History: Phil Blake redux

Phil Blake catalogue illustration 1916

You’ll remember back in July I appealed for help in finding out more about Navan-born cartoonist Phil Blake, who drew political cartoons for the Weekly Freeman around the turn of the 20th century. Well, the trail has not gone cold. Thanks to Kelly Mitchell, who left a comment on a related post at the Dublin cultural blog Come Here To Me!, and Philippa Rossiter, research librarian at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, I can confirm that Blake did indeed emigrate to Australia, where he illustrated fashion catalogues for Mark Foy’s department store, continuing to indulge his penchant for square-jawed art nouveau women. The style and signature are unmistakably the same artist. Still no confirmation if the Philip Blake who died in 1918 is him, but it seems there was an influenza epidemic in New South Wales that year, so perhaps he succumbed to that.