Wednesday, February 18, 2009

G. William Backhouse

Geoffrey William Backhouse was born 16 November 1903 and studied art at Heatherleys, subsequently working for Modern Art Studios. In 1927, he began drawing ‘Strongheart the Magnificent’ in Comic Life, the comic strip adventures of a magnificent German Shepherd modelled on a canine Hollywood film star. Strongheart continued his adventures when Comic Life was relaunched as My Favourite and would continue to appear, drawn by a number of different artists, until 1949.

Shortly before the war, Backhouse drew ‘The Stolen King’ for Comic Cuts and ‘Buffalo Bill’ for Butterfly. After the war, he illustrated a number of books for Collins including The Children’s Picture Dictionary (1951) and modern editions of Alice In Wonderland and Enid Blyton’s Shadow the Sheepdog.

Backhouse’s expertise at drawing animals and nature made him the perfect choice to draw a colourful feature strip starring George Cansdale for Eagle in 1954 and the adventures of ‘Tammy the Sheepdog’ for Swift (1955-58). Backhouse subsequently contributed many wildlife illustrations to Look and Learn and Treasure.

He lived at 16 Upper Tollington Park, London N.4, and died on 1 August 1978.

Illustrated Books
Mr. Mole's Circus by Douglas Collins. London, Collins, 1946.
Pongo the Terrible by Denis Cleaver. London, Collins, 1946.
On the Air by Denis Cleaver. London, Collins, 1947.
On the Films by Denis Cleaver. London, Collins, 1947.
A Dog's Life by Denis Cleaver. London, Collins, 1948.
The Runaway Four by Ann Beverly. London, Newnes, 1948.
Tales from a Bamboo Hut by A. H. Matthews. London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1950.
Alice in Wonderland. London, Collins, 1951.
Soko at the Circus by Donald Cunningham. London, Collins, 1954.
Sea Hunters by Frank Robb. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1955.
The Children's Picture Dictionary. London, Collins, 1957.
Do You Know About Animals? by David Stephen. London, Collins, 1962.
Shadow the Sheep-dog by Enid Blyton. London, Collins, 1976.

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Magazine. You can see more examples of Backhouse's original artwork at the L&L Picture Gallery.)


  1. Is this the same William Backhouse that illustrated "Uncle Remus Stories" Collins, 1060?

  2. As he was regularly illustrating other books for Collins, I think it's very likely.

  3. Yes he illustrated it, plus the Brer Rabbit stories.



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