Studdy was an English commercial artist best known for his creation of Bonzo the dog. Born on 23 June 1878 in Devonport, England, he was the second of three children of Ernest and Constance Studdy. His father was a lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. During his childhood his foot was accidentally pierced by a pitchfork which later prevented him from following his father into the army. Educated at Clifton College, Bristol and then Dulwich, London. On leaving school, he worked as a stockbroker with the Thames Iron Works. With £100 given to him by his aunt, he attended night classes at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London to study drawing, while also studying animal anatomy at Calderon’s Animal School. He sold sketches to local newspapers and magazines and a few newspapers later commissioned Studdy to draw action scenes to accompany articles on the Boer War.
In 1900, as his sketches started to gain popularity, Comic Cuts, Boys Own Weekly and Pick-Me-Up began to publish his work regularly. It was about this time that he started his long relationship with Valentines & Sons postcards of Dundee. One of the first sets they published was a series of six sketches called ‘The Evolution of the Motor Car’. In 1912, Studdy married Blanche Landrin. That same year he signed a contract with The Sketch to produce a weekly full-page drawing. When war broke out, he was commissioned by Gaumont to produce a series of short films called Studdy’s War Studies. Studdy later introduced Bonzo into his sketches.
His Bonzo character was a chubby little white pup with sparse black spots, a stubby tail, and big blue eyes. Bonzo became the inspiration for much commercial merchandise, such as cuddly and mechanical toys, ashtrays, pin cushions, trinket boxes, car mascots, jigsaw puzzles, books, calendars, candies, and a profusion of postcards. His original work is much sought after.