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Joseph Lee (1901-1975)

Joseph Booth Lee (1901-1975)

Joseph Lee established his reputation as a newspaper cartoonist with the Pall Mall Gazette at the age of nineteen. Working for various periodicals during the 1920s and early 30s, he joined the London Evening News in 1934, when he produced his initial ‘London Laughs’.‘London Laughs’ comprised the first series of non-political topical cartoons in a British newspaper, and would make Lee the longest-running daily cartoonist in history.

Joseph Lee was born in Burnley-in-Wharfedale, Yorkshire, on 16 May 1901, and educated at Leeds Grammar School as the result of a scholarship. He showed such a talent for art that, in about 1915, his mother found enough money for him to attend Leeds College of Art for three years, with the intention of his becoming an architect. Fellow students included Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

In 1919, Lee took a correspondence course in cartooning with Percy Bradshaw’s Press Art School, and sent specimens of his work to London. Despite rejections, his mother found £20 for him to go to London to take up a scholarship at the Royal College of Art.

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