Self portrait
(Private collection)

A. C. Michael

Arthur Cadwgan Michael was a painter and illustrator. He was born in Swansea on , the youngest child of commercial traveller and hotel proprietor Ben Michael and his wife Laurina Louisa (née Birt). His middle name is spelled ‘Cadwgan’ on his birth certificate, and his family have confirmed his preference for that spelling, although he signed his name as ‘Cadogan’ in the register for his first marriage.


Michael attended the Government School of Science and Art, in Alexandra Road, Swansea, from 1896 to 1899. The art master at this time was F. F. Hosford.[1] Michael would probably have attended for two or three days each week, for two hours at a time.

In the May 1897 examination, Michael achieved awards in Anatomy (1st class) and Drawing from the Antique (2nd class).[2] In 1899, he received a 1st class in Drawing from the Antique and 2nd class in Drawing from the Life.

In France?

I haven’t found Michael in the Census. Appelbaum[3] suggested that he could be the Arthur Michael (or Michaël) whose illustrations appeared in the French magazines L’Assiette au Beurre and Cocorico around the period to , though he couldn’t be sure. Since the information in the magazines is so sparse, it is difficult to call it one way or the other.

Top: Cocorico, No. 21, ; L’Assiette au Beurre, No. 20, . Bottom: Marriage certificate, ; signed copy of An Artist in Spain, .

The signature on the marriage certificate is more stilted, as he wasn’t writing his middle name on other occasions, but for my money the other signatures are close enough to suggest that these are all the same person.

Back in England

Michael was back in England by 1903, contributing to Harmsworth’s London Magazine.

He married the young widow Constance Rosling in Herne Hill in . She had previously been married to chartered accountant Ernest Rosling and had a son, Arnold, with him, but Ernest had died at the age of just 37 in 1902.

In he showed “Riots in Moscow” in the black and white room at the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy.

In he illustrated H. G. Wells’s “The War in the Air” for The Pall Mall Magazine. After the serial had finished, his illustrations were used in the book published by George Bell & Sons.

In he provided the frontispieces for at least three issues of the illustrated weekly paper Black and White. In it was “A Skating Carnival at Olympia,” and a sketch of the final act of the play “An Englishman’s Home.” In the Western Chronicle reported that the frontispiece of the summer edition was drawn by Michael, showing the King opening the Victoria and Albert Museum.

He was working regularly for the Illustrated London News from about to at least the early 1920s, as well as providing work for other periodicals like The Pall Mall, Pearson’s Magazine, The Strand Magazine, The Windsor Magazine, Cassell’s The Quiver and Amalgamated Press’s The World & His Wife. He also illustrated plenty of books, some of which are listed below.

Most of his work during this period was credited to “A. C. Michael”, with just his earliest work appearing as by “Arthur C. Michael.”

In the Papers

The relative anonymity offered by his use of “A. C.” must have come as some comfort in when his full name hit the newspapers for all the wrong reasons.

In Constance sued for divorce, after first having to sue for restitution of conjugal rights and was granted a decree nisi on . On the very same day, a Herbert Owen was granted a decree nisi for his divorce from Dora Mary Owen, claiming that she had “committed misconduct” with Arthur Cadogan Michael. The King’s Proctor took a look at these two divorces, did some digging, and alleged that Herbert had also committed misconduct with Constance. In the court case, in , both decrees nisi were rescinded because the two men had exchanged wives.

So, rather awkwardly, two marriages had broken down, but in neither case could a divorce be granted. Herbert and Dora Mary had three children; Arthur and Constance had none.

Herbert and Dora’s children were adopted by his sister Louise, who was private secretary to Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe. Herbert continued living in Carshalton, Surrey. Constance moved to Bexhill in East Sussex, where she died in 1970.

On , Arthur left for Spain on the ship Frisia; accompanying him was his “wife,” Dora Mary Michael.

In Spain

By this time, Michael was very familiar with Spain, having travelled extensively with an unnamed companion in 1912 and 1913, painting and writing a travelogue which was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1914 as An Artist in Spain.

In Guernsey

By about 1928, Michael was living in Guernsey, apparently married to Dorothy (née Moorhouse). During this decade he produced at least two posters for the railway companies LNER and LMS; “Edinburgh” and “The Broads.”

Shortly after the Germans invaded Guernsey and the other Channel Islands in June 1940, Dorothy’s son, Lieutenant Desmond Mulholland, landed on Guernsey as part of an ill-fated covert fact-finding mission. He had to give himself up after a few weeks and was transported to a camp in Germany. Two years later, Dorothy and Arthur were also taken to Germany to see out the rest of the war in a camp as neither of them had been born on the island.[4]

After the war, Dorothy and Arthur returned to Guernsey, where he continued to paint. Guernsey Museums have some of his work. He died on , just six days after his 84th birthday.


Here is an incomplete list of books that Michael illustrated.


  1. Frederick Floyde Hosford (1833‒1918) was a prize pupil of the Cork School of Art before training to become a teacher and moving to Wales in the mid 1850s. He became master of the Carmarthen School of Art on 25 May 1857. He had a hand in resuscitating the Llanelly School of Art the following year and became art master at Swansea’s Normal College in 1869. After retiring from the Art School in 1908, he became art curator at the public library. He left Swansea in July 1917, shortly after the death of his wife, and then retired to his son-in-law’s house in Surrey, where he died six months later.
  2. The Cambrian, , p. 8
  3. Stanley Appelbaum, “French Satirical Drawings from ‘L’Assiette au Beurre’” (Dover, 1978)
  4. Many more fascinating details are contained in Peter Jesson’s “No News from Guernsey: The Diary of Lieutenant Desmond Mulholland, M.C.” (Peacock Press, 2014).
  5. Most of Michael’s illustrations for Haggard stories are to be found at Kate Holterhoff’s “