Philip William MAY

Philip William MAY
aka Phil

Forbes, in A Newlyn Retrospect, remarked about May: 'On one occasion having heard of the arrival of a famous draughtsman, I called at the studio which I was told he had just taken. The first thing that caught my eye on the familiar walls was a huge and admirable caricature of my own face and figure. Quite unabashed its author rose to greet me, and this was my first introduction to Phil May.'

Born on 22 April, 1864, Leeds (GRO), at age twelve May became a scene painter in Leeds, joined a travelling theatre company, and later worked as an illustrator in London and then Australia (1885-88) and Paris before joining the staff of Punch in 1895. By 1893 he had produced Newlyn-based work. His lively and expressive style was worked mainly in pen, ink and wash. His best cartoons are of cheeky London street urchins. The artist died on 5 August, 1903 at the age of thirty-nine in London (GRO).


Draughtsman, caricaturist and cartoonist

works and access

Access to work: Birmingham University; Leeds (many); Manchester; Whitworth Gallery, Manchester; Tate, London


Fine Art Society (8)

Glasgow Institute (1)

RA (1)


RI 1897

NEAC 1894

misc further info




Forbes (July-Dec 1898) A Newlyn Retrospect (Vol I)

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall;

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists

Mallett's Index

The Studio

Wood (1995) Victorian Painters