William Haselden

3 Dec 1872
25 Dec 1953
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William Kerridge Haselden (3 December 1872, Seville, Spain – 25 December 1953, Aldeburgh) was an English cartoonist and caricaturist.

He was the second of five children of Adolphe Henry Haselden and his wife Susan Elizabeth (née Kerridge). Haselden’s parents were both English but met in Seville, where his father was director of the Seville Gasworks.

Haselden’s father died During a family holiday to England in 1874, and the remaining family stayed in England, settling in Hampstead.

The young William’s education at a private school was cut short due to the family’s financial problems, and he left school at the age of 16 with no formal artistic training.

He worked unhappily as an underwriter at Lloyd’s in London for thirteen years before some of his sketches were accepted for the periodical The Sovereign.

When this ceased publication a few months later, he obtained some freelance work on the Tatler and St. James’s Gazette. After approaching the offices of Alfred Harmsworth in 1903, Haselden managed to obtain a full-time post on Harmsworth’s new venture, the Daily Mirror.

Here he remained until his retirement in 1940.

At the Mirror, Haselden originally started with political cartoons, but soon settled into his trademark style of gentle, conservative social commentary reflecting on middle class fashions and manners.

His cartoons usually consisted of a single frame divided into a number of panels, for which he has been viewed as the father of British strip cartoon.

During the World War I, Haselden established a popular reputation with his only truly sustained attempt at political caricature, the adventures of “Big and Little Willie”, mocking Kaiser Wilhelm and his son, The Crown Prince.

A compilation, The Sad Adventures of Big and Little Willie, was published in 1915; the same year the first British tank prototype would be named Little Willie.

Haselden often lampooned social and technological trends of the time by making bold predictions about how the future would transpire, including fashion, camera phones and feminism.

From 1906, Haselden contributed to Punch as a theatrical caricaturist, retiring in 1936 due to increasing deafness.

Haselden’s work for the Mirror was published in 29 volumes of Daily Mirror Reflections between 1906 and 1935. His work drew praise from celebrities including Margot Asquith, Stanley Baldwin, Paul Nash, Walter Sickert.

In 1907 Haselden married Eleanor Charlotte Lane-Bayliff (1875–1944).

They had two children, Celia Mary and John Kerridge Haselden.

Haselden spent most of his working life resident in London, but from the mid-1930s spent more time at the family’s holiday home in Aldeburgh, Suffolk to where he eventually retired. He died of natural causes on Christmas Day, 1953.

His Times obituary recalled the hallmark of his work as its “unfailing amiability”.

Its editorial of the same day complimented his work as a sourcebook for the social historian, adding that “the man who could avoid the cartoonist’s two pitfalls of cruelty and insipidity was no small artist, even in a small field”.

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