Alfred Leete (1882-1933) - Sketching Away
Alfred Leete, aged five, Thorpe Achurch, Northamptonshire, 1887
Alfred Leete and J.S. Walker at Bisley, Surrey, July 1913
(Images courtesy of North Somerset Local Studies Collection)
Alfred Leete designed the most iconic image of the First World War showing Lord Kitchener
Alfred Ambrose Chew Leete was born in Thorpe Achurch in Northamptonshire on 28 August 1882. His parents John and Harriet were farmers but moved the family to Weston-super-Mare in 1893 when John became ill.
Alfred enjoyed drawing so his father arranged for him to leave school aged twelve to work for a surveyor in Bristol. In 1897 his first cartoon was accepted by the Daily Graphic and he began to contribute regularly to the Bristol Magpie.
Encouraged by this, Alfred moved to London in 1899 to establish himself as a commercial artist. At first he struggled to get his work accepted by the national papers and magazines. He kept trying and soon many publications, including Punch, Tatler, and The London Opinion, were regularly publishing his drawings.
On 9 November 1909 Alfred married Edith Webb. They had a daughter named Betty, who sadly died in infancy, and a son named John.