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Buxton, Dudley Graham (1884 - 1951)

Dudley Graham Buxton original cartoon artwork

Buxton was born in the London borough of Islington, the first of the four children of William Buxton, a landscape painter, and his wife, Kate. The family moved to Hampstead, and then out to Finchley. According to the 1901 census William was managing director of a Fine Art publishing company, and 16 year old Dudley was working as a stock-keeper. He had ambitions to be cartoonist, and from 1904 his cartoons, watercolours in a style influenced by cartoonists like Tom Browne, John Hassall and Will Owen, were appearing in The Tatler, The Bystander, The Sketch and Printer's Pie. In 1908 he was courting Winifred Wiltshire, who lived in Ealing, and sent her hand-drawn picture postcards. It is not clear when his first professional postcard designs were published, but an early example is a set of cards for the Rapid Photo Printing Company published in 1909. These were a series of monochrome cartoons featuring the Edwardian fad for rollerskating rinks, under the heading of "The Sensations of a Learner."

By 1913 Buxton was producing full-colour cartoons for postcard publishers Inter-Art, A V N Jones & Co and J Beagles & Co. With the outbreak of war in 1914 postcards looked to morale-boosting pictures, and Buxton provided cartoon illustrations ranging from propaganda to cute kids mirroring contemporary issues, but his best work remained the depiction of comic characters in recognisable situations.