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Alfred Leete (1882-1933)


Alfred Ambrose Chew Leete (1882-1933)

Already a prolific cartoonist, his work during the First World War allowed Alfred Leete to establish a reputation as one of the country’s leading graphic artists, responsible for one of the most iconic images of the twentieth-century: His portrait of Lord Kitchener, with the caption ‘Your Country Needs You!’

Alfred Leete was born in Thorpe Achurch, Northamptonshire, on 28 August 1882 to John Alfred Leete and Harriet Eliza Chew. Aged 11, he moved with his family to Weston-super-Mare, where he was educated at Kingsholme School and the School of Science and Art.

Apprenticed at the age of 12 to a Bristol surveyor’s office, Leete was self-taught as an artist and had his first drawing accepted by the
Daily Graphic in 1897. He also contributed to the Bristol Magpie, before moving to London in 1899 to work as a draughtsman for a furniture company and later a lithographer. Between 1899 and 1907, he produced a series titled ‘Play Titles Travestied’, published in the periodical Pick-Me-Up. In 1905, the publication of his first drawing in Punch encouraged him to go freelance, beginning an association with the magazine that lasted until his final cartoon was published on 28 October 1931.

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