Five smashing pen and ink drawings of “The Fat Owl of the Remove” himself, Billy Bunter, are up on eBay, art created by C.H. Chapman, one of the character’s original artists for The Magnet.
The seller of this delightful set of images says they’re from a small collection of Chapman’s work given to them by their father, who in turn was given the works by his father.
“My Grandfather said that he met Chapman and was gifted the images during a cycling holiday in the 1960s. My father remembered being left with his big sister whilst my Grandfather went, with a friend, off on the occasional cycling holiday. He also remembers his father returning with the artwork and being fascinated by,but forbidden to touch any of it.
“Sadly, my grandfather died before committing the story of how he came by the images, to paper. A little research shows anecdotal evidence from Chapman’s grandson that Chapman readily gave his art workaway to whoever he thought might appreciate it and was a keen cyclist, even into his 90s!”
Born in 1879, Charles Henry Chapman (who died in 1972), was a British illustrator and cartoonist who signed his work as C. H. Chapman. He’s best known for his work in boys’ story papers such as The Magnet, where the character Billy Bunter appeared.
He later illustrated Bunter cartoon strips and several Bunter books published in the 1950s and 1960s.
He started illustrating at a young age, creating and illustrating a school magazine, The Kendrick Comet. He studied art at the University of Reading, after which he was apprenticed to an architect.
He had his first drawing published in the story paper The Captain in 1900, andover the next ten years drew for story papers and comics including Marvel, Pluck, the Boy’s Friend, Boy’s Herald, Boy’s Leader, Illustrated Chips, Comic Cuts, Jester, Big Budget, and Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday.
From 1911 to 1940 he illustrated Charles Hamilton‘s “Greyfriars School” stories, featuring Billy Bunter, for The Magnet, also drawing the magazine’s covers until 1926.
When the comic Knockout launched in 1938 with a Billy Bunter comic strip, Chapman drew the early instalments before being replaced by Frank Minnitt. In the 1950s and ’60s he illustrated Cassell’s Billy Bunter’s Own annuals.
• View the auction here on eBay. The auction runs until 7.00pm on Wednesday 25th July 2018
With thanks to Richard Sheaf