World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Will Dyson

Will Dyson
Self Portrait [1910]
Born William Henry Dyson
(1880-09-03)3 September 1880
Alfredton, Victoria, Australia
Died 21 January 1938(1938-01-21) (aged 57)
Chelsea, London, England
Nationality Australian
Area(s) Cartoonist

William (Will) Henry Dyson (3 September 1880 – 21 January 1938) was an Australian illustrator and political cartoonist.


  • Early life 1
  • Drawing career 2
  • Legacy 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Dyson was born at Alfredton, near Ballarat and South Melbourne. Will's brother was Edward Dyson who supported the family at this time. An elder brother, Ambrose Dyson (1876 – 3 June 1913) was a vigorous and able popular illustrator,. Will followed in his brother's steps, before he was 21 one of his drawings was accepted by The Bulletin, and he then obtained an appointment on the Adelaide Critic as a black and white artist.

Drawing career

Dyson returned to Melbourne in 1902, and did a good deal of work for The Bulletin, Melbourne Punch, and other papers. In 1906 Fact'ry 'Ands by his brother Edward Dyson was published with over 50 illustrations by him. These are curiously restless and exaggerated, but the best of his work at this period showed that an artist of great originality was gradually finding himself. Dyson was not a natural draughtsman like Phil May, for in his early book illustrations he too often failed to realise the body under the clothes. However, a vein of genuine satire kept showing itself, and it was early realised that there was a mind behind the work. It was no doubt part of the honesty of the artist that when he held a show of his drawings in 1909 they were carefully graded, and some of the least good were priced as low as ten shillings and sixpence.

"Peace and Future Cannon Fodder"

In 1910 Dyson was married to Ruby Lindsay, a member of the well-known family of artists. They then went to London where Dyson was employed on the Weekly Despatch. He also drew some coloured cartoons for Vanity Fair signed "Emu", and later began to contribute to the labour paper, the Daily Herald. His cartoons became famous and had much influence in establishing the paper. In 1914 he published Cartoons, a selection from his work in its pages. In January 1915 appeared Kultur Cartoons, and later in the year he became an Australian official artist at the front. He was not concerned about finding safe vantage points and was twice wounded in 1917. Exhibitions of his war cartoons were held in London, and in November 1918 he published Australia at War, which contains some of his finest drawings. In March 1919, to his great grief, his wife died. In the following year he published a selection of her work The Drawings of Ruby Lind accompanied by a little volume Poems in Memory of a Wife (dated 1919).

It was shortly after his wife's death that he drew what was to become one of the most celebrated and widely-reproduced of all cartoons, entitled "Peace and Future Cannon Fodder" and astonishing in its uncanny foresight. Published in the British Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States, emerging after a meeting at Versailles to discuss the Peace Treaty. Clemenceau, who was identified by his nickname "The Tiger", is saying to the others: "Curious! I seem to hear a child weeping!". And there, behind a pillar, is a child in tears; it is labelled "1940 Class".[1]

Dyson was given a large salary to return to Australia in 1925 to work on the staff of the Melbourne Herald and Punch, and stayed for five years. He returned to London by way of New York, where he had a successful show of his dry-points, and he held a similar exhibition in London in December 1930 which attracted much attention. Dyson resumed his connection with the Daily Herald and contributed cartoons to it until his death. He had become interested in the Douglas Credit theory, and in 1933 published Artist Among the Bankers with 19 of his own illustrations. He died suddenly on 21 January 1938 from a long-standing heart condition. A daughter survived him.


Dyson was tall and thin and was brought up in a mining district, knew something of the difficulties of labouring men, and no personal success could lessen his championship of the underdog. Whatever he attempted he did well. He was a good public speaker, a writer of excellent prose, a charming conversationalist, and his little known Poems in Memory of a Wife belongs to the regions of true poetry. Dyson took up dry pointing late in life he quickly mastered the possibilities of his medium. His full genius was expressed in his cartoons, he became the sharpist satirist of his day. The largest collection of his work is at National Museum of Australia, Canberra, and he is also represented at the national galleries at Melbourne and Sydney and at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


  • Vane Lindesay, 'Dyson, William Henry (Will) (1880–1938)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, MUP, 1981, pp 396–398. Retrieved on 6 October 2008.
  • McMullin, Ross, Will Dyson, Australia's Radical War Artist, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2006.
  1. ^ "View zoomable cartoon item: P0497 – The British Cartoon Archive – University of Kent". 12 May 1919. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.