Douglas Lionel Mays (1900-1991) In the early 1930s, D L Mays established himself as a cartoonist for Punch, with jokes about children proving a speciality. Later in the decade, children became his audience, as he illustrated Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings books and several titles by Noel Streatfeild. The Christmas cards that he designed for Royles further evidenced his ability to capture particularities of youthful character. D L Mays was born on 4 August 1900 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, and was educated at the local Tiffins School. He served in the Rhineland Army of Occupation and then studied illustration at Goldsmiths’ College (1920-23), under Harold Speed and E J Sullivan; his contemporaries included Eric Fraser and Graham Sutherland. He contributed cartoons to the Beano, Big Budget, Holiday Annual and the Dandy before his first drawing for Punch was accepted in June 1932 (his last was published in 1954).
There he followed in the tradition of Du Maurier in specialising in jokes about children or fashionable women, modelled by his wife and four daughters. Later he most successfully illustrated the weekly features which reported on architecture, topography and world events. From the nineteen-thirties, he also illustrated a number of books, mainly aimed at children, such as Noel Streatfeild’s Tennis Shoes (1937) and eleven of Buckeridge’s Jennings books. As a painter in oil and watercolour, he exhibited at the Royal Academy and Royal Society of British Artists. A pacifist during the Second World War, he spent the period as a farmer, with a small herd of cows installed at his country house. The Christmas cards that he designed for Royle reveal both the strength of his colour work and his feeling for children. He died on 19 May 1991.