SPY [pseudonym of Sir Leslie WARD (1851-1922, artist)]
Caricature portrait of the Frederick Robert Spofforth, "The Demon Bowler"
[London: Vanity Fair, July 13, 1878. Chromolithograph with large margins, from the rare large paper copy of Vanity Fair, together with the text leaf describing this plate. Fine condition. Sheet size: (15 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches).
A fine character portrait by 'Spy' of Frederick Robert Spofforth, "The Demon Bowler."
Frederick Robert Spofforth (1853-1926), the Cricket player known as "The Demon Bowler," was the finest Australian cricket player of the 19th century. The first bowler to take 50 test wickets, Spofforth was also the first to take a test hat trick on January 2, 1879, where a bowler takes three wickets in consecutive deliveries. 'Spy' was the pseudonym adopted by Leslie Ward when he began his career as a caricaturist for Vanity Fair Magazine in 1873. Ward was born in 1851 into an artistic dynasty, both his parents were painters, and on his mother's side her father and grandfather were artists or engravers, as was her uncle, and her great uncle was George Morland. Unsurprisingly, given heredity and environment, Ward showed a precocious talent and in 1871 was studying at the Royal Academy Schools. John Everett Millais was struck by his caricatures and introduced him to Thomas Gibson Bowles, the proprietor of Vanity Fair. For the next thirty six years his character portraits of the rich and famous of the day enjoyed tremendous popularity, and in 1918 he was knighted in recognition of his contribution.