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Saturday, May 05, 2018

Lancelot Speed

LANCELOT SPEED
by
Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Lancelot Speed was an illustrator perhaps best-known for his work with Andrew Lang, in particular his collections of fairy stories and poems.  He also illustrated a wide range of other books – children’s adventure and historical stories, and books on topography and natural history – and he was also a pioneer of the British animated cartoon. His life, rather unusually, appears to have been a reversal of the usual “rags to riches” story – he came from a very wealthy background, but died with very little to his name.

He was born on 30 June 1860 and baptized on 2 January 1861 at St. Mary’s Church, Barnes, Surrey. His father, William Speed (born on 19 May 1813 in Southwell, Nottinghamshire) was a barrister, who had married Fanny Harriet Bond (born in Brighton in 1835, the daughter of Charles Bond, a music professor) on 27 December 1855. They moved to 91 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington, where they had the first three of their seven children: Harry Fiennes (born in 1856), Edward William (born in 1857, died in 1858), and Francis Elmer (born in 1859). After the birth of Lancelot, the family moved to 15 Devonshire Place, Marylebone, where their three daughters were born: Katherine Georgina (1862), Mabel (1864), and Theodora (1869).

At the time of the 1861 census, William and Fanny were on holiday in Weybridge, while their sons Harry, Francis and Lancelot were staying with Mary Speed, their grandmother, who was living in Barnes along with 6 servants. When William Speed died, on 4 December 1893, he left an estate valued at £39,307 – around £4 million in today’s terms.

Lancelot was sent to Rugby School in January 1875, following in the footsteps of his brother Francis (who had entered the school in September 1873). He played at full back for the school’s rugby XV, and in his last year he held both the school’s high jump and long jump records. More importantly, perhaps, he won the school’s drawing prize. He left in 1878 and, meant for the medical profession, entered Clare College, Cambridge, on 27 January 1881, where he began studying comparative anatomy. However, after breaking his leg in his first week, he turned to archaeology and Greek Art, He founded the Cambridge Fine Art Society with Harry Wilson (later Sir Harry Wilson), and studied landscape painting under R.A.M. Stevenson (a cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson). He graduated with a degree in Natural Science in 1884, and then studied at the Slade School of Art for one year (1884-85). (Note that some sources say that Speed had no formal art training – he revealed his time at the Slade, as well as some other details of his life, in an interview in the film magazine The Bioscope in November 1914, and his attendance for one year is confirmed by the University College London Calendars).

At the time of the 1881 census, the family was still living at 15 Devonshire Place, with Francis recorded as a law student (he later became a stockbroker and High Sheriff of Kent) and with 7 servants. Also present, as a visitor, was Florence Lowe, who was working as a governess. Born in Brighton in 1860, she was the daughter of Stephen Lowe, a music professor. Two years later, on 5 October 1883, she and Lancelot Speed were married at St. Marylebone Parish Church, and they subsequently settled at 35 Wood Street, High Barnet, Hertfordshire.

It is not clear exactly when Speed’s career as an illustrator began – in his Bioscope interview he said his first commission was from the literary and art critic Sydney Colvin to illustrate one of his articles, “Picturesque Suffolk”, in The Magazine of Art, although the date has yet to be determined. He then, in the early 1890s, began contributing to The Pictorial World, The Illustrated London News, Boys, The British Workman, The Portfolio, The English Illustrated Magazine and The Windsor Magazine. In the mid-1890s he joined the staff of The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, where he specialized in deer stalking, at which he was highly skilled. He also provided similar contributions to The Badminton Magazine.

His earliest-known book illustrations were in, possibly, A Sojourn in the Highlands, which contained over 200 illustrations and was published anonymously in Scotland in 1885. Although this has been attributed to Speed, when a copy came up for auction in 2015 it was suggested that it was the work of Mary Bagnold, who was portrayed in the frontispiece.  In 1886 Speed illustrated Sir Henry Francis Wilson’s poem Carmen Pooleviense, published in Rugby, and a year later he illustrated King Solomon’s Wives, or The Phantom Mines by “Hydee Ragged”, a parody of Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, published by Vizitelly & Co. In 1888 he illustrated, along with J. D. Batten, the satirical Oedipus the Wreck, or “To Trace the Knave” by Owen Seaman, published in Cambridge, Seamen being a friend from Clare College.

In 1899 he began a long association with Andrew Lang, the Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic and folklorist, providing numerous illustrations for books such as The Red Fairy Book (1890), The Blue Poetry Book (1892) and The True Story Book (1893). The first two of these were illustrated in conjunction with Henry Justice Ford (1860-1941), who was another friend of Speed’s from their time at Clare College.

He also illustrated a wide variety of other books, including school, historical and adventure stories by authors such as Talbot Baines Reed, George Manville Fenn, Silas Hocking and Edgar Pickering, and topographical and natural history books, as well as fairy stories and legends. He also went on to illustrate several re-issues of classic novels such as Tom Brown’s Schooldays, Robinson Crusoe, The Cloister and the Hearth and Gulliver’s Travels.

In the mid-late 1890s he began contributing to more periodicals, including The Osborne, The Woman at Home, The Children’s Friend, The Sunday Magazine, Sunday at Home, Good Words, Young England and Cassell’s Magazine.

In the 1891 census he was recorded living with his wife as lodgers with Francis Pryor, a paper-maker, at Barnes Lodge, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. He also had a studio at 14 Dean’s Yard, Westminster, from 1890 to around 1894, and then at 6 St. Paul’s Studios, Hammersmith. By 1901, Speed and his wife had moved to Rose Cottage, High Street, Burnham, Essex, where they were able to employ two servants. However, a year later they moved back to London, to 2 Gray’s Inn Square, Holborn, where they remained until 1922.

He continued contributing illustrations to periodicals, including The Sphere (he was one of those whose work appeared in the first number in 1900), The Leisure Hour, The Lady’s Pictorial, The Graphic, Punch and The Girl’s Own Paper. He also contributed to several issues of part-works, such as Cassell’s Sporting Pictures 1902) and Hodder & Stoughton’s Life at Sea, Wonders of Insect Life and The Romance of Travel (1913 onwards). In 1909, he and his wife collaborated on The Limbersnigs, or The Adventures of Prince Kebole the Tall, a children’s fantasy story. In 1912, he provided 20 colour and black and white illustrations for a new edition of Sir James Thomas Knowles’s The Story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

In 1914, by which time he had estimated that he had published over 3,000 illustrations and cartoons, he was appointed as artistic adviser to the newly-formed Neptune Film Company, established in Boreham Wood, Elstree, Hertfordshire. He designed the company’s logo, advised on settings and costumes, and, with the outbreak of the First World War, began working as an animator. He produced a series of eight ten-minute cartoon films in 1914 and 1915, generically called The Bully Boy films (the “Bully Boy” was Kaiser Wilhelm), and in 1916 he worked as the production designer on the silent live-action film of Rider Haggard’s She. When the Neptune Film Company collapsed in 1916, he set up Speed Cartoons, and in 1917-18 produced another series of animated cartoons, beginning with Tank Pranks. In 1921, he produced The Wonderful Adventures of Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, 26 five-minute cartoons based on the cartoon characters created for the Daily Mirror by A.B. Payne in 1919.

Having moved to Old Church House, 35 Wood Street, Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1920, he returned to book illustration, although only ten books with his illustrations have been traced for the period 1920-1930. His wife died at their home on 30 January 1931, and Speed subsequently moved to 28 Eastern Esplanade, Southend. Six months later, he moved to Beechwood, London Road, Deal, but he died only three days later, on 31 December 1931. He left a very small estate  –  just £265  –  to Sir Owen Seamen, the-then editor of Punch and his old friend from Cambridge.


PUBLICATIONS

Books
A Sojourn in the Highlands, Achanalt, Rosshire, 1885 (attrib.)
The Limbersnigs, or The Adventures of Prince Kebole the Tall by Flora and Lancelot Speed, Lawrence & Jellicoe, 1909  (not 1896 as most sources)

Books illustrated by Lancelot Speed
Carmen Pooleviense (in English Verse) by H.F. Wilson, G.E. Over, 1886
King Solomon’s Wives, or The Phantom Mines by “Hydee Ragged”, Vizitelly & Co., 1887
The Fifth Form at St. Dominic’s by Talbot Baines Reed, Religious Tract Society, 1887 (with Gordon Browne)
The Oedipus Tyrannus: A Record by Sophocles, with notes by Francis R. Pryor, Macmillan & Bowes, 1888
Oedipus the Wreck, or “To Trace the Knave” by Owen Seaman, E. Johnson, 1888 (with J.D. Batten)
The Siren of Warmington by J. Collett, Bickers & Son, 1889
The Paradise of Birds by William John Courthope, Hatchards, 1889 (re-issue)
The Red Fairy Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1890 (with H.J. Ford)
Footsteps of Dr. Johnson in Scotland by George Birkbeck Hill, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1890
Eric Brighteyes: A Romance Founded on the Icelandic Sagas by H. Rider Haggard, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891
The Blue Poetry Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891 (with H.J. Ford)
How Martin Drake Found His Father, or Wanderings in the West by G. Norway, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1891
An Inca Queen, or Lost in Peru by J. Evelyn, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1891
Jack and the Beanstalk, and Brother and Sister by Mrs Heller, Longmans, Green & Co., 1891
Barerock, or The Island of Pearls by Henry Nash, Edward Arnold, 1891
Snowdrop and Other Stories ed. by Mrs Heller, Longmans, Green & co., 1891 (with other artists)
Coursing and Falconry by Harding Cox & Gerald Lascelles, Longmans, Green & Co., 1892 (with other artists)
The Yorkshire Coast and the Cleveland Hills and Dales by John Leyland, Seeley & Co., 1892 (with Alfred Dawson)
Advice: A Story of Imperial Rome by Eliza F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1892
The Autobiography of a Slander by Edna Lyall, Longmans, Green & Co., 1892 (re-issue)
Uganda: Its Story and its Claim by Rev. G. Furness Smith, Church Missionary Society, 1892
Jack’s Little Girls by Alice F. Jackson, S.P.C.K., 1892
The True Story Book ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Household Troops, or Small Service is True Service by Mary H. Debenham, S.P.C.K., 1893
Second Sight by A. Eubule Evans, S.P.C.K., 1893
Aspects of Modern Oxford by A. Mere, Seeley & Co., 1893 (with other artists)
Stirring Tales of Colonial Adventure by Skipp Borlase, Frederick Warne & Co., 1894
The New Forest by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1894 (with other artists)
For the Honour of the Flag: A Tale of our Sea Fights with the Dutch by C.N. Robinson & John Leyland, Seeley & Co., 1895
Silcote of Silcotes by Henry Kingsley, Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1895 (re-issue)
The Jewel of Ynys Galon by Owen Rhoscomyl, Longmans, Green & Co., 1895
Wild England of Today and the Wild Life in It by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1895
The Shuttle of Fate by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1895
The One Great Voyage of Life: An Allegory by John Ashton Savage, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
In Battle and Breeze: Sea Stories by G.A. Henty, George Manville Fenn & W. Clark Russell, S.W. partridge & Co., 1896
Dr. Cross, or Tried and True by Ruth Sterling, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Maker of Moons by Robert W. Chambers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896
Revenge by Robert Barr, Chatto & Windus, 1896 (with other artists)
For Such is Life by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896 (re-issue)
Hypatia, or New Foes with an old Face by Charles Kingsley, Service & Paton, 1896
Simple Stories from English History for Young Readers, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896
The Days of Bruce: A Story of Scottish History by Grace Aguilar, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896 (re-issue)
Fairy Tale Plays and How to Act Them by Mrs Hugh Bell, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896
In Honour’s Cause: A Tale of the Days of George the First by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Duchess Lass by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
Claire, or A Hundred Years Ago by T.M. Browne, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
Manco, the Peruvian Chief by W.H.G. Kingston, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
Under Many Flags, or Stories of Scottish Adventurers by W.H. Davenport Adams, Frederick Warne & Co., 1896
Gerald Thurlow, or The New Marshal: A Story of California by Tryphena M. Browne, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1896
The Last Days of Pompeii by Lord Lytton, Service & Paton, 1897
At the Seaside by Flora Klickmann, Ward, Lock & Co., 1897 (with other artists)
Nights with an Old Gunner and Other Studies of Wild Life by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1897
And Shall Trelawney Die? By Joseph Hocking, James Bowden, 1897
The World’s Coarse Thumb by Caroline Masters, Frederick Warne & Co., 1897
Skeleton Reef, or The Adventures of Jack Rollock by Hugh St. Leger, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1897
The Blindness of Madge Tyndall by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1897
Dwellers in the Valley by William Scriven, “The Art Journal” Office, 1897
The Story of a Tour by William Scriven, “The Art Journal” Office, 1898
The Hepsworth Millions by Christian Lys, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898
The Looms of Time by Mrs Hugh Fraser, Isbister & Co., 1898
God’s Outcast by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898
A Hero King: A Romance of the Days of Alfred the Great by Eliza F. Pollard, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1898
The Incas’ Ransom by Albert Lee, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1898
By Roaring Loom by Marshall Mather, J. Bowden, 1898
The Bond of Love by Margaret Thorn, Religious Tract Society, 1898
Caleb Carthew: A Life Story by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1898 (re-issue)
The Thane of the Dean: A Tale of the Time of the Conqueror by Tom Bevan, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
The Fortress of Yadasara: A Narrative Prepared from the Manuscript of Clinton Verrall by Christian Lys, Frederick Warne & Co., 1899
In the Mahdi’s Grasp by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Sappers and Miners by George Manville Fenn, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1899
Yule-tide Yarns by G.A. Henty, Longmans, Green & Co., 1899 (with other artists)
When Life is Young by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Until the Day Declare It by Margaret Cunningham, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Dogs of War: A Romance of the Great Civil War by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Tom Wallis: A Tale of the South Seas by Louis Becke, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Gold in the Furnace by H.M. Cornwall Legh, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Adventures in the South Pacific by “One who was Born There”, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Geoff Blake: His Chums and His Foes, A Story of Schoolboy Life by S.S. Pugh, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Heroes of the United Service: Records of Noble Deeds in the British Army and Navy by L. Valentine, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900 (with other artists)
The Fortunes of Claude by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
That Scholarship Boy by Emma Leslie, Religious Tract Society, 1900
Rhoda Lethbridge by Greta Gilmour, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Lord’s Purse Bearers by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1900
The Mystery of Ladyplace by Percy James Brebner, Frederick Warne & Co., 1900
Friends of an Hour (Visits to Pensioners of the Royal Hospital for Incurables by William Scriven, H. Virtue & Co., 1900
Histoires d’Animaux: Selected from A. Dumas ed. by T.H. Burtenshaw, Longmans, Green & Co., 1900 (with H.J. Ford)
The Animal Story Book Reader ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1900 (with H.J. Ford)
The Fate of Endilloe by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1901
Readings in Welsh History by Ernest Rhys, Longmans, Green & Co., 1901
A Plunge into Space by Robert Cromie, Frederick Warne & Co., 1901
Our Friend the Charlatan by George Gissing, Chapman & Hall, 1901
Anthony Cragg’s Tenant by Agnes Giberne, Religious Tract Society, 1901
The Secret of the Marshes by Victor L. Whitechurch, Isbister & Co., 1901
North Overland with Franklin by J. Macdonald Oxley, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Dick Vaughan’s First Term by R.W.K. Edwards, Wells Gardner & Co., 1901
Keziah Crabbe, Spinster by Annette Whymper, Religious Tract Society, 1901
Through a Needle’s Eye by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1901 (re-issue)
David Lloyd’s Last Will by Hesba Stretton, Religious Tract Society, 1901 (re-issue)
A Lion of Wessex, or How Saxon Fought Dane by Tom Bevan, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1902
A Naturalist on the Thames by C.J. Cornish, Seeley & Co., 1902
A Scots Thistle by Leslie Keith, Religious Tract Society, 1902
True to the Watchword: A Story of Adventure for Boys by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1902
The Master of the Shell by Talbot Baines Reed, Religious Tract Society, 1902 (re-issue)
Turf and Table by Henry Johnson, Religious Tract Society, 1903
By the Ramparts of Jezreel: A Romance of John, King of Israel by Arnold Davenport, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903
The Search for Molly Marling by Emily P. Weaver, Religious Tract Society, 1903
A Bonnie Saxon by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1903
Jack Fraser’s Adventures by Herbert Hayens, Collins, 1903
Little Golden Hood and Other Stories by Mrs Heller & Lois Bates, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903 (with other artists)
The Golden Fleece, Collins, 1903
Tales of Romance ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1903 (with H.J. Ford)
The Romance of the Animal World by Edmund Selous, Seeley & Co., 1904
The Kopje Farm by William Johnston, Collins, 1904
The Adventures of David Oliphant by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1904
A Prince of Cornwall: A Story of Glastonbury and the West in the Days of Ina of Wessex by Chas W. Whistler, Frederick Warne & Co., 1904
Grimm’s Fairy Tales trans. by N.J. Davidson, C. Arthur Pearson, 1904
The Voyage of the Stormy Petrel by W.C. Metcalfe, Religious Tract Society, 1905
The Story of a Log-House by Mary Frances Outram, Religious Tract Society, 1905
Two Years Ago by Charles Kingsley, Collins, 1905 (re-issue)
Nebula to Man by Henry R. Knipe, J.M. Dent & Co., 1905 (with other artists)
Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes, C. Arthur Pearson, 1905 (re-issue)
Pioneers by Silas K. Hocking, Frederick Warne & Co., 1905
If Youth But Knew by Agnes & Egerton Castle, Smith, Elder & Co., 1906
Gerald the Sheriff: A Story of the Sea in the Days of William Rufus by Charles W. Whistler, Frederick Warne & Co., 1906
The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments trans. by Edward William Lane, C. Arthur Pearson, 1906
The Romance of Insect Life by Edmund Selous, Seeley & Co., 1906 (with Carton Moore Park)
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, Longmans, Green & Co., 1906 (with other artists)
The Specimen Hunters by J. Macdonald Oxley, Religious Tract Society, 1907
The Knight of the Silver Star, or The Fortress of Yadasara by Percy James Brebner, R.F. Fenno & Co., (USA) 1907 (re-issue of The Fortress of Yadasara byy Christian Lys)
The Romance of Plant Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
The Romance of Missionary Heroism by John CX. Lambert, Seeley & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
Sporting Days: A Book for Visitors and House Parties by J. Harry Savory, J.M. Dent & Co., 1907 (with other artists)
The Cruise of The “Angel” by Edgar Pickering, Frederick Warne & Co., 1907
Old Time Tales by Florence Emily Hardy, Collins, 1907
The Romance of Savage Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1908 (with other artists)
The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Longmans, Green & Co., 1908 (re-issue)
John Saint: A Romance of the Sea by Arthur Brebner, Frederick Warne & Co., 1909
The Romance of Early British Life by G.F. Scott Elliott, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Romance of Bird Life by John Lea, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Romance of Animal Arts and Crafts by H. Coupin and John Lea, Seeley & Co., 1909 (with other artists)
The Black Cockatoo: A Story of Western Australia by Bessie Marchant, Religious Tract Society, 1910
Philip Compton’s Will by Minnie Harding Kelly, Religious Tract Society, 1910
The Smugglers of Haven Quay by Harold Vallings, Frederick Warne & Co., 1911
Fairy Tales and Stories by the Brothers Grimm, Seeley & Co., 1911
The Treasure of Chin-Loo and Other Stories of Adventure by various authors, Religious Tract Society, 1912
The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights ed. by Sir James Knowles, Frederick Warne & Co., 1912 (re-issue)
Elaine’s Party by Miss G. Agnew, Hodder & Stoughton, 1913
Fairy Fancies, Collins, 1914 (with A.A. Dixon)
The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade, Longmans, Green & Co., 1920 (re-issue)
The Snake Prince and Other Stories ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1923
The Ways of Her Household by Harris Lazarus, Myers & Co., 1923
Sinclair’s Luck: A Story of Adventure in East Africa by Percy F. Westerman, S.W. Partridge & Co., 1924
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Seeley, Service & Co., 1925 (re-issue)
Cruises in Small Yachts by H. Fiennes & Maude Speed, Norie & Wilson, 1926
Old Friends Among the Fairies: Puss in Boots and Other Stories ed. by Andrew Lang, Longmans, Green & Co., 1928 (with other artists)
Snapshots on Life’s Highway by Maude Speed, Longmans, Green & Co., 1929
Tales from History by N. Niemeyer, Collins, 1932 (with other artists)
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb, Seeley, Service & Co., 1934
The Torn Bible, or Hubert’s Best Friend by Alice Somerton, Frederick Warne & Co. (?)

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