The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Leslie Ward, 1851-1922

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1851.11.21
Place of Birth: London
Date of Death: 1922.05.15
Place of Death: London


Sir Leslie ('Spy') Ward was a journalist and painter. He was the eldest son of the painters Edward Matthew Ward (1816-1879) and Henrietta (Mary Ada) Ward (1832-1924). They had eight children, three of which became artists, Leslie, Flora (fl. 1872-1876) and Eva (fl. 1873-1880). Leslie Ward married Judith Mary Topham-Watney.


Leslie Ward specialised in portraits and architectural subjects in both oil and watercolour. He was also a caricaturist and engraver. He studied architecture under S. Smirke and at the Royal Academy Schools. From 1873 to 1909 he drew caricatures for Vanity Fair under the pseudonym of 'Spy'. In 1878 he made a celebrated caricature of JW that was published in Vanity Fair. He also contributed to the Graphic.

Like JW, he was a member of The Arts Club, retaining membership from 1876 to 1885. He exhibited from 1868 at the Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery, Dowdeswell Galleries, Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, and Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He was particularly well known for his portraits and was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1891. In 1915 he published Forty Years of Spy and in 1917 he was knighted.


Jehu Junior, 'Men of the Day. No. CLXX. Mr James Abbott McNeill Whistler', with 'A Symphony', a portrait by Spy Vanity Fair, 12 January 1878; Records of The Arts Club, London; Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; Nunn, Pamela Gerrish, 'Ward', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 9 June 2003).