Leslie Ward was born into a family of painters. His mother and father were historical genre painters Edward Matthew Ward and Henrietta Ward. He was educated at Eton and then entered the studio of architect Sydney Smirke. However, he abandoned his architectural training to become apprenticed to W. P. Frith. In 1873 J. E. Millais sent some of his drawings to Thomas Gibson Bowles, founder and owner of ‘Vanity Fair’. Bowles immediately hired Ward, whose first ‘Vanity Fair’ caricature appeared in 1873 under the ‘nom de crayon’ Spy. Ward also painted portraits and made architectural drawings, exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and Grosvenor Gallery. He was knighted in 1918. Ward died in 1922 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
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