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George Ernest Studdy (1878-1948)

George Ernest Studdy (1878-1948) was a British cartoon artist whose name has become synonomous with one of his creations - "Bonzo" the Dog - loosely based on the image of a Bull Terrier.

George was born in Devonport, in the County of Devon in England. Although he was originally planning a military career, he suffered a foot injury which meant that he had to go to London for specialist treatment. During this time, he went to art college and also studied animal anatomy. After his education, he shared an art studio with a friend and finally managed to attract the attention of a few publishers. Initially, he was commissioned to draw action scenes for articles on the Boer War.
In the early 1900s he managed to get a few drawings published in comics and magazines such as 'Boy's Own', 'The Graphic', 'The Tatler', etc. However, his most notable relationship was with 'The Sketch' - a weekly magazine published by 'The Illustrated London News'. About the same time, he also developed a relationship with Valentine postcards of Dundee in Scotland, and they published a number of his drawings.
In 1912, 'The Sketch' gave him an assignment to produce a weekly full-page illustration in the magazine. Up to that time, the occasional dog had appeared in his drawings, but nothing regular. After the 1914-18 war, he continued to produce the full-page drawing for 'The Sketch' and he suggested an idea which he had been developing over the preceding few years. This was the "Studdy Dog" - a comical puppy dog who got himself into all types of mischief. A six-month trial was agreed and it first appeared in November 1921. It proved to be extremely popular with the public and effectively became the nation's pet. A year later, in November 1922, the puppy was given a name - "Bonzo". During the next few years, other publishers tried to get a stake in Bonzo and he appeared in books, feature films and over 500 Valentine's postcards. The publication of his work spread to mainland Europe and across the Atlantic to the USA. The name of George Studdy and Bonzo became synonomous.
The publication of Bonzo in 'The Sketch' more or less ceased in 1927, apart from the occasional guest appearance. He continued to work throughout the 1930s and through the war years. His health began to fade in 1947 and he died of cancer in 1948.

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