Will Dyson

(1880—1938) cartoonist and printmaker

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Edward Dyson (1865—1931)


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(1880–1938), born Alfredton near Ballarat, Victoria, was a younger brother of the writer Edward Dyson. In 1903 he became a caricaturist with the Adelaide Critic and in 1906 illustrated his brother's book of stories Fact'ry 'Ands. In 1908 he drew coloured cartoons for the covers of Randolph Bedford's journal Clarion. In 1912 he was appointed chief cartoonist of the Daily Herald in London and became extremely popular through his championing of the working man and his satirical tilts at pomposity and greed. His most famous cartoon depicted Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Orlando of Italy leaving the Versailles peace treaty in a self-congratulatory mood while in the background was a child (labelled ‘1940 Class’) weeping. By 1925 Dyson was back in Australia, his cartoons appearing in the Melbourne Herald, Punch and Table Talk. On the termination of his contract with the Herald he returned to England, where he died while working again for the Daily Herald. Australia's most trenchant satirical cartoonist, Dyson published Cartoons (1914), Kultur Cartoons (1915) and a volume, Australia at War, the last from his work as an Australian official war artist (he was twice wounded) in the First World War. He also published a small volume, Poems: In Memory of a Wife (1919), after his wife, Ruby, sister of Norman Lindsay and a talented black-and-white artist, died in the influenza epidemic of 1919. In 1933 he published Artist among the Bankers, a hostile commentary on the commercial world. Will Dyson's elder brother, Ambrose Arthur Dyson (1876–1913), a cartoonist for the Adelaide Critic 1898–1903, was similarly employed on the Bulletin 1903–6, and contributed drawings to numerous other newspapers and journals including the Gadfly, the Clarion, Table Talk and the Sydney Worker. Ambrose is credited with the first artistic portrayal of the Australian larrikin. Ross McMullin wrote Will Dyson: Cartoonist, Etcher and Australia's Finest War Artist (1984).

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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