The cartoonist, Philip William May was born near Leeds in 1864. He was orphaned at the age of nine and endured several years of poverty. Moving from job to job, he finally ended up begging on the streets. However he was a talented artist
and started selling pictures of stage stars to theatre audiences. This work gained him employment as a cartoonist on the St. Stephen's Review. In 1885 he moved to Australia where he worked for the Sydney Bulletin. On his return to London
in 1890, he did some book illustrating until he found employment with the Graphic. He began contributing cartoons to Punch in 1893 and two years later became a member of the staff. From 1892-1904 he produced a Phil May Annual. He
had a deep sympathy for the poor and his style brought a new simplicity of line to popular cartooning which was very influential on other artists of the time. He was a heavy drinker and eventually this resulted in ill health, causing an early death in 1903,
at the age of thirty-nine.