cartoonist, painter, commercial artist and architect, was born in Hobart (Backhouse says Launceston), Tasmania. He was originally articled to an architectural firm in Launceston but later became a staff artist on the Launceston Examiner (1896-98). He exhibited with the Launceston Art Society in 1898. That year he left Launceston for health reasons and made his way to Melbourne, where he designed posters for Dunlop Rubber and Boomerang Brandy with Lionel Lindsay and Blamire Young. He exhibited with the Victorian Artists' Society in 1902-4 and was a member of the Prehistoric Order of Cannibals, a Melbourne Bohemian sketch club of the 1890s that included the Lindsay brothers, the Dyson brothers, Hugh McCrae, Max Meldrum and other young men. According to D.H. Souter, he had a series of adventures in a tin mine on the Klondyke and held extraordinary jobs during his early years (see David Cook).
Weston moved to Sydney c.1905 where he remained for the rest of his life. He exhibited with the NSW Society of Artists in 1907. He established his own advertising agency in 1901 [sic 1910?] – the Weston Company – and he illustrated covers (n.d. ill. Caban 51, 53), story and verse illustrations for Lone Hand 1909-10, e.g. cover for 'War Number' October 1914. He also illustrated numerous books published by the NSW Bookstall Company (see Mills), including Steele Rudd's Dad in Politics and Other Stories, and he wrote his own books, e.g. All's Well with the Fleet (Sydney, Bloxham, 1915).
According to Vane Lindesay (1994, 92), he is best remembered for the cartoons of old salts and waterfront characters he contributed to the Bulletin, though he drew a variety of cartoon subjects for it. He also drew numerous advertisements, e.g. a good ad. for Cameo cigarettes, Bulletin 16 November 1905 – a 'before' and 'after' view of an old lady, 'CAMEOS Always Make Me "Buck-up."' The ads he did for W.D. & H.O. Wills Tobacco Co. were also in the form of cartoons, e.g. 'Old Lady: "Don't cry little boy! Are you hurt?"/ Little Boy: "No, but I will be. I've dropped father's CAPSTAN TOBACCO down the grating!"' and 'The Girl: "What's th' worst thing 'appened to yer on yer last voyage, Bill?"/ Bill: "Well, we struck a rock, lost our rudder, th' cap'n died o' cholera, th' best mate was lost overboard; but worst of all, I ran out of VICE-REGAL SMOKING MIXTURE!"' (ill. Caban, 51). His NSW and Queensland Railway Department ad. for 'Halcyon Holidays in North Queensland' appeared in Lone Hand on 1 November 1909, liv.
Weston drew the cover of 'the first publication issued under the auspices of the Society of Australian Black and White Artists', The U.S.A. Fleet Souvenir, published in July 1925 to commemorate a visit of the American Fleet to Sydney (ill. Lindesay 1994, 7), which shows a big tall Yank sailor shaking hands with, and lighting a cigar for, a small young Australian sailor. This 48-page book, which cost 1/-, included cartoons and comic strips by all 25 (male) foundation members of the Club: Garnet Agnew, Jack Baird, Stan Cross, F.H. Cumberworth, W. Dowman, "Driff"(Lance Driffield), George Finey, Cecil Hartt, Joe Jonsson, Frank Jessop, Fred Knowles, George Little, Brodie Mack, Hugh Maclean, Arthur Mailey, Syd Miller, Syd Nicholls, Mick Paul, Jack Quayle, Reg Russom, Cyril Samuels, Jack Waring, Harry J. Weston, Unk White and John Wiseman; the writer and poet Will Lawson contributed verse.
Weston belonged to various art societies, including the Launceston Art Society, the Victorian Artists' Society (1902-04), the NSW Society of Artists (1907-17), the Yarra Sculptors' Society (1902-3) and the Australian Art Society (Sydney 1927-32). He exhibited with them all, mainly designs for postcards. In 1912 he established the 'Practical School of Art'. In 1915 he was in partnership with Eirene Mort and in the 1920s set up a correspondence course in drawing. His strong posterish style (possibly USA influenced) is evident in all his work, even his postcards (probably all coloured: see Cook).
Joan Kerr. DAAO