HISTORY: Phil Blake’s final resting place
I’ve made two previous posts about Phil Blake, the Navan-born cartoonist and illustrator who drew political cartoons for the Weekly Freeman around the turn of the 20th century, got namechecked by James Joyce in Ulysses, illustrated a “controversial and scurrilous” novel about Jewish moneylenders in Dublin, and relocated to Sydney, Australia, where he illustrated fashion catalogues for a department store and designed books of photographs by pioneering Australian photographer Harry Phillips. I had found reference to a Philip Blake who died in Sydney in 1918, but didn’t have enough details to ascertain if it was the same man or not.
Since then I have received his death certificate from the New South Wales Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, and it includes the details that he was a commercial artist and was born in Ireland, so it’s him. He died of an aneurysm of the aortic arch and haemorrhage from the rupture into his left lung. It gives his age as 52, but that must have been an estimate, because we already know he was born in 1869, making him 49. He was unmarried and had no children.
Thanks to Donal Fallon of Come Here to Me!, commenters Patrick Hawe and Kelly Mitchell, and Philippa Rossiter, research librarian at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, for helping to uncover the life and work of a forgotten Irish cartoonist. I have updated his bio and his cartoons and illustrations at the Irish Comics Wiki for your perusal. Any further information that turns up will be gratefully received.