E.T. Reed, who would often sign his work simply “E.T.R”, was the son of Sir Edward Reed, the Admiralty’s Designer of Warships and MP for Cardiff. He was educated at Harrow School and subsequently travelled in India, China and Japan. As a boy he often accompanied his father to the House of Commons, where he formed his talent for political caricature.
A friend of Edward Burne-Jones and Linley Sambourne, the latter recommended him to Punch, to which he first contributed in 1889. He joined the staff in 1893 and began his “Prehistoric Peeps” series. The following year he succeeded Harry Furniss as their parliamentary cartoonist. He also contributed regularly to The Bystander in the decade leading up to the outbreak of war and throughout the conflict.
Less frequently, his work appeared in The Bystander’s sister publication, The Graphic. His distinctive style was achieved mainly in pencil, in which he caricatured the great and the good; few personalities of the day escaped his attention. King George V owned a caricature of himself by Reed, and the artist produced several fine impressions of the King’s ripe-for-caricature cousin, the Kaiser.