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Edward Tennyson Reed: Artist

Posted in Art, Artist on Saturday, 23 July 2011

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Edward Tennyson Reed was a British cartoonist.

picture, Edward Tennyson Reed, cartoonist, artist, illustrator, dinosaurs, prehistoric

A prehistoric trip to the country as imagined by Edward Tennyson Reed

Edward Tennyson Reed was born in Greenwich, London, on 27 March 1860, the son of Chief Naval Architect and MP for Cardiff Sir Edward J. Reed and his wife Rossetta. Educated at Harrow, Reed travelled with his father to Egypt and the Far East in 1879-80. Reed studied for the Bar but took up drawing in 1883 and, on the recommendation of cartoonist Linley Sambourne, began to contribute to Punch in 1889.

In 1893, the first of his ‘Prehistoric Peeps’ appeared in Punch Almanack, a popular series featuring a cave-dwelling civilisation who acted and had concerns that reflected modern life (predating The Flintstones by nearly 70 years). The cartoons were collected in Mr. Punch’s Prehistoric Peeps (1894) and proved so popular that they were adapted as an early animated silent movie, Prehistoric Peeps, in 1905.

Reed took over as Punch’s political caricaturist from Harry Furniss in 1894 and retained that position until 1912. At the same time he was drawing political cartoons for The Sketch and The Bystander. Simon Heneage (in Dictionary of British Cartoonists and Caricaturists 1730-1980) says: “The popularity of Reed’s work was due to its good-humoured tone and the artist’s capacity to achieve excellent facial likenesses however distorted the bodies. He also had a gift for parody, notably of [Aubrey] Beardsley. Although many of his cartoons are in pen and ink he preferred pencil in which he excelled.”

Other books by Reed include Mr Punch’s Animal Land (1898), Mr Punch’s Book of Arms (1899) and The Tablets of Azit-Tigleth-Miphansi the Scribe (1900)

Reed died in London on 12 July 1933 after a long illness. He was married in Wandsworth, London, in 1891 to Beatrice Bullen; they had daughter and a son.

Many more illustrations by Edward Tennyson Reed can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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