THOMAS, William Fletcher

1863 - 1938

William Fletcher Thomas was born at 4 St John's Place, Broughton, Salford, Lancashire in 1863, son of James Thomas, a cotton yarn agent, and his wife Louisa née Kershaw, who married at Wakefield in 1859. By 1881, his father James, now a machinery agent, had moved to 69 Shrewsbury Road, Stretford when young William is described as 'apprentice'. William studied part-time at an art school, and started to publish drawings in the Manchester periodical, 'Random Readings, of Wit, Wisdom, Anecdote and Adventure' and in the Leeds journal 'Toby: The Yorkshire Tyke'. He married at Altrincham, Cheshire in 1887, Emily Parkinson (1869-) and in 1891, an 'artist', living at 'Primrose', Brunswick Road, Sutton, Surrey where their son Gilbert Eric (17 April 1890-12 February 1952) had been born the previous year. A landscape painter who exhibited from Southwold at the Royal Academy in 1901. In 1911, 'an artist in black & white', living at 124 Edenbridge Road, Bush Hill Park, Edmonton, London with his wife and 20-year-old son Gilbert, an unemployed electrical engineer. Thomas's gift for caricature was deployed from 1888 on weekly drawings relating the inept antics of 'Ally Sloper', the world's first comic strip character, when launched in 'Judy Magazine'. The character was 'killed off' in 1916, but not before the Army Service Corps had been nicknamed 'Ally Sloper's Cavalry' the strip had a short revival in 1922. He also contributed to other periodicals, including 'Lika Joko' (1894), 'Punch' (1895) and 'The New Budget'. William Fletcher Thomas died in Edmonton on 21 March 1938, aged 76.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from Lydstep House, 3 South End, Southwold, Suffolk
1901 747 Walberswick

Works by This Artist