory, but when he did work from life, he preferred to have a friend present to engage him in conversation. He was connected to the English High Society and had many friends there, although his socialite, generous nature usually left him in financial straits. He was considered to be objectionably dressed. Pellegrini continued to work for this publication, with little interruption, until his death in January 1889 at the age of 50 years. His caricatures were known to never slander a foe and never to adulate a friend, however the subjects of his pencil considered him as a friend and were the most ardent of his admirers.


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