WOOD, Leslie (illustrator). "Travel By Rail'. Circa 1944.
Leslie Wood (1920-1994) was an artist and illustrator, born in Stockport, who studied at the Manchester College of Art and Design and secured a travelling scholarship. The war intervened and he was prevented from voyaging abroad, so he settled in London. In 1943 he won his first major book commission from Faber and Faber when he was given the job of illustrating the second book in Diana Ross's Little Red Engine books. The first, The Little Red Engine gets a Name (1942), has artwork by the renowned Polish design partnership of Jan Lewitt and Georges Him. In style and flavour this image appears of this period, the mid-1940s. It certainly appears to be intended as a book illustration. Other artwork by Leslie Wood, recently traced, and depicting the same vintage car, ties the work to a book called "Honky" featuring an old-fashioned and outdated vintage taxi who saves the day. We have, as yet, found no record of the published book. Wood was a versatile and hardworking illustrator whose style was very fluid and adapted seamlessly to the commission and time. This image is very typically mid-century and is reminiscent of the work of Eric Ravilious and the brothers John and Paul Nash. Throughout the majority of his career Wood signed his artwork "Leslie Wood" when he did sign it all. Most book illustrations were unsigned. The initials here appear to refer to his full name of Arthur Leslie Wood which, according to letter-heading held in the archive of Wood's work held at Manchester Metropolitan University Library, was being used by the artist in 1944. The cars depicted here are an American Hudson of about 1940 and a UNIC taxi, manufactured about 1912.