David Low was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and showed an aptitude for drawing and illustration from a very young age. It is said that his first cartoon was published in the British comic ‘Big Budget’ in 1902 when the artist was just 11 years old. He later began his career as a professional cartoonist with the ‘Canterbury Times’ in 1910 before moving to Sydney, Australia to join the staff of ‘The Bulletin’ magazine. Whilst working for the magazine, Low became known for his satirical cartoons which focused on political figures such as Billy Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia.
The success of his political cartoons prompted Low relocate to England, where he worked with the ‘London Star’ between the years 1919 to 1927 before accepting an invitation to join the staff of the ‘Evening Standard’. It was here that Low published some of his most famous works during the Second World War. His frequent depiction of figures such as Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler is said to have angered political and public figures alike. Though his illustrations were met with criticism at the time, Low contributed significantly to the development of the cartoon canon in Britain and the greater Western world. In 1962 the artist received a knighthood for his contribution to the arts, just a year before his death. His work can be seen today in the British Cartoon Archive, and endures in many British history textbooks.