This website uses cookies to provide a rich user experience. Please consult our Cookie Policy to learn about what cookies this website uses, or to control the cookies you receive. You need do nothing if you are happy to receive cookies.
Look and Learn History Picture Library License images from £2.99 Pay by PayPal for images for immediate download Member of British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA)

J. H. Valda: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Friday, 1 July 2011

Click on any image for details about licensing for commercial or personal use.

J. H. Valda was a noted English illustrator and artist, whose exciting and detailed illustrations appeared in many British magazines in the early 20th century.

picture, J H, John Harris Valda, artist, painter, illustrator, Cavalry charge, battle, war

The cavalry of Persian general Shahrbaraz charge, illustrated by J. H. Valda

John Harris Valda was born in 1874, the son of J. Harris Valda (c.1848- ), an artist who had studied alongside John Millais at the Sass’s Academy in London and had painted the portrait of King Edward VII. Valda had married Scottish-born Amelia Vernon and is thought to have had at least five children, including Isadora Harris Valda (b. Milan, Italy, c.1860- ), Alexander Harris Valda (1861-1935), Tekton Harris Valda (1878-1880) and Salvator Harris Valda (c.1880-1926), who was also an artist. J. Harris Valda was resident in Austria for many years, returning to England around 1871.

His early artistic promise was encouraged by his parents and John Harris Valda soon developed his talents. In around 1895, he opened his own Art School, which he later claimed was the first in Britain to teach magazine illustration. The curriculum included  drawing in colour, wash, pen and ink, crayon, and water-colours (elementary and advanced). It also covered fashion-plate art, advertisement design, posters, show-cards, catalogue and magazine work, including the use of the aerograph.

The art school, based at 26 Caversham Road, St. Pancras, was a partnership between Valda and Ernest George Entwistle (1877-1963) which was dissolved in 1912.

In 1901, Valda was living with Edwin Drew, a tutor and journalist, at 37 Caversham Road, St. Pancras. Until 1905 he was a regular illustrator for periodicals such as Pearson’s Magazine, Lady’s Realm and the English Illustrated. It was around this time that he married and turned to painting book covers, mostly for Chatto & Windus. Valda was also contributing to a number of Hutchinson’s historical volumes issued in weekly and monthly parts, including The History of the Nations, The History of the British People and Deeds That Thrilled the Empire, some of which ran to three or four volumes.

Following the Great War, which devastated the periodical market, Valda joined the Amalgamated Press as a staff artist, producing a stream of exciting and action-packed illustrations for their boys’ papers, notably the early issues of Champion from 1922 and for ‘Sexton Blake’s own paper’, the Union Jack, from 1923. He went on to illustrate stories for Young Britain, Sport & Adventure, Black Bess Library, The Rocket, Buffalo Bill and covers for The Boys’ Friend Library. He also contributed to Hulton’s Boy’s Magazine, Pearson’s Scout and Cassell’s Chums. Some of his finest work appeared in Bullseye in the early 1930s. He continued to work as an illustrator until at least 1940.

Valda lived at 1 Temple Road, South Croydon, from at least the late 1920s until his death, which was registered in Croydon in 1942. He was predeceased by his wife Olive, who died in 1936.

Many more pictures by J. H. Valda can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

One comment on “J. H. Valda: Artist”

  1. 1. Tonivalda says:

    This is my great grandfather ——any more descendants out there ? If so would love to hear from you.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.