Cartoonist Phil May lived here
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Cartoonist Phil May lived here

Punch illustrator and cartoonist Phil May lived here.


In 1890 The St Stephen's Review cartoonist and illustrator Phil May (1864-1903) bought this house after further success with The Painter and The Parson. It was certainly a creative area with lots of artists resident nearby.

The building was then known as Rowsley House.

He was a heavy drinker and his longterm wasting disease caught up with him and he died of cirrhosis of the liver on 5th August, 1903, aged thirty-nine, weighing only five stone.

He was born in Leeds, and forced to earn his living from an early age after his father died young. Often sleeping on the streets because of poverty, May was finally employed as a theatrical costumier, where he also drew posters and cartoons.

After a few years in Australia he returned to London, and went on to work for Punch, and drew many political portraits. Not very political, but he had a great deal of sympathy for the poor.

Location: 20 Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ