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Charles John de Lacy was born in Sunderland, Durham, in 1856, the son of Robert de Lacy, a professor of music, and his wife Eliza. De Lacy grew up in the Bishopwearmouth area of Sunderland before the family, which included a younger sister, Rosamond, moved to Lambeth in the 1860s.
Often signing himself Chas. J. de Lacy, he established himself as a painter and illustrator, most notably of ships and maritime subjects, although his book illustrations took in such titles as By Sartal Sands; or, The Thutalls of Ballaskyr by Edward N. Hoare (London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1897) and Drink by Emile Zola (London, Greening & Co., 1907).
Popular titles illustrated by De Lacy include The Three Midshipmen by W. H. G. Kingston (London, Griffith Farran Browne & Co., 1897), The Pirate of the Caribbees by Harry Collingwood (London, Griffith Farran Browne, 1898), Billows and Bergs by W. Charles Metcalfe (London, Frederick Warne, 1902), A Book About Ships by Arthur O. Cooke (London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1914), The Royal Navy: An ABC for Little Britons (London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1915), Our Wonderful Navy by John S. Margerison (London, Cassell & Co., 1919) and Ships That Saved the Empire by Charles R. Gibson (London & Glasgow, Collins, 1919).
De Lacy, then living at 68 Flaxman Road, Lambeth, was married to Alice Harriet Hill in 1880. They had two daughters, Constance Rosamond De Lacy (b. 1881) and Irene Valerie Cristoforo De Lacy (b. 1901). By 1901, the De Lacy family had moved to 32 Westwell Road, Streatham Common.
De Lacy died in Epsom, Surrey, in 1929, aged 73. (It should be noted that some sources initially gave his year of death as c.1936; the circa often disappeared to become a definitive year and this has been widely copied around the internet.)
More pictures by Charles J. de Lacy can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.