Leslie Arthur Wilcox was a British artist best known for his extensive marine paintings. Born in London in 1904, Wilcox showed great proficiency for painting in his youth. After leaving school in 1918, he won an art competition in a national newspaper which encouraged Wilcox to pursue a position with an advertising agency in his native London. It was here that much of his artistic education begun, and after learning many aspects of commercial art Wilcox set up a studio in Holborn with a number of his fellow artists. The outset of World War II interrupted Wilcox’s professional career, but did not halt his opportunity to practice his artistic talents. Shortly after enrolling in the Navy, Wilcox’s creative skills were put to great use in the Naval Camouflage unit, where he spent the remainder of the war producing effective camouflage designs and building model war ships. After the war, Wilcox began to expand upon his work produced in the Navy by painting traditional oil paintings with marine themes.
In 1947 Wilcox was elected a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists on the strength of his work, which exhibited both naturalistic skill and theatrical atmosphere. In 1953 Wilcox was commissioned to paint the triumphal return of the Queen from her Commonwealth Tour, with the Royal Yacht Britannia passing under the great Tower Bridge. Presented to Her Majesty in 1954, the powerful painting was hung in the drawing room of the Royal Yacht for several years until the ships decommission, though it remains in the Queen’s possession at Windsor. Following such a significant commission, Wilcox’s career began to flourish with the artist receiving recognition for his marine scenes around the world. The artist died in 1982. His work can be seen today in many important maritime and public buildings worldwide, from King’s House, Jamaica to the Guildhall, London.