Beano artist Dudley D. Watkins early artwork surfaces on eBay

An early artwork by “Oor Wullie” and Beano artist Dudley D. Watkins is currently up for sale on eBay. Picturing two Elizabethan gentlemen, bidding starts at £250 and the auctions runs until lunchtime next Thursday (15th August 2019).

Dudley D. Watkins - Elizabethan Scene - 1924

The art is described as being painted in 1924,  when Dudley began studying at the Nottingham School of Art (not Glasgow School of Art, which is a common and inaccurate error made about his life). This “Elizabethan Scene” is a watercolour on paper applied to board, measuring approx 21″ x 15″ was painted before he embarked on his comics career, moving from Nottingham to Dundee, leaving family behind.

Dudley’s  signature is partially obscured by what is possibly the remains of glue from a previous mounting.

Some have remarked on the central characters resemblance to comedians Laurel and Hardy, who did work together on one film in 1921, but they are much better known for films that beagn to be made later in the 1920s.

Dudley D. Watkins - Elizabethan Scene - 1924 (Signature)

The seller, hamer8who is also selling an impressive range of Rupert the Bear-related books – suggests the art is quite likely an exam piece or was drawn as part of his application to enter the school.

It’s certainly a very early piece of art from the man who went on to draw Desperate Dan, Biffo the Bear, The Broons and Oor Wullie among many others. A wonderful opportunity for the collector, researcher or art gallery.

UPDATE, 15th August: The artwork sold for £630

View this Dudley D. Watkins artwork here on eBay


Press and Journal: As his Big Bucket Trail fascinates Scots, meet the man who drew the original Oor Wullie (10th June 2019)

Everybody from Judy Murray to Ian Rankin has joined in the conversation about the striking artworks commemorating Oor Wullie, which have been installed at a variety of sites across Dundee. Neil Drysdale suggests it’s time to celebrate the achievements of Dudley D. Watkins,  a famous adopted Dundonian, who brought the little scamp to life in the first place

Dudley D. Watkins, a Christian Comics Pioneer

Wikipedia: Dudley D. Watkins

The Broons and Oor Wullie Fan Site (Wayback Archive)

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With thanks to Richard Sheaf – and Angela Keyworth for correcting us on our account of Dudley’s early life (see below)

Categories: Auctions, Comic Art, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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2 replies

  1. A little correction is needed here. My Uncle Dudley Watkins left Nottingham for Dundee at the age of 18 and never studied at Glasgow School of Art. He did study at Nottingham School of Art. I believe the story has been copied so many times that fiction has become fact. In much of the information you read about Dudley, it states that he and his family left Nottingham for Dundee. In fact, Dudley moved to Dundee alone, my father Alec, my Aunt Dorothy and my grandparents Will and Eva Watkins stayed in Nottingham.

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