Cartoonist. Born Donald Fraser Gould McGill in (depending on source), 46 Park Street, Regent's Park or Blackheath. He started work as a naval draughtsman, but began illustrating postcards when a relation encouraged him after seeing a get-well card he had made for a sick nephew. His so-called 'saucy' postcards were sold mainly in British seaside towns, and featured an array of attractive young women, fat old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymoon couples and vicars. He produced about 12,000 designs, of which 200 million copies are estimated to have been printed.
He fell foul of several local censorship committees, culminating in a major trial for breaking the Obscene Publications Act. He was found guilty and fined £50 with £25 costs. He is less well known for his cartoons of WW1, which can be seen at the Daily Mail. In spite of their wide circulation, he earned no royalties from his designs; and in his will, his estate was valued at just £735. He died at St James's Hospital, Balham, and was buried in an unmarked grave.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography mentions a plaque to him at 36 Christchurch Road, Streatham Hill (a section of the South Circular), but that whole section of the road has been redeveloped into blocks of flats, so we have to assume: another lost plaque.
Our picture source Donald McGill Museum has a very interesting biography. McGill married in 1900 and they had two daughters. He seems to have had no interest in benefiting financially from his success and he just sold his drawings, retaining no rights. The story behind the Christchurch Road address suggests that by his old age he was not even comfortably off. In 1950 Joseph Ascher, for whom McGill produced drawings for many years, began investing in property including 36 Christchurch Road. He gave McGill a flat to live in rent-free. It is thought the house was over-crowded, bomb-damaged, damp and in a bad condition. Ascher died in 1951 so it's probable that McGill, with his wife, had to leave the flat then (aged 76). His wife died the following year.
In 1941 George Orwell wrote an essay, The Art of Donald McGill, which took it seriously, "Like the music halls, they are a sort of Saturnalia, a harmless rebellion against virtue".
Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk