Monday 8 November 2021

George Studdy - part 1

George Studdy (1878 – 1948) was a British commercial artist. He is best remembered for his creation of Bonzo the dog, a fictional character in the early 1920s that first appeared in The Sketch Magazine.

Studdy was born in 1878, in Devonport, England. He was the second of three children of Ernest and Constance Studdy. His father was a lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders During his childhood, his foot was accidentally pierced by a pitchfork, which later prevented him from following his father into the army.

He pursued his education at Clifton College, Bristol, and then Dulwich College in London while living with his aunt. He left the College in 1896. Studdy worked as a stockbroker with the Thames Iron Works. He had always dreamed of going back to school, so with £100 given to him from his aunt, he attended night classes at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London to study drawing as well as studying animal anatomy at Calderon's Animal School.

After art school, he shared a studio with several friends from art school while working to complete a portfolio. He was able to sell a few of his sketches to local newspapers and magazines. A few newspapers later commissioned Studdy to draw action scenes to go along with articles on the Boer War.

In 1900, as Studdy's sketches started to gain popularity, Comic Cuts, Boys Own Weekly and Pick-Me-Up began to publish Studdy's sketches regularly. It was about this time that he started his long relationship with Valentine & Sons postcards of Dundee. One of the first set they published was a series of six sketches called "The Evolution of the Motor Car".

The Evolution of the Motor Car

In 1912, Studdy married Blanche Landrin. That same year he signed a contract with The Sketch to produce a weekly full-page drawing.

When war broke out, he was commissioned by Gaumont to produce a series of short films called Studdy’s War Studies. Studdy later introduced Bonzo into his sketches.

His Bonzo character was a chubby little white pup with sparse black spots, a stubby tail, and big blue eyes. Bonzo became the inspiration for much commercial merchandise, such as cuddly and mechanical toys, ashtrays, pincushions, trinket boxes, car mascots, jigsaw puzzles, books, calendars, candies, and a profusion of postcards.

Bonzo car mascot

Bonzo board game

Bonzo's massive popularity allowed Studdy and his wife to live a very comfortable life until he died in 1948.

This is part 1 of a 5-part series on the works of George Studdy:

1915 Studdy's War Studies
Studdy’s War Cartoons Compilation Film
Gaumont Company, UK
(Still from the British Film Institute)

1922 Aren't You Glad the Speed Limit's Gone?
pen and ink and watercolour, postcard design

1922 Aren't You Glad the Speed Limit's Gone?

c1922 The Sketch: Glove

1922 From a set of six small format books published by Thomas Allen:

Bonzo's Country Holiday
published by Thomas Allen

Mr Bonzo Comes to Town
published by Thomas Allen

1922 The Sketch: Master

 1922 The Sketch: A-Tish-oo

1922 A-Tish-oo

1922 The Sketch: Also Ran

1922 Also Ran.

1922 The Sketch: Black

1922 The Sketch: Every Day in Every Respect; I am getting Better and Better.

1922 The Sketch: His Broadcast Master's Voice

1922 Every Day in Every Respect; I am getting Better and Better

1922 The Sketch: Jimmy Wild

1922 The Sketch: Memories

1922 The Sketch: Nobody Loves Me

1922 The Sketch: Oh Help

1922 The Sketch: One Man's Meat

1922 The Sketch: Such Stuff as Dreams are made of.

Such Stuff as Dreams are made of

1922 The Sketch: Treasure

1922 The Sketch: You simply must save water

c1922 The Sketch: Home

1923 Bonzo's Star Turns

1923 The Sketch: Bonzo Saves a Goal.

1923 The Sketch: Bonzo and Chee-Kee keep smiling.

1923 The Sketch: Bonzo gets a Birdie!

1924 Satisfied at Last "Bonzo Buys a Wolseley
Wolseley Cars advertisement from The Motor Owner

1924 Farm & Fireside (April issue)
The National Farm Magazine (USA)

1924 Nos Bébés Chiens (Ore Puppies)
published by Librairie Hachette, Paris

1924 Quelques Bons Tours (Some Good Tours)
published by Librairie Hachette, Paris

1925 Bonzo in the wool trade series:
 Bonzo doing the work of the world

1925 Bonzo in the wool trade series:
Bonzo regrets his belief in statistics
watercolour and gouache 34.3 x 25.4 cm

c1925 An advertisement for Pinnace Cigarettes featuring Bonzo at Piccadilly Circus
The Bonzo sign was one of the first neon signs installed at Piccadilly

1926 Bonzo in the Wool Trade Series:
You never seem to understand James, that times are hard in the wool trade - Why didn't you bring the twenty?
watercolour and gouache  35.6 x 27.9 cm

1927 The New Bonzo Book
published by Partridge

1928 Bonzo In the Wool Trade Series:
 That beast of burden feeling when holding a large stock in a slumping market
watercolour and gouache 36.8 x 27.9 cm

1928 Bonzo In the Wool Trade Series:
 That smug superior feeling when holding a large stock on a rising market
watercolour and gouache 36.8 x 27.9 cm

c1928 Bonzo Bank
 A mechanical tin money-box by Saalheimer and Strauss

1929 Bonzo's Little Trip
published by McLoughlin Bros. Inc

1929 On the Edge
pen and ink and watercolour 10.2 x 10.2 cm

n.d. Bonzo Annual
Bonzo fell into the river with a mighty splash

n.d. The Hit of the Season
pencil, watercolour and gouache 29.8 x 48.3 cm

n.d. Why should I pay for this?
watercolour 19.7 x 34.3 cm

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