John Musgrave-Wood (1915-1999), known as 'Emmwood'
‘Emmwood’ produced regular illustrations to The Tatler’s theatre reviews and a series of caricatures entitled ‘Emmwood’s Aviary’. Executing similar work for Punch, he moved to the Daily Mail, and became the newspaper’s political cartoonist, one of the last of a classic generation. John Musgrave-Wood was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, on 22 February 1915, the son of Gerald Musgrave-Wood, a landscape and maritime painter. One of three brothers, he was educated at Leeds Modern School with the intention of becoming a businessman and after leaving school did administrative work in an advertising agency. Quickly growing bored of office work, he enrolled at Leeds College of Art, and also spent time working in his father’s studio until his death. After only 18 months at art school, he signed up to serve as a steward on a cruise liner and during cruises to the Mediterranean, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand, he began drawing cartoons to entertain his shipmates and also supplemented his salary by selling some of his sketches to passengers for thirty shillings each.
When he returned to London, he taught art, along with one of his brothers, at Jewish youth clubs in Whitechapel. His father’s death prompted the family to move to Cornwall, where his mother set up an antiques business.
During the Second World War, Musgrave-Wood joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as an instructor in physical training; he was later commissioned in the Sherwood Foresters and, while serving in India in 1941, volunteered to join General Orde Wingate’s Special Force of long-range guerillas – the Chindits – serving behind enemy lines in Burma and China and attaining the rank of major. On demobilisation, in 1946, he collaborated with Patrick Boyle, later Earl of Cork and Orrery, on Jungle, Jungle, Little Chindit, a book about his war-time experiences. He then studied painting at Goldsmiths’ College, while beginning to make a reputation for himself from 1948 as a cartoonist with The Tatler andBystander, signing himself ‘Emmwood’, based on his surname. In addition to cartoons, he also produced theatre caricatures entitled ‘Emmwood’s Aviary’, as the successor to Tom Titt.
Emmwood became a regular contributor to the Sunday Express from 1953 and, after ceasing to work for The Tatler and Bystander in 1954, he became political cartoonist on the Evening Standard in 1955. The following year, he was offered the job of staff cartoonist on the Daily Mail. Unhappy with developments at Express Newspapers, he resigned from the Evening Standard and began at the Daily Mail in January 1957, working in tandem with Leslie Illingworth. At this time, he also produced television review illustrations for Punch and contributed to Life magazine. In 1966, he became a founder member of the British Cartoonists’ Association. Following Illingworth’s retirement in 1969, Emmwood’s work began alternating with that of his successor, ‘Trog’ (Wally Fawkes). When Fawkes in turn left, Emmwood worked alongside ‘Mac’ (Stan McMurtry).
Emmwood retired from the Daily Mail in 1975 and moved to France to fulfill a long-held ambition to paint in oils. He died in Vallabrix, near Uzès, on 30 August 1999.
His work is represented in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery; and the British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent (Canterbury).