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Monday, January 15, 2007

Edgar Harry Large

I've received a query about the above artist, sent as a comment under the Frank Newnham heading for the obvious reason that I don't list a direct mailing address -- not because I dislike correspondence but because I dislike spam.

"I am trying to find information on my wife's grandfather Edgar Harry Large who was a part time illustrator in the thirties. He certainly contributed regularly to Sparkle comic and others in the Harmsworth stable. We have a number of scrapbooks of clippings of his work but know little else of this aspect of his life. Any information would be interesting. Simon Collier"

I have to confess that Edgar Harry Large is a new name to me. I don't have his name listed anywhere but, having said that, my information on titles from the 1930s is very limited. I think you may mean Sparkler, which was published by the Amalgamated Press in 1934-39, part of a group of comics controlled by editor Dick Chance.

I have found that there was an Edgar Harry Large born in 1902, his birth registered at Worcester. Sadly, too late for the 1901 census to be of any use. I did a quick check of London phone books and there's an E. H. Large living at 65 Kingsfield Road, Oxhey, in 1949. I couldn't find any Edgar or Edgar H. or Edgar Harry listed. However, as he seems to be living outside London during the 1930s, when he was working for London publishers, the Oxhey address may be a red herring. [Oxhey, incidentally, is near Watford, Hertfordshire.]

Updated - 22 January

Simon has sent me some additional information and some scans of cartoons by his grandfather-in-law. It seems I was correct with my guess regarding his birth and that the Oxhey was a red herring. (Sorry if that sounds smug.)

Edgar Harry Large was born in 1902 and died in 1983. He lived his whole life in Worcester, hoping to become a full-time artist, although parental pressure forced him in other directions. Instead, he became a microbiologist, eventually running the county laboratory service. He continued to draw, however, and sold many illustrations and cartoons professionally in his spare time.

Although there is no complete record of his work, many examples were kept in scrapbooks. Very little information was given, but it seems he was a regular supplier of story headings to Sparkler in the 1930s and also contributed cartoons to the NALGO union paper as well as a number of local publications.

"His son (my father in law) remembers him complaining of the lack of time when comics would post a story to him and expect the illustrations back the same week," says Simon. "The style is typical of its period but some of the originals we have clearly show he had considerable talent."

The illustrations I've added here include some examples from Sparkler which, as it was published on pink paper, don't scan too well.

The example above is dated 23 December 1933.

The cartoon below was, apparently, based on a comment made by Edgar's daughter in 1941.

The following cartoon comes from the NALGO paper but date unknown.

The last image is probably also from Sparkler and I've saved this until last for my mate John Adcock. I wonder if this version of Spring-Heeled Jack has ever been recorded?

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