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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Laurence Houghton

One of the many unknown names who contributed to British comics, Laurence Houghton was probably better known as an illustrator—although nowadays he's equally obscure in that field, too. A shame, because he was an excellent artist. He contributed to Swift Annual, Schoolgirls Picture Library and Princess Picture Library, and contributed to both Girl (1962-64) and Princess (1962-67).

Beyond his contributions to Everybody's (and almost certainly various women's papers), little else is known about his career. I mentioned him to David Roach who recalls that he also did covers for Mills & Boon.

Despite a long search for Houghton, the only plausible suspect is one Laurence John C. Houghton, born at Hitching on 24 August 1913, who lived for many years at 49 Argyle Road, London W.13 [1951/84] and died in 1988, aged 74. Unfortunately, I've no way of confirming.

(* Illustrations (c) IPC Media. The last, piece of original artwork from the strip "Castle in the Mist" (Princess), recently appeared on eBay.)

6 comments:

ala3letter said...

I found your very informative blog by researching the Mills & Boon #694 cover illustration signed "L. Houghton" on the lower left corner....

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim_and_kerry/3451465106/in/set-72157606764846453/

Yours, etc...

François

Melissa said...

Hello! I just want say thank you for some kind of information sense back in 2008 when I was in Brighton, England; I bought a Houghton Mills & Boon illustration and have been looking for information on the artist ever since.

He's a hard man to nail down, so this is something special for me. Now I looking for possible traces of a book that had my art on it. Thanks!

Tikit said...

Hi Steve,
Just bought a painting by Houghton done for Mills and Boon and is probably one of the few examples which actually has the name of the book on the back. While trying to find more about Houghton I read your piece "Despite a long search for Houghton, the only plausible suspect is one Laurence John C. Houghton, born at Hitching on 24 August 1913, who lived for many years at 49 Argyle Road, London W.13 [1951/84] and died in 1988, aged 74. Unfortunately, I've no way of confirming" I found a relation living in Adelaide who doesn't think he was an artist so we were wondering why you thought this might be the one? Cheers, Tim K

Steve said...

The Laurence Houghton born on 24 August 1913 was definitely an artist, working in advertising before the Second World War. In 1939 he was living with his brother Stanley (also an artist) at 59 Bramley Road, Ealing.

Stanley Houghton is the credited artist of Belle of the Ballet for Girl and also drew for the picture libraries that Laurence Houghton was painting covers for.

Anthony Keetch said...

I knew Laurence Houghton. He and his wife Vera were friends of the family, and my father was Laurie's accountant. You're right, they lived in Argyle Road for years. They were great friends with the cartoonist Giles who named his weeping character Vera after Laurie's wife (who was nothing like that!) I own 2 portraits of my late sister drawn by Laurie.

Steve said...

Thanks for sharing your memories, Anthony. This confirms beyond doubt that the Laurence Houghton of Argyle Road was our artist.