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Harold C Earnshaw (1886-1937)

Harold Cecil Earnshaw (1886-1937)

Though overshadowed by his famous wife, Mabel Lucie Attwell, Harold Earnshaw was a delightful illustrator in his own right, who overcame the loss of an arm during the First World War to contribute to many books and periodicals.

Harold Earnshaw was born in Woodford Green, Essex, the sixth of nine children of Frederic Earnshaw, a bankers’ clerk, and his wife, Sophia (née Peak). His paternal grandfather was the Sheffield-born Samuel Earnshaw (1805-1888), clergyman, mathematician and tripos coach at the University of Cambridge. His paternal uncles included Alfred and George Earnshaw, who migrated to Philadelphia and became partners in the merchant and steamship company, Earn Line.

Earnshaw is said to have grown up in Leyton, Essex, and St Pancras, London, before he went to study at St Martin’s School of Art. There he met and fell in love with his fellow student, Mabel Lucie Attwell, his elder by seven years, who always called him Pat. They married at Hendon Registry Office on her twenty-ninth birthday, 4 June 1908, and honeymooned in Rose Cottage, Babbacombe Bay, Devon, before settling in a flat in Dulwich, south London.

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