Charles Crombie, The Lost Cricket Ball - Early 20th-century pen & ink drawing

An original early 20th-century pen & ink drawing, Charles Crombie The Lost Cricket Ball.

A finely modelled humorous cartoon sketch of two boys trying to retrieve a lost cricket ball from an angry bulldog, by celebrated illustrator Charles Crombie (1880-1967). Pen, ink and graphite underdrawing with watercolour wash details.

Signed lower left.
Age toning as shown. There is a significant horizontal folding crease running across the centre of the sheet, and more minor crease lines to the top right quadrant and running diagonally from left top corner downwards. There is a small paper loss to the middle left side edge and a short closed tear to the top left corner edge. Pinholes in all four corners. 
26cm x 19.1cm.

This illustration is a standalone drawing by the well known print illustrator Charles Crombie (1880-1967). Due to the similarity between the children depicted here and those in the background of his drawing no. 32 for The Laws of Cricket, titled “The Striker Being Caught, No runs Shall be Scored”, it is possible this image is a additional sketch done for the book that was never used. With its attention to anecdotal detail, and hard graphic lines offset by the softness of its watercolour accents, this work is indicative of the skill and creativity seen in Crombie at the height of his publishing career.

Charles Exeter Devereux Crombie (1880 – 1967) was a prolific editorial illustrator and cartoonist. Born in Dumfries, Scotland, he grew up in Lambeth, Surrey. By the age of twenty he was working as an artist from the family home in London, where he began to cultivate a prolific practice as an illustrator. He published frequently in magazines and newspapers such as The Graphic, The Sunday Strand, The Bystander and The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times. He also did advertisements for Kodak and Perrier, the latter of whom became a major sponsor of his works.  

The turn of the century was a time of immense success for Crombie, beginning with the 1899 publication of his book of illustrations from children’s fairy tales in Simple Simon and his Friends. By 1905, he would continue the illustrated collection format with a series of equally popular books funded by Perrier on various sporting subjects such as golf, cricket and motoring - The Rules of Golf (1905), Motoritis, or Other Interpretations of the Motor Act (1906) and The Laws of Cricket (1907). 

By 1911 he was wealthy enough to purchase Hogarth House, a ten bedroom estate in Richmond upon Thames, which he sold in 1915 to Virginia and Leonard Woolf. They subsequently started the publishing house Hogarth Press there in 1917. 

Crombie continued his career as an illustrator well after WWI, and he was known to have executed the drawings for a reprint of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair published by Dodd, Mead & Co. in 1924. He died in Hitchin, Hertfordshire in 1967. 

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JF-237

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