Trevor Lloyd Obituary (21 December 1863 – 11 September 1937)

Trevor Lloyd and his dog Hongi

The following obituary is reproduced from The New Zealand Herald, 13th September 1937, as featured on Papers Past. Although highly regarded as one of New Zealand's pioneer cartoonists, modern readers of Lloyd's work may not consider his art with such regard as noted here, specifically his use of racial caricature and some of his depictions of Maori. I think it is important to understand and engage art in the context of the time it was created regardless of how distasteful it may be by contemporary standards.


Death of Artist Trevor Lloyd – Popular Cartoonist

Weekly News and Herald

The veteran cartoonist, Mr. Trevor Lloyd, whose work for THE WEEKLY NEWS and the NEW ZEALAND HERALD was enjoyed by thousands of readers all over the Dominion for nearly 34 years, died on Saturday at his home in Clive Road, Epsom.  Mr. Lloyd became seriously ill last year and his retirement was announced at the beginning of November.  An entirely self-taught artist, Mr. Lloyd will perhaps be remembered best for the use he made of the Maori as a source of fun.  His humour was always genial and good natured and so true was his understanding of the native character that although in the course of years he executed many hundreds of drawings he was never known to offend the susceptibilities of a sensitive race.  In the political field he was the author of a number of cartoons which made a notable impression in their day. His favourite method was apt and kindly satire.

Life spent in Auckland

Mr. Lloyd was born at Silverdale and spent the whole of his life in the Auckland Province.  Nearly all his work was racy of the soil of northern New Zealand, and many of his drawings abounded with native flora and fauna, especially parrakeets, kingfishers and other birds, from whose beaks issued comments on the happenings depicted. Although he loved the country, farming did not appeal to him, and in the 'nineties, after the death of his father, Mr. Henry Lloyd, he moved to Auckland and set out to earn a living by his art. His first commission was to illustrate stories and articles in the New Zealand Magazine, published by Arthur Cleave and Company. He contributed for a time to the New Zealand Graphic, and in February, 1903, he was appointed to the staff of THE WEEKLY NEWS.

Pre-war Cartoons

Mr. Lloyd's early work for the paper consisted of political cartoons, mainly upon the doings of the Seddon Government. He also made drawings as "special artist," of events which at that time were beyond the scope of the camera, such as conflagrations at night and ceremonies held indoors. For the Christmas issue he painted New Zealand landscapes.

The Russo-Japanese War and the career of Sir Joseph Ward as Prime Minister gave him many subjects, and one of his most amusing cartoons of this period represented Sir Joseph adorning the kiwi with a tail of eight peacock feathers, each bearing a letter of the word, "Dominion."- When the American Fleet visited Auckland in 1908 he drew a Maori wearing pincenez and a wide smile and remarking "Kapai! All te same Roosevelt." A journalist who accompanied the fleet had it reproduced on a lantern slide and displayed it at lectures which he gave later in the United States.

Trevor Lloyd illustration from New Zealand Illustrated 1901.

"Will She Weather It?" - The New Zealand Herald 16th September, 1911

Ward Ministry's Shipwreck

The best-known cartoon that Mr. Lloyd ever drew appeared in September, 1911, before the general election in which Sir Joseph Ward suffered defeat. The drawing was entitled "Will She Weather It ?"  and depicted the Ministry as Maoris in a battered war canoe, heading for a rock under the escort of a shark labelled "Socialism." After the poll the artist was able to publish a second cartoon showing the shipwreck, with the shark swallowing the Hon. George Fowlds, who in the first picture had been represented diving overboard.

Throughout Great War Mr. Lloyd drew cartoons in every mood, reflecting the tragedy of that period and the humour which helped to sustain the Empire's spirit. The" first of them was called "Under the Shadow," and represented the angel of death passing over Europe. The last, "The Dawn of Peace," showed day breaking over a shell-wrecked French town.  Perhaps the best of the humorous pictures was "Dropping the Pirates," in which the Kaiser and the Crown Prince descended the gangway like Bismarck in Sir John Tenniel's famous Punch cartoon, and "Where to Kaiser?" showing a horde of Maori warriors rushing into the fray accompanied by a typical native dog.

Prohibition Warfare

On local topics, Mr Lloyd caught the public taste most aptly with the fun he made of the ' "New Zealand Snailways," a skit on the general slowness of the railway system, and ‘The Top Dog," which appeared when 'a census showed Auckland to be by far the largest city in New Zealand. During the long battle over prohibition he had much fun with "Spot," a ferocious bull-dog, in mortal combat with the tee-total cat.

Most of Mr. Lloyd's work for THE WEEKLY NEWS was done in line and wash, but in 1921 he began to contribute regularly in pen-and-ink to the Saturday supplement of the HERALD, continuing until his retirement. For the Christmas Number of THE WEEKLY NEWS he drew numbers of decorative borders, adorned with kiwis, tree-ferns and Maori imps.

Work as an Etcher

As a recreation Mr. Lloyd produced some hundreds of etchings, having taught himself the craft, of which he was almost a New Zealand pioneer. His subjects were mainly native trees, which he drew with singular insight, native birds, Maori heads and landscapes, and his prints are owned by collectors all over the world. His other avocation was searching for Maori relics, particularly on the West Coast from the Manukau Heads northward, every inch of which he knew well. He made many remarkable finds, in caves and middens, and built up one of the largest private collections in New Zealand of greenstone ornaments, implements and other native objects.

Mr. Lloyd is survived by his wife and two daughters, the Misses Constance and Olive Lloyd, both of whom have attained distinction among New Zealand etchers.

Below: A selection of Trevor Lloyds drawings, drypoints and etchings.