Lancelot Speed

 Lancelot Speed was born on 13 June 1860 at Barnes in Surrey  to a wealthy family.

He attended Rugby School and then gained entry to Clare College, Cambridge to study Anatomy. His life changed after a few months when he suffered a broken leg the required convalescence. On his return he changed to study Archaeology and Greek Art. After gaining his degree he then attended Slade School of Art to build on his interest in fine art and hone his own artistic skills.

In 1883 he met and married Florence Lowe.

Within a few years Lawrence was contributing illustrations to many books and the major illustrated newspapers of the day.

He also became a favoured designer for many poets and authors of the fantasy based books popular at the time and he was often associated with drawings of fairies and gods like the Chariot of Freya although he continued with more mainstream illustrations as well.

In the late 1890’s Lancelot and Florence moved to Rose Cottage, High Street, Burnham on Crouch where they entered into the life of the town.

In February 1900 they treated the residents to Princess Rosebud , a four act fairy play which they wrote and played to a packed Public Hall.

In March 1900 for Burnham Carnival, Lawrence designed a Carnival float which featured a decorated car with Florence dress as Britannia riding on the top. These social occasions involving the community were to be a feature of his stay in Burnham.

Lancelot developed a large studio attached to his house where he was able to draw his illustrations for magazines like Punch and the Windsor as well as many well known books. Sadly a fire in 1923 well after he moved totally destroyed his studio.

Lancelot quickly began to use some of the people that he met in the Dengie Hundred as designs to include in his drawings. One particular story “Dick Spindler’s Family Christmas” in the Windsor Magazine, featured many Burnham residents in almost every illustration leading to much amusement locally.

In 1906 the Speeds moved to Hertfordshire although Lancelot still continued to use some of the features of the residents in his illustrations.

Florence died in 1931 and was followed a few months later on 31 December 1931 by Lancelot.