Western Argus 12 Apr 1938 P17 Percy Leason
Western Argus 12 Apr 1938 P17 Percy Leason


A Brief Biography

Leason grew up around the town of Kaniva, on what is now the Western Highway between Melbourne and Adelaide, Kaniva is just inside the Victorian Border. Though he moved to the big cities, his most famous illustrations centred on the mythical small country town of Wiregrass, probably based on his early experiences.

In 1906, Age 17, he was apprenticed as a lithographer at Sands and McDougall, in Melbourne, makers of the popular street maps. During this time his also studied art at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School.

He collaborated with fellow apprentice Dick McCann on a number of posters ('I allus has one at eleven', commissioned by the Carlton Brewery, became famous)

He set up an art studio in 1911and he became part of the Australian art scene, including paintings for the Australian War Memorial and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He moved to Sydney in 1917 (In his late 20’s) and In the early 1920’s he worked as a political cartoonist for the Bulletin Magazine in Sydney.

In 1824 he visited Melbourne where he met Max Meldrum, another painter who had a major influence on his art. Both Max and Percy were part of a tonal art movement. Soon after his visit to Melbourne he moved permenantly to Melbourne , working as a cartoonist for Keith Murdoch’s Punch magazine. At the time he was Australia’s highest paid cartoonist.

Punch was absorbed into Table Talk magazine in 1925 and Leason continued to provide cartons until 1937.

He continued to Paid while working as a cartoonist and his portraits of Australian Aborigines are part of the Collection of the State Library of Victoria.
In 1938 Leason and his family moved to the USA where he conducted art classes until the mid 1950’s. Late in his life he gained an interest in early European cave paintings and he did age 70 in 1959.

Percy Leason is listed in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Percy Leason Self Portrait With Cave Paintings C1956 SLV Collection
Percy Leason Self Portrait With Cave Paintings C1956 SLV Collection



The World of Percy Leason's Illustrations

Leason's works were usually light-hearted looks at the modern world. In the 1920's and 1930's this modern world included motor cars, aeroplanes, Radio, high rise buildings as well as changing attitudes to holidays, acceptable clothing or road rules. Sport was just another avenue to find humour. During his Table Talk years, Leason's humor was rarely political.

Leason’s cartoons were given a full page spread in Table Talk and Leason made great use of the space and in many cases you need time to study the illustration to enjoy it in full.

Unlike other cartoonists, Leason did not created a signature character such as Ginger Meggs, Bluey and Curley or Mr Melbourne, rather each illustration stood alone.



A Selection of Images

Below is a selection of Leason's works. I have categorized the images into groups to show some of the themes from his work. Many of the themes such as violence in sport and how money affected the game were common themes in cartoons at the time.

Many more images can be found via the National Library of Australia's Trove. Many if Leason's illustrations in 'Table Talk' have multiple panels within the page. These multi-panel illustrations are difficult to read without the aid of Trove.

Note - The following illustrations mainly appeared in 'Table Talk' Magazine, and were originally large poster size images. It is difficult to appreciate the images by looking at the small thumbnails on this page. Please click on the images to see the larger versions.

Football


Players

Table Talk 26 Apr 1928 P5 The Find Percy Leason
Table Talk 26 Apr 1928 P5 The Find Percy Leason
Table Talk 9 May 1935 P9 Sale Day Percy Leason
Table Talk 9 May 1935 P9 Sale Day Percy Leason
Table Talk 25 Apr 1929 P11 The Topical Quest Percy Leason
Table Talk 25 Apr 1929 P11 The Topical Quest Percy Leason


Light Humour

Table Talk 7 Jul 1927 P10 How Wiregrass Won The Premiership Percy Leason
Table Talk 7 Jul 1927 P10 How Wiregrass Won The Premiership Percy Leason
Table Talk 23 May 1929 P11 Out Of Action Percy Leason
Table Talk 23 May 1929 P11 Out Of Action Percy Leason
Table Talk 16 Aug 1928 P11 Awkward Situation Percy Leason
Table Talk 16 Aug 1928 P11 Awkward Situation Percy Leason
Table Talk 17 May 1934 Substitutes Percy Leason
Table Talk 17 May 1934 Substitutes Percy Leason
Table Table 9 Aug 1934 P20 Latecomers Percy Leason
Table Table 9 Aug 1934 P20 Latecomers Percy Leason
Table Talk 22 Apr 1937 P13 Manly Pride Percy Leason
Table Talk 22 Apr 1937 P13 Manly Pride Percy Leason


Changing of the Seasons

Table Talk 20 Spr 1933 P12 The Feud Percy Leason
Table Talk 20 Spr 1933 P12 The Feud Percy Leason
Table Talk 8 Oct 1936 P13 Percy Leason
Table Talk 8 Oct 1936 P13 Percy Leason


Umpires

Table Talk 6 Jun 1929 P12 Football Umpire By Percy Leason
Table Talk 6 Jun 1929 P12 Football Umpire By Percy Leason
Table Talk 6 Oct 1927 P11 Cow Valley's Guess Percy Leason
Table Talk 6 Oct 1927 P11 Cow Valley's Guess Percy Leason
Table Talk 24 Aug 1933 P12 Umpire Percy Leason
Table Talk 24 Aug 1933 P12 Umpire Percy Leason


Pride

Table Talk 3 Oct 1935 P6 Sunday Morning After The Final Percy Leason
Table Talk 3 Oct 1935 P6 Sunday Morning After The Final Percy Leason
TableTalk 30 May 1929 P11 Her Husbands
TableTalk 30 May 1929 P11 Her Husbands
Table Talk 7 Jun 1928 P11 Our Heros Percy Leason
Table Talk 7 Jun 1928 P11 Our Heros Percy Leason


Scrimmage

Table Talk 24 Apr 1930 P11 Economy Percy Leason
Table Talk 24 Apr 1930 P11 Economy Percy Leason
Table Talk 1 Sep 1927 P11 Incident Percy Leason
Table Talk 1 Sep 1927 P11 Incident Percy Leason
Table Talk 26 May 1932 P7 Last QQuarter Percy Leason
Table Talk 26 May 1932 P7 Last QQuarter Percy Leason
Table Talk 3 Jun 1926 P11 Wiregrass Presses Its Advantage Percy Leason
Table Talk 3 Jun 1926 P11 Wiregrass Presses Its Advantage Percy Leason


Saturdays

Table Talk 1 Jun 1933 P13 The Man Who Asked Whos Bunton Percy Leason
Table Talk 1 Jun 1933 P13 The Man Who Asked Whos Bunton Percy Leason
Table Talk 1 Oct 1936 P9 Saturdays Percy Leason
Table Talk 1 Oct 1936 P9 Saturdays Percy Leason



Cricket


Bradman and Bodyline

Table Talk 13 Oct 1932 P7 The Australian Captain
Table Talk 13 Oct 1932 P7 The Australian Captain
Table Talk 8 Dec 1932 P8 Is It Cricket
Table Talk 8 Dec 1932 P8 Is It Cricket


Stealing is a Crime

Table Talk 20 Oct 1932 P8 Feet Of Clay Percy Leason
Table Talk 20 Oct 1932 P8 Feet Of Clay Percy Leason
Table Talk 14 Nov 1929 P10 A Sixer For His Souvenir Museum
Table Talk 14 Nov 1929 P10 A Sixer For His Souvenir Museum


Watching the Game

Table Talk 12 Nov 1936 P13 The Man Who Stopped
Table Talk 12 Nov 1936 P13 The Man Who Stopped
Table Talk 5 Jan 1933 P10 The Girl Who Got In
Table Talk 5 Jan 1933 P10 The Girl Who Got In


Depression

Table Talk 10 Nov 1932 P13 Three Years Not Out
Table Talk 10 Nov 1932 P13 Three Years Not Out


Miscellaneous

Table Talk 6 Feb 1930 P10 Outward Bound
Table Talk 6 Feb 1930 P10 Outward Bound
Table Talk 3 Jan 1935 P8 Mixed Cricket At Wiregrass
Table Talk 3 Jan 1935 P8 Mixed Cricket At Wiregrass


More Cartoons


Wireless and Electricity

Table Talk 1 Dec 1937 P8 Australia Is Batting
Table Talk 1 Dec 1937 P8 Australia Is Batting
Table Talk 26 Jul 1934 P8 Experts Standing By
Table Talk 26 Jul 1934 P8 Experts Standing By
Table Talk 14 Jan 1926 Erecting Wireless At Wiregrass
Table Talk 14 Jan 1926 Erecting Wireless At Wiregrass
Table Talk 1 Jul 1926 P10 Electricity
Table Talk 1 Jul 1926 P10 Electricity


Morals

Table Talk 1 Sep 1932 P11 Back To 1870
Table Talk 1 Sep 1932 P11 Back To 1870
Table Talk 5 Aug 1937 P12 The Only Man
Table Talk 5 Aug 1937 P12 The Only Man
Table Talk 7 Jan 1932 P7 Sun Bathers At Brighton
Table Talk 7 Jan 1932 P7 Sun Bathers At Brighton
Table Talk 29 Aug 1929 P11 Nature Lovers
Table Talk 29 Aug 1929 P11 Nature Lovers
Table Talk 13 Jan 1927 P9 Their Big Moment
Table Talk 13 Jan 1927 P9 Their Big Moment


Building

Table Talk 4 Dec 1930 P12 Heres Your Tea Bill
Table Talk 4 Dec 1930 P12 Heres Your Tea Bill
Table Talk 29 Jul 1929 P11 His Hour Percy Leason
Table Talk 29 Jul 1929 P11 His Hour Percy Leason
Table Talk 13 Feb 1930 P13 Stage Fright
Table Talk 13 Feb 1930 P13 Stage Fright


Sydney

Table Talk 13 May 1926 P11 The Victorian Who Said He Didnt Care
Table Talk 13 May 1926 P11 The Victorian Who Said He Didnt Care
Table Talk 17 Mar 1932 P11 Sydney Bridge Honors
Table Talk 17 Mar 1932 P11 Sydney Bridge Honors


Miscellaneous

Table Talk 29 Apr 1926 P11 Playing The Champion
Table Talk 29 Apr 1926 P11 Playing The Champion
Table Talk 31 Oct 1929 P10 Approaching 9oclock
Table Talk 31 Oct 1929 P10 Approaching 9oclock



All cartoons by Percy Leason are in copyright until 2045. At the time of Leason’s death in 1959 copyright existed for the life of the artist plus 50 years. Leason’s work would therefore have expired in 2009. Australian copyright law was amended in 2005 and copyright was extended to life of the artist plus 75 years.

It is difficult to determine the current copyright holder of these images. I have limited the images here to those already available online through Trove.

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