These drawings are taken form a sort of retrospective of his career published only five years before his early death. In this context the personal statement is poignant.

 

May was immensely influential in developing sharper and more spontaneous brush and penwork in British Illustration which was often bogged down in heavy hatching and even heavier jokes. In many ways he could not have developed much further, and I doubt his ability to sustain a larger project than one-off illustrations. But what illustrations they were.

Masters of Black and White a selection,

Caricature of May from Punch May 28th 1898p.250,

portrait by J.J.Shannon, from Drawing and Design 1921