George Ernest Studdy was born in Devonport, Plymouth, on 23 June 1878. His father, Ernest, was a lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and George was educated at Clifton College, a preparatory school in Bristol with connections to Sandhurst, intending to follow in his father's footsteps. However, he injured his foot with a pitchfork and had to go to London for treatment, staying with an aunt and transferring to Dulwich College to complete his education.
He spent so much time drawing and making models that when he left school in 1896 his family arranged for him to take an engineering apprenticeship at the Thames Iron Works, but this didn't work out. He then spent three years with a firm of stockbrokers. His aunt paid for him to take night classes at Heatherley's art school, and then at Calderon's Animal School in South Kensington, where he studied anatomy.
He drew in the evenings, sharing a studio with friends from art school, and got work in comics. Between 1900 and 1903 his work appeared in The Big Budget ("Professor Helpemon", Comic Cuts and The Jester. He also had cartoons published in Punch, drew comic postcards, and illustrated advertising campaigns.
By 1912, when he married Blanche Landrin, he was an established magazine illustrator. Many of his magazine drawings featured a little cartoon dog, who gained the name Bonzo in The Sketch in 1922. Bonzo got his own weekly strip in Tit-Bits from 1926. Annuals were published for many years, and a variety of merchanising was sold. He also painted a regular strip featuring Ooloo the cat for The Sketch from 1929 to at least 1933.
He made three short animated films in the Studdy's War Studies series with Gaumont in 1915, and went on to make a series of 26 silent cartoons featuring Bonzo with New Era Films, beginning with A Sausage Snatching Sensation in 1924.
During the Second World War his work contracted, and he returned to comic postcards, working in a Douglas McGill-like style under the name "Cheero". He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1947, and died in Kensington, London, on 25 July 1948, leaving a widow and a daughter.
References[edit | edit source]
- Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, p. 157-158
- Biography at George E. Studdy and Bonzo the Dog