Melton Prior (1845 - 1910)

Prior was an English artist and war correspondent for The Illustrated London News from the early 1870s until 1904. He was one of the leading illustrators of late Victorian Britain, noted for his ability to quickly sketch scenes. His pencil sketches were sent back to London where they were re-drawn by studio artists and engraved on wood-blocks for printing in the Saturday issues of the Illustrated London News. In addition to covering conflicts around the world, he also traveled on a number of Royal tours including accompanying the Prince of Wales to Canada in 1901.

On December 15, 1887, the Illustrated London News launched its “Across Two Oceans” public relations/human interest series with an announcement that Melton Prior had departed from the port of Southampton aboard the steamship Moselle (205). Prior was one of the paper’s “special artists,” a term reserved for artists sent on high stakes public relations assignments—often deployed with the British military on major international campaigns. The first leg of the journey included visits to some of the major British colonies in the West Indies—Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad—as well as British Guiana and Panama.

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