Tom Browne Comic Postcard Artist

Tom Browne Postcard Artist
Tom B was one of the first, and arguably one of the greatest, of the early British comic postcard artists. His output was prodigious and has always been much collected.

Born in Nottingham in 1870 (some reports say 1872) Tom began work at the age of eleven as a lowly errand boy. By the age of fourteen he was serving a seven year apprenticeship with a printing company and had begun to exercise his artistic talent sketching cartoons. His breakthrough came in 1888 when James Henderson's comic paper, Scraps, published his work. Tom B made more money that day than his apprenticeship would provide in months and he was to continue to moonlight for the comic papers while he completed his apprenticeship.

In 1895 Tom Browne moved to London to make his living as a comic artist. His work appeared regularly in low cost comic papers and his fame and success grew. He was the creator of several popular characters, his duo Weary Willie and Tired Tim bringing him a considerable following.

Tom Browne Weary Willie and Tired Tim

There was more to Tom. He was an outgoing, gregarious and popular man. In 1897 he was one of the founders of the lithographic colour-printing firm of Tom Browne & Co at Nottingham. He was an enthusiastic cyclist and traveller, a Freemason, a volunteer in the territorial Army Service Corps. His cartoons were published worldwide as he travelled. He was also an accomplished water colour artist.

Tom Browne of Nottingham

Tom Browne Artist at work

On April Fools day in 1898 Tom Browne, together with with Dudley Hardy, Phil May, Walter Fowler, Lance Thackeray, Cecil Aldin, W Sanders Fiske, and Walter Churcher founded the London Sketch Club, an organisation that he was later (1907) to preside over. Also in 1898 he became a member of The Royal Society of British Artists and saw his first water colour accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Tom Browne Telegraph Magazine Postcard

The work of Tom B differed from many of his contemporaries, with bold clear lines it was an unfussy poster style that was ideally suited to the emerging postcard publishing boom. In the first decade of the 1900's Tom Browne illustrations appeared on the many postcards that today are so highly collectible.

Tom died 1910 at the young age of 39, a victim of throat cancer. He was buried with full military honours at the Shooters Hill cemetery in London.

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