F. S. Wilson

Frank Sydney Wilson was a painter and illustrator.

Frank was born on 4 February 1864 in Sevenoaks, Kent, the son of Frank William Wilson and Emma, née Woodington. Artistry ran in the family: his paternal grandfather was the watercolour painter Joseph Thomas Wilson (1808‒1882) and his maternal grandfather was the sculptor William Frederick Woodington (1806‒1893). His father was superintendent of a stained glass works at the time, but became an architect’s draughtsman a couple of years later.

Frank was baptised at St. John’s, Fulham on 9 August 1865, with the family now recorded as living in Beaufort Place, Chelsea. The 1881 census records the family as living in Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, with Frank, aged 17, occupied as a lithographic artist.

I haven’t found any examples of Frank’s work from this decade. The earliest magazine work I have found comes from issues of The Pall Mall Magazine in 1894, for which he illustrated H. Rider Haggard’s “Joan Haste” and Compton Reade’s “Hearts and Voices.” Throughout the rest of this decade he was regularly employed in magazine illustration work for Isbister’s Sunday Magazine, Longman’s Badminton Magazine, Ward Lock’s Windsor Magazine, the Harmsworth Magazine and Ingram Brothers’ English Illustrated Magazine.

In 1909 he exhibited a work called “A good sort” in the watercolour room of the Royal Academy exhibition, and the catalogue records his address as 51 Hoppers Road, Winchmore Hill. In the 1911 census he gives his occupation as “Artist (advertising work)”, which presumably explains the lack of book illustrations in this period. He lived in Winchmore Hill from about 1905 until at least 1925, and then moved to neighbouring Southgate, where he lived until his death on 23 January 1939.


Here is an incomplete list of books that F. S. Wilson illustrated.