Lawson Wood was born on 23 August 1878 in Highgate, London. He was the grandson of the architectural artist L.J.Wood RI and eldest son of the landscape painter Pinhorn Wood. He attended the Slade School of Fine Art, Heatherley's School of Fine Art as well as classes at Frank Calderon's School of Animal Painting. Lawson is best known for his drawings of comic policeman and Stone Age characters.
By 1906 his comic style was at its best with its clean lines and sharp humour. A member of the London Sketch Club, Lawson was a close friend of Tom Browne. Heavily influenced by Browne and his fellow Sketch Club members, this was seen as his golden period artistically.
Lawson's love of animals is evident in his paintings. He would often visit London Zoo and a menagerie in Eastbourne to ensure his sketches were accurate. The Wannock Tea Garden, Inter-Art and Valentine published many of his designs.
One of his most popular characters was Gran'pop the artful ginger ape, who was to bring Lawson fame on both sides of the Atlantic when cartoons were made featuring these characters.
Awarded a fellowship of the Royal Zoological Society for his work with animals, Lawson set up his own animal sanctuary for aged creatures.
Towards the end of his life, he lived somewhat as a recluse in a 15th century medieval manor house which he had moved brick by brick from Sussex to the Kent. He died in 1957 at the age of 79.
He signed his work in several different ways. In his earlier work he used only the initials LW. He also used an elongated L with a dot in front. The dot symbolised his Christian name Clarence which Wood apparently hated and which was abandoned by him at an early age.