Leonard Raven-Hill, RWA (1867-1942) Best known as a cartoonist and illustrator, Leonard Raven-Hill worked as Art Editor of Pick-Me-Up from 1890, and founded The Butterfly (1893) and The Unicorn (1895). Contributing to Punch from 1895, he acted as second cartoonist to Bernard Partridge from 1910 to 1935.
Leonard Raven-Hill was born in Bath on 1 March 1867, the son of William Hill, a law stationer. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School and Devon County Grammar School, and first studied at Bristol School of Art. Following his move to the Lambeth School of Art, in London, he contributed his first cartoons to Judy with the signature ‘Leonard Hill’ (1885). At that time, he shared lodgings with Charles Shannon, and fell under the influence of Charles Ricketts.
Possibly on Ricketts’ recommendation, he moved to Paris to study under Bouguereau and Morot at the Académie Julian (1885-87); while there, he exhibited at the Paris Salon. In London, he exhibited history paintings and illustrations at the Royal Society of British Artists (1887-90) and the Royal Academy (1889-98), and held solo shows at the Fine Art Society and with other dealers.
Best known as a cartoonist and illustrator, Raven-Hill developed his approach by working with Phil May, and would become a member of the Savage Club. He was employed as Art Editor of Pick-me-up (from about 1890) and founded the Butterfly (1893) and the short-lived Unicorn (1895). Contributing to Punch from 1895, he acted as second cartoonist to Bernard Partridge from 1910 to 1935 when failing eye-sight necessitated his retirement. In drawing the topical themes of the week, he was compared to Charles Keene, an artist whom he had studied closely. However, he was one of the most versatile of Edwardian artists, and was greatly admired for both the revealing humour of his First World War cartoons, and for his later illustrations to Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky and Co (1929). His second wife was Marion Jean Lyon, Punch’s advertising manager. He died at Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 31 March 1942.
His work is represented in numerous public collections, including the British Museum; and Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney).
Further reading: E V Knox (rev Simon Turner), ‘Hill, Leonard Raven- (1867-1942), H C G Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, vol 27, pages 153-154