SPY – Leslie Matthew Ward (1851-1922)
Ward was a British portrait artist and caricaturist who over four decades painted 1,325 portraits which were regularly published by Vanity Fair under their pseudonyms.
Such was his influence in the genre that all Vanity Fair caricatures are sometimes referred to as “Spy Cartoons” regardless of who the artist actually was. Early portraits, almost always full-length (judges at the bench being the main exception), had a stronger element of caricature and usually distorted the proportions of the body, with a very large head and upper body supported on much smaller lower parts. Later, as he became socially accepted in the society in which he moved to gain access to his subjects, and not wishing to cause offence, his style developed into what he called ‘characteristic portraits’, being less of a caricature and more of an actual portrait of the subject, using realistic body proportions.
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