Leete’s animals in Country Life

Country Life issue with Alfred Leete article

Country Life magazine has a nice feature this week about the animals – real and imaginary – of Alfred Leete. The writer, Nicholas Hodge, is a descendent of the Kitchener-Needs-You artist – his great-grandmother Dorothy was Leete’s sister.

Despite writing a book with Martyn Thatcher, Kitchener Wants You: The Man, the Poster and the Legacy, I still find it astounding how overlooked Leete’s work is, given that he created the 20th century’s most famous image, so it was great to hear that there’s a movement afoot to persuade English Heritage to mark his achievements with a blue plaque on what was his London home. The PG Wodehouse Society (Leete was the first illustrator of his books), the House of Illustration, the London Sketch Club, the Cartoon Museum (which displayed some his wartime work a few years ago), and the Artists’ Rifles Association have all backed the idea, says Hodge.

Opening spread of the four-page feature by Nicholas Hodge in Country Life

5 Responses to “Leete’s animals in Country Life”

  1. simon robinson Says:

    How come your issue does not have their hamfisted barcode stuck all over the cover?! Country Life sadly has some of the worst front covers of any mag on the stand these days, esp. when you compare with their golden age. Yet the inside is so well designed…

  2. magforum Says:

    Hello Simon, The image is from the magazine’s website, which isn’t linking to the latest issue properly. Try: https://www.countrylife.co.uk/publication/country-life/country-life-24-february-2021
    I’ve never been a fan of their covers either. Did they ever have a golden age?

    • simon robinson Says:

      My better half is a subscriber so we get to see it early! I think some of their pre-WW2 covers are pretty decent. I just resent the nasty straplines on the front when most copies are sent direct to subscribers, and who buys Country Life “on spec” as it were!

  3. magforum Says:

    Some of covers back then were OK, but it never built up a great cover tradition because it kept switching between ads and editorial on the cover. It was a similar problem with Tatler, Bystander, ILN, etc, and Radio Times, but they did some superb special issues. Haven’t seen a CL I’d pit alongside them. Don’t know what the subs/newsstand split is. It says on the website 40,560 (ABC Jan-Dec 2019). The fact they’re quoting an old ABC suggests sales have fallen since. Not worth them doing subscriber-only issues like Esquire does.

    • simon robinson Says:

      I just like the reassuring simplicity of many of the covers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But I’d agree it never got close to Radio Times, which was often excellent. Again compare to the awful covers they put on today. I have read that Country Life has had issues with people leaving and certainly some of the regular columns have gone recently, and the quality of photos is patchier. It’s not a cheap subscription given how things are. Me, I stick to Viz and Private Eye which have kept me going through illness and lockdown!

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